August 25, 2021
Marc Thorson is Executive Director for Regional Technology Services in Northern Illinois University’s Division of Information Technology (DoIT). He has been with NIU for more than two years. He supports iFiber in his primary role of overseeing the operations and strategy execution for NIU’s support of iFiber. Marc oversees all aspects of NIU’s broadband, Internet service, and technology service offerings to communities, school districts, and other government and nonprofits organizations. Marc wants people to know iFiber is an open-access network. This means the fiber optic cable iFiber owns and its network running across Northwest Illinois are available to any Internet, phone, and other service providers. This model lowers the barriers for any service provider to compete against much larger service provider companies. It allows those companies to invest more into the services provided. It also provides customers in the iFiber footprint to have more choices for service providers.
Prior to joining NIU, Marc worked in the local government Information Technology field in just about every capacity for over 20 years including desktop support, application developer, network administrator, network engineer, compliance lead and director. He is passionate about Information Security and data-driven decision making in environments with resource challenges. Marc is also an adjunct instructor for the nationally-ranked NIU Master of Public Administration program. The course focus is educating future local government and nonprofit leadership on what Information Technology does, why it is a critical competency for public organizations, and how to utilize it to its greatest potential in an era of shrinking budgets.
Marc has a Master of Business Administration from NIU with a focus on Management of Information Services and Marketing. He is the Marketing Director GMIS International, Committee Chairperson for GMIS Accreditation, and Past President for GMIS Illinois. On a personal note, a “fun fact” about Marc is that his uncle, Joe Parnello, was a musician and arranger/composer. He is credited with working on a few albums with Frank Sinatra and other entertainers including Jack Jones, Vic Damone, Anthony Newley, Tom Jones, Carol Lawrence, and Connie Stevens.
November 7, 2017
As a Certified Public Accountant, Betsy Hull has more than 25 years of accounting and finance experience in both the public and nonprofit sectors. She is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Innovative Practices, as well as the Finance Lead for Northern Illinois University’s Division of Information Technology. Eight years with the NIU Foundation and five years with the NIU College of Education have provided her with a well-rounded background in NIU’s financial operations. Betsy also is the Finance Lead for the Illinois Fiber Resources Group (iFiber) housed in the Broadband team of DoIT.
Most recently, Betsy was the Finance Director at the DeKalb County Community Foundation along with the NIU role. Serving in dual roles provided her the opportunity to connect and serve her alma mater and the community. Along with her employment experience, Betsy also served as a board member and officer for a variety of local organizations including the Sycamore Education Foundation, the NIU Annuitants Association, Opportunity House, Inc., and the Sycamore United Methodist Church.
Betsy is a proud NIU Huskie! She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy and her Masters in Public Administration, both from NIU. Betsy and her husband, Brian, live in Sycamore with their daughter, the youngest of their three children, who is a junior at Sycamore High School. They have two sons in college.
January 6, 2017
HERB KURYLIW is the Director of Sales and Business Development for iFiber and oversees the executive client relationships with broadband businesses looking to optimize their broadband needs throughout Illinois and surrounding states. He has more than 30 years of experience in developing high-speed networks used for research advancement, administrative resources, academic initiatives and economic development. Before joining iFiber, Herb was the Director of Broadband Development at Northern Illinois University. He secured more than $120 million in state and federal grants to create open access networks by developing strategic government and private business partnerships bringing high speed open access broadband to the Northern Illinois region.
In 2010, Kuryliw was the program manager and grant writer for the iFiber grant valued at $62.5M, installing more than 900 miles of fiber to develop a 100 Gigabit network used by more than 500 community anchor institutions and several broadband carriers. When developing the model for iFiber in 2010 the NIU broadband development wanted to assure that iFiber would be a state of art network for the northern Illinois region. The idea was to bring fiber optic broadband to underserved and unserved communities and promote healthy competition from content providers that consumers could choose.
“Looking back after 10 years of successful deployments, iFiber continues to follow that model adding new content providers and giving them the opportunity to serve the rural communities where iFiber has been deployed,” Herb said. “While iFiber is not a direct retail provider of broadband services to the consumer, it is possible that the service you are getting is transported over the iFiber network.”
Other successful grants Herb has written are a $15M grant for a 143-mile fiber optic network for the DeKalb Advancement of Technology Authority (DATA) in DeKalb County and a $22M Illinois Rural HealthNet (IRHN) grant that provides a high-speed fiber optic network for State of Illinois healthcare facilities.
Herb has several years of technical, managerial and administrative experience in advanced communication networks. He represented NIU on the Governors Broadband Deployment Council, the Illinois Fiber Resource Group (iFiber) as one of the Board of Directors, the Illinois Municipal Broadband Communications Association (IMBCA) as Secretary of the Board of Directors, the Illinois Century Network Advanced Engineering Taskforce (AET), and the Northern Illinois Technology Triangle Technical Committee (NITT). Herb’s educational background includes an associate degree in Applied Sciences from McHenry County College and Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Computer Science at NIU.
When not working on iFiber and broadband projects, Herb likes to dabble in a variety of activities from programming a smart home, building a gaming console and pushing limits of technology around the house. He has a strong passion for the NIU Huskies, gardening and fishing as other past times. Recently, he’s been enjoying more time with his family and spoiling his grandson, who brings a lot of laughter and fun.
MATTHEW PARKS is President/Executive Director of iFiber and Illinois Fiber Ventures. He’s been on the iFiber/Ventures team since the beginning of the project in 2011. He leads the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) for Northern Illinois University’s four campuses. In his role as Chief Information Officer (CIO) he develops and promotes a vision for information technology where partnering with IT makes it easy to succeed.
Matt wants people to know iFiber/Ventures iFiber is a world class fiber-optic broadband network that brings 21st Century connectivity to critically important Community Anchor Institutions in Northwest Illinois. iFiber has successfully partnered with the commercial ISP market to bring real choice for the private sector to enable access to high-speed connectivity throughout the region, promoting business retention and economic development.
Prior to joining NIU, Parks spent over 13 years in the wireless technology sector, serving in leadership and technical roles within Motorola, Nextel and Sprint. He has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University.
When he’s not working on iFiber project, Matt loves to ski with his family, and is a die-hard Cubs fan. He enjoys playing golf and sitting around the bonfire with family and friends.