Meet The Team
Brian Snider – CEO
Brian is the Chief Executive Officer for Lit and has previously worked as Director of Fiber Delivery at Byers Engineering in addition to creating the Network Design Practice Area at Foresite Group. Brian started out working in drafting and design at the Dothan Technology Center and interned at an architecture firm in Dothan, AL while pursuing an early golf career. Brian shifted to the telecommunications industry in 2003 working as a drafter and quickly grew to managing all aspects of the project as a contractor for AT&T in Birmingham, AL. Brian has over 15 years of experience in wide area network deployments, having led the build-outs of the entire Southeast US for AT&T’s Uverse release, Google Fiber’s builds in Austin, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Huntsville, Verizon’s network densification in Seattle, San Francisco, Cleveland, Nashville, and Knoxville, in addition to numerous municipal projects throughout the country. Brian has worked with a core team to create the process that brings community broadband into the 21st century. Our team started on a mission 4 years ago to connect people to information, to ideas, and to each other, and Lit continues to carry that torch to each community we work with.
Ben Lewis-Ramirez – CMO
Ben is passionate about bridging the digital divide through building open access networks in under-served communities, and is a Lit Communities co-founder. He has over 10 years of executive management experience in the outside plant engineering and construction industries, with a focus in business development and strategic planning for the past 3 years. Ben is a vocal advocate for the open access business model, and has published numerous magazine articles and blog posts on the subject, in addition to speaking about it at conferences and other events around the country. Ben brings an entrepreneurial mindset to his work, from co-founding a rainwater collection and landscaping company to becoming an ISA Certified Arborist to create, implement, and manage tree survey programs for large scale FTTX builds in both Google Fiber and AT&T markets. Ben has worked with some of the best companies and people in the OSP industry in a variety of capacities, from field work, to design engineering, to overall project management. This experience has given him a holistic and comprehensive understanding of wide area network and FTTX deployments.
Lauren Bender – COO
Lauren serves Lit as its Chief Operations Officer. She has worked in the Outside Plant telecommunications industry for 7 years in a variety of different roles ranging from design engineering to project management and business development through builds with Google Fiber, Digicel (Caribbean markets), and municipal FTTH. Her passion for Open Access Networks led to her becoming a co-founder of Lit Communities. She works to develop strategic, technological processes and operating procedures to first engage municipalities on the topic of broadband, and then successfully implement plans to bring these communities into the digital era. With a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning and Geographic Information Science (GIS) from Texas State University, Lauren has a unique approach to working with communities on their broadband efforts, one that is open and engaging to the public, yet backed by data analytics and thoughtful planning. Through Lit Communities, Lauren will be living her dream of bridging the gap in the digital divide!
Rene Gonzalez – CSO
San Antonio, TX
Rene Gonzalez is the Chief Strategy Officer and a co-founder of Lit Communities and leads the development of long-term strategic planning efforts across all business areas, strategies in potential markets, and integration with project partners and vendors. He received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 2004 and a Master of Science in Project Management from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas in 2008. Rene has over 16 years of experience in project management, strategic planning, project development, and federal and state grant consulting for public works and infrastructure projects. He has worked in both the private and governmental sectors, which provides a unique ability to strategically align the needs of clients with opportunities to leverage financial assistance from the federal and state governments. Over the course of his career, he has assisted various municipalities and government entities on obtaining more than $38 million in grant funding for critical infrastructure projects. Rene is a strong supporter of efforts to curtail the digital divide in communities across the United States and is a Steering Committee member of the Digital Inclusion Alliance of San Antonio.
Roger Wilson – CDO
Roger is the Chief Deployment Officer for Lit Communities and has been involved in telecom deployments and network operations for the last 25 years. Roger has led three national network deployments as well as several regional- and market-level construction projects for both wireline and wireless broadband technologies. Roger is recognized as an experienced and seasoned executive with over 45 years of leadership experience in both the military and telecommunications industry. Roger was also overall responsible for the success of the Huntsville Utility/Google Fiber project in Huntsville, Alabama. This experience has provided a unique management perspective on how to provide network services that meets and exceeds expectations. Prior to 1995, Roger served his country in the United States Army and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 23 years of service. Roger holds a B.A. from Texas Christian University and a M.S. from Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY (at West Point).
Jessica Fowler – CCO
Jessica serves as Lit Communities’ Chief Client Officer. She has extensive experience serving as a municipal leader with five years of work in the fiber network space advocating for community-owned networks. She has appeared on several panels representing leaders and has testified at governmental hearings on issues of access for rural communities. Jessica understands how important fiber is and the urgency of having it available and affordable for cities and towns overlooked by incumbent carriers. In addition to her government work, Jessica served for three years as COO for a construction management firm developing health centers in several areas of the country and is passionate about utilizing tele-health platforms to deliver healthcare to hard-to-reach areas.
Lindsey Brannon – Chief of Staff & VP of Finance
New York, NY
Lindsey Brannon has 11 years of finance experience, including 9 years of banking and 2 years of startup positions. Most recently, Lindsey was the Head of Finance at Neighborly, where she led the firm’s broadband project finance efforts and public finance bond transactions. Prior to Neighborly, she was a Public Finance Investment Banker at J.P. Morgan where she worked on over $6 billion of senior managed bond issuances for some of the largest and most complex municipal issuers. Lindsey also worked for three years in J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank providing investment, credit, and trust and estate services to Fortune 500 and financial services executives. Lindsey graduated from The University of Chicago with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies and is a CFA Level I Candidate.
Dan Kupratis – VP of Operations
Dan is a proven leader in operations, driving customer success, engagement and execution throughout his multiple roles in finance during his career. Dan’s focus has always been client-centric and he prides himself on both cultivating and growing these relationships. Dan has overseen the operations and strategic planning of many hedge funds, as well as running the operations of a fintech broker dealer. Dan’s passion for making a difference in the world and being a part of something bigger led him to Lit and is eager to help transform the country and close the digital divide one community at a time.
Dan graduated with honors from Georgetown University with a B.S in Business Administration with a double concentration in Finance and Accounting.
Beth Fowler – Vice President of Engineering
Beth Fowler is the Vice President of Engineering for Lit Communities. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering from The University of Alabama and holds a professional engineer’s license in that state. Beth began her career with BellSouth Telecommunications as an Outside Plant Engineer and eventually began her own contracting company, providing BellSouth – and later AT&T – with outside plant engineering, database management, and various other services for almost 20 years. Beth was attracted to Lit Communities because of their passion to provide high-speed internet service to underserved areas and believes the open access model will best facilitate that goal. She loves the team at Lit and appreciates how committed they are to their work and how they support each other like family.