Geoff Millener has been named a 2021 Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion, a recognition of leadership and dedication in advancing digital equity. Geoff, who is the senior program and operations officer at The Enterprise Center, was selected by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society for his work expanding access to technology across Hamilton County, and beyond. Two winners are selected each year, and Geoff is being honored with the Emerging Leader Award, alongside Washington State University’s Monica Babine. The announcement was made at NDIA’s Net Inclusion webinar on May 26.
“We are thrilled to be naming Geoff Millener a Digital Equity Champion,” said Angela Siefer, NDIA’s Executive Director. “Geoff has not only strengthened Chattanooga’s digital equity efforts, he does not hesitate to share his expertise with other communities across the country. NDIA is honored to have Geoff in our community.”
For the last three years, Geoff has worked tirelessly toward digital equity in Chattanooga and Hamilton County, championing the idea that digital equity is vital to equity in health, education, accessibility, and almost every other aspect of modern life. He has been a driving force of EdConnect, a program that has recently brought no-cost high-speed internet to 14,000 students’ homes, he has helped raise more than $8 million to support local digital equity efforts in the last year, and he has helped envision and implement countless programs that integrate digital literacy and access to technology into existing support systems.
Chattanooga and Hamilton County were recognized by NDIA in 2020 as a “Digital Inclusion Trailblazer,” and programs like HCS EdConnect and Tech Goes Home Chattanooga regularly receive national recognition.
“We are all so pleased to see Geoff get recognition for his great work,” said Deb Socia, President & CEO of The Enterprise Center. “His passion, drive, and focus are extraordinary, allowing us to bring opportunity and access to thousands of school children and their families.”
Geoff’s other accomplishments include being an integral part of the installation of more than 125 new WiFi access points in Hamilton County, expanding The Enterprise Center’s signature digital equity program Tech Goes Home, implementing the 4K Microscope program in Hamilton County Schools, leading a local Digital Access and Equity Committee, and serving as the board chair for Thrive’s Regional Broadband Alliance, which aims to expand digital access and equity in 16 counties across Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
“There is something strange about being recognized individually for work that is inherently collaborative and collective,” Millener said in his remarks during the award ceremony, noting that partnerships among organizations such as EPB, the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Hamilton County Schools, Signal Centers, and others are what makes such work possible.