ANN ARBOR — The featured speakers at the 2013 Merit Member Conference include a leader in advanced Internet research, an inspiring speaker and author on the promise of technology in education, and an IT entrepreneur working to leverage technology for economic and social advancement.

These speakers will introduce a framework of themes that will be reflected throughout the rest of the conference agenda.

The conference will be held in Ann Arbor on May 15-16. Early registration pricing is available through March 29. Merit Members can register for just $159 through that date. See complete information at

Speaker Joel J. Mambretti is director of the International Center for Advanced Internet Research at Northwestern University, which focuses on developing digital communications for the 21st Century. He is director of the Metropolitan Research and Education Network, an advanced high-performance network serving institutions in seven Midwest states. He is also principal investigator for research projects in high-performance networking and advanced computing.

Speaker Will Richardson has been thinking and writing about the intersection of online learning networks and education for the past 10 years. He is an outspoken advocate for change in schools and classrooms through the learning opportunities that the Web and other technologies offer. He is a former public school educator and co-founder of Powerful Learning Practices, a professional development program that has mentored over 5,000 teachers in the last five years.

Speaker Scot Rourke is president, CEO and a founder of OneCommunity, a Cleveland non-profit that expands high-speed broadband access in Northeast Ohio. He is a thought leader in using information technologies to foster economic development and improve quality of life. Prior to launching OneCommunity, Scot was president of a national information technology and services company, following many years of turnaround management experience.

Now through March 29, Merit members can register to attend the full conference for just $159 ($199 after that date). Members who register now also have the limited-time opportunity to register a colleague to attend the conference at no additional charge. There are additional options to attend single days of the conference.

Registration for the Merit Member Conference is open only to Merit members, potential members from higher education, K-12, libraries, government, health care and non-profits, and event sponsors. Others may attend the conference only through special arrangement. Please contact for more information.

The conference will be held at the Sheraton Ann Arbor, 3200 Boardwalk Drive. You can reserve rooms online or by calling the hotel at (734) 996-0600 and asking for the Merit Member Conference rate.

The room rate for conference attendees is $109 per night for standard rooms or $129 for rooms on the Club Level, while rooms remain available. The group rate is available until April 30.


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