About NEO Connect’s Team

Our core business and planning team is comprised of seasoned executives with broad and deep experience leading public, private and non-profit provider networks, including deep expertise in federal grant compliance and business planning activities. The team possesses subject matter and technical depth, including significant intellectual capital in best practices, programs, innovations, project management, lessons learned and success stories.

We have assisted numerous grant recipients, municipalities, and service providers in business planning, IRU negotiations, modeling, pricing and consulting services. In addition to our consulting experience, our team has real world experience in owning and operating FTTP and fiber optic networks. This real world experience will assist your project in not only evaluating business models and opportunities, but also in implementing the models for true sustainability and success.

Diane Kruse

Founder and CEO

Diane Kruse is the founder and CEO of NEO Connect Fiber, a company that designs and builds Middle Mile fiber optic and Last Mile FTTH/FTTB/FTTX projects. Kruse has 25 years of telecommunications industry experience, the last 15 as an entrepreneur starting and managing successful telecommunication companies. Prior to NEO Connect, she was the CEO of Zoomy Communications, a leading firm in the FTTH industry for greenfield real estate development projects and FTTH construction. Ms. Kruse has provided management consulting for AT&T Broadband, Media One, Qwest, 360 Networks, and Level 3 Communications, and held numerous management positions with Sprint Communications. She developed business and financial plans for several municipalities that are deploying community broadband services and FTTH networks, and wrote the Statewide Telecommunications and Broadband Services Plan for the State of Colorado.

Ms. Kruse has served as Chairman of the Board of the Fiber to the Home Council, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote, educate and accelerate Fiber to the Home deployments. She is a frequent speaker at national telecommunications conferences on community broadband networks and FTTH networks.

Steven Burkholder

Project Consultant

Steven Burkholder provides project management and business consulting services for Stimulus grant recipients, municipalities, communities and real estate developers to build world-class Gigabit, Middle Mile Fiber and Fiber to the Home (FTTH) networks. Burkholder provides program and project management, vendor management strategies, pricing and positioning, business plans, financial plans, and community engagement programs.

His past experience includes project management of FTTH and Middle Mile construction projects, managing day-to-day business, schedules, logistics, payroll and operational and administrative activities. He has been responsible for generation and analysis of reports such as revenue & performance records, budgets and cost-benefit/break-even analysis for equipment and capital purchases.

He has been involved in community engagement activities for numerous broadband efforts underway at NEO Connect. Burkholder has created and negotiated service agreements and contracts with vendors and construction firms.

Patricia McCaskey

Project Consultant

Patricia McCasky has more than twenty-five years of experience of sales, marketing and executive sales management, project management and consulting services for the telecommunications industry.  McCasky started at MCI and Sprint in the late ‘80s when these telecom giants were just getting started.  Prior to joining NEO’s team, McCasky held sales and sales management positions for national accounts and was a leading Sales Director for Sprint and she has held VP of Sales and Marketing positions while at 800-Video On, a company owned by G.E. Capital.  McCasky is a strong negotiator and specializes in strategic consulting, contract negotiations and project management.