Aquidneck Light was founded to undertake an effort to bring fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) to increase access to faster, cheaper and more accessible broadband for residents and businesses in Newport County. Aquidneck Light's mission is to free the Rhode Islanders captured by a monopoly landline broadband provider and is guided by old school internet ideals.

Theodore Pietz
Co-Founder, President and CEO, CFO, and Principal Technical Consultant

A native of Maine, Ted has over 20 years of computer networking experience supporting the communications networks of the United States Navy at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I. For the Department of the Navy, Pietz's role includes solving complex application integration problems and "cradle-to-grave" network support, which includes system design, end-to-end system integration and testing, system deployment onboard nuclear submarines, and in-service engineering activities. With a penchant for strong technical authorship and project management, he additionally serves as a contracting officer representative (COR) of a $31 million multiyear contract supported by over 90 contractors. During a two year stint at an Echelon 2 command in Washington, D.C., Ted was embedded in a Development and Deployment Team (DDT) responsible for executing over $50M per fiscal year (FY). Ted gained Program Executive Office (PEO) experience, building cost Rough Order of Magnitude (ROMs), and learned how to work effectively in an environment with high level senior civilian and military personnel. Pietz holds a master's degree in Information Systems and a bachelor's degree in Computer Science with a minor in business administration, both from the University of Maine. Since 2017, he has served in leadership roles for several municipal advisory committees and boards, currently serving as vice-chair of the Portsmouth, R.I., economic development committee (PEDC) and as vice-chair of the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission (AIPC)'s Board of Directors.

Robert Dennison
 COO and Business Solutions Development and Deployment

A native of Pennsylvania, Rob joined the United States Navy in 2000. Rob earned an AAS in Computer Science and Networking Technologies while serving the submarine fleet coast-to-coast as a Fire Control Technician (FT). In 2011, Rob made a seamless transition to full-time support of the Technical Direction Authority (TDA) of the Submarine LAN (SubLAN) project at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI; where his tasking focused on servicing and deploying networks on submarines, schoolhouses, and trainers throughout the US Navy enterprise. Currently serving as the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) Subject Matter Expert (SME) for product development, Rob has expanded his breadth of experience to include hardware and software implementation, cybersecurity, and deploying medium to large node networks overseeing a spend portfolio in excess of $200M annually. In his spare time Rob manages multiple real estate projects on Aquidneck Island. Rob has experience in management and oversight of the financial executions against approved plans, objectives, schedules, resource expenditures, when deploying fiber networks and managing real estate ventures.

Andre Gonzalez
Co-Founder, Cybersecurity Specialist, and Community Outreach

A native of Florida, after earning a BS in Computer Engineering from Florida International University, worked designing and deploying a fiber-based municipal WAN for the City of Coral Gables, FL which tapped into a large datacenter in the Port of Miami. Since 2010, Andre has worked at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport, RI; initial role was running and designing a System Safety Program Plan (SSPP) as the Principal for Safety. Other prior tasking included network engineer for submarine networks and fleet support as part of an advanced networking architecture team. In 2020, Andre was named the lead engineer as Technical Decision Authority (TDA) for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), leading a team of 7 people with a program budget of over 10 million dollars a year, while completing a series of rigorous cybersecurity courses at SANS Institute, specializing in network pen testing, WiFi pen testing, and general network security. Andre currently serves on a science advisor detail assignment in direct support of the Pacific Fleet, and previously served in the Civil Air Patrol (U.S. Air Force Auxiliary), is a Master Scuba Diver, and is fluent in Spanish.

Raphael Kopecky
Business Solutions and Backend Developers

A native of Upstate New York, Raph is an alumni of the School of Information Studies (iSchool 2011) @ Syracuse University. Raph graduated with an MS in Information Systems along with a certificate of advanced study in Cyber Security. In 2014, Raph moved to Newport, RI to work for Lockheed Martin (Leidos) supporting submarine networks. Outside the world of IT, Raph's passions lie in backcountry skiing and during the summer months he can be found hitting flawless drives on the golf course. 

Marcelo Gomes
System Technician and Community Outreach

A native of Brazil, Marcelo is known for enthusiasm, passion, and attention to detail, the hallmarks of his natural teaching ability. A former sectionally ranked junior in Florida, and a scholarship tennis athlete at the University Of North Alabama, Marcelo has worked at the Hall of Fame Tennis Club, Newport, RI, and served as the Senior Tennis Professional and Junior Coordinator and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

Our mission is guided by old school Internet ideals and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)'s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

Questions or Comments? Email: info@aquidnecklight.org or snail mail: P.O. Box 896, Portsmouth, RI 02871.

© 2020-24 Aquidneck Light, a Rhode Island Benefit Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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