Governor Abbott Appoints Three To Governor’s Broadband Development Council

August 16, 2021 | Austin, Texas | Appointment

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Bill Hetherington, Akbar Kara, and Hatch Smith, Jr. to the Governor’s Broadband Development Council for terms set to expire on August 31, 2026. The council was created by the 86th Legislature in 2019, and expanded by the 87th Legislature in 2021. The council works to study and identify ways to provide internet access to underserved areas of Texas.

Bill Hetherington of Boerne is Chief Executive Officer of the Bandera Electric Cooperative, and brings more than 30 years of experience in technology development and the retail electric industry. At the Cooperative, Hetherington spearheaded the BEC Fiber business, which is an innovative product line offering high-speed internet to select Cooperative customers. He is Chairman of the Board of the Boerne & Kendall County Economic Development Corporation, a member of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and a former board member of the Texas Electric Cooperative Association. Additionally Hetherington serves on the Board of the BEC Foundation and supports many community based non-profit organizations. Hetherington received Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, a graduate degree in administration from Central Michigan University, and a certificate in executive leadership from Wharton Business School.

Akbar Kara of Plano is President and Chief Executive Officer of LEARN: Lonestar Education and Research Network, a non-profit created by the Texas Legislature to assist research & education institutions and health science centers with high performance networking. Previously, Kara worked in senior network and information technology roles for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Columbia University, and New York Hospital. Kara has served in leadership roles at the IEEE Supercomputing Conference and as the committee chair at Kara also volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America and he is currently serving in the executive committee of, a non-profit consortium. Kara received a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from The City College of New York and a certificate in Executive Management from Columbia University. 

Hatch Smith, Jr. of Llano is Chief Executive Officer and Administrator of MidCoast Medical Center-Central in Llano, a rural hospital that he and other local business leaders helped save from going out of business. Smith is also a leader in ranching and agribusiness. Previously, he held finance and investment positions with JPMorganChase and Commerce Street Capital. Smith is a board member of the American Tarentaise Association, and he volunteers in civic events and in efforts to promote research into Alzheimer’s disease. Smith received a Bachelor of Arts in Science from Cornell University and a Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.