Over the last three decades, our team members have represented Fortune 500 companies, cutting edge technology start-ups, Federal and state agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations and consortia.
R36 Solutions is a collaborative venture, created by six national experts to help our clients identify and capture opportunities across government and commercial industry verticals.
We are a tightly integrated team of technology, innovation, policy, advocacy, and research strategists. Our experience and expertise span a wide spectrum of science and technology fields and issues including telecommunications, energy, transportation, defense, workforce development and information technology. We have decades of experience in various presidential administrations, federal agencies, state utility commissions, think tanks, corporations and international law firms.
Our team includes former high-ranking Federal and State technology officials, who have had responsibility for creating, overseeing and advocating for Presidential and Cabinet-level technology initiatives and who have developed and executed strategies to promote technology-based economic development at the State and Federal level as well as former C level corporate executives, who have had extensive hands-on involvement in the development, planning and implementation of large-scale regional and nationwide business and strategic initiatives.
R36 Solutions provides expert, experienced, and professional support to commercial enterprises, as well as state and local governments, tribes and non-profit organizations in pursuit of federal grant and direct funding opportunities. Our team of seasoned professionals have helped numerous clients do the following: raise their visibility among government policy makers and program managers; advance their program and policy interests in Washington; and secure federal funding though appropriations, grants, and contracts from the Federal government to support a wide variety of R&D, technology, broadband, renewable energy, homeland security, programmatic and economic development projects. Our team has the full scope of professional knowledge, technical expertise, and experience needed to navigate sweeping and complex legislation and the spectrum of Federal funding opportunities.
With our deep bench and domain expertise, we can assist our clients in all aspects of working with the government, including winning agency grants, executing programs, selling products and services to the government or in furtherance of government sponsored policies and programs, and managing compliance.
The speed of innovation, disruptive business models, and socially-driven government policies create the need for a multi-disciplinary and experienced partner that our clients can turn to as they develop new businesses and operational strategies to remain viable now and into the future
The R36 Solutions team has been involved in the development of the mobile, internet, hyperscale, distributed cloud environment, AI/ML, and Smart Grid commercial industries. This background enables R36 to support your team in creating new lines of business and evolving existing ones to pursue new revenue opportunities.
Our expertise spans multiple Federal agencies – including the Departments of Energy, Commerce and Defense, the Federal Communications Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the National Science Foundation – creating a deep knowledge of their R&D budgets and programs, policy priorities and large-scale procurement efforts.
Our team also has long-standing familiarity and experience working within the Washington D.C. political environment, building strategic partnerships, and developing effective messaging and advocacy campaigns. Over the last three decades, our team members have represented Fortune 500 companies, cutting edge technology start-ups, Federal and state agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations and consortia.
Rachelle Chong is a nationally recognized California regulatory lawyer and registered lobbyist who assists innovative business clients before the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. Rachelle is proud to be the first Asian American Commissioner of both the FCC and the CPUC. In addition to her federal and state public service, she has been a law partner at two international law firms, Graham & James and Coudert Brothers, General Counsel for two start-ups (Broadband Office and Sidecar – a Uber and Lyft competitor), Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast California, and senior policy counsel for the California Technology Agency (the California state CIO’s office). She founded her solo law and lobbying practice in 2013 in San Francisco and represents a broad variety of clients in telecom, energy, and transportation.
Rachelle is a national regulatory expert on telecommunications, broadband, spectrum, cable, broadcast, transportation network companies, electric vehicles charging infrastructure, smart grid, microgrid, and autonomous vehicle regulation. She regularly speaks at national conferences to inspire companies and communities to bridge the Digital Divide, adopt advanced technologies for grid modernization and disaster recovery, and explain the intersection of communications and energy transformation during an era of climate change escalation.
In addition, Rachelle is a seasoned board member. She currently serves as Chairwoman of the SHLB Coalition (a Washington, D.C. policy non-profit organization representing schools, libraries and rural health care facilities before the FCC, USAC and Congress), and as an Advisory Council member of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Past boards on which she has served include Anterix (ATEX), the California Foundation for the Environment and the Economy (CFEE), the California Asian Chamber of Commerce, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, the California Emerging Technology Fund, the California Telehealth Network, Corsair, Lightbridge (LTBR) and Authorize.net (ANET and now CYBS).
Rachelle holds a law degree (J.D. 1984) from UC Hastings College of the Law, and dual B.S. degrees 1981 from UC Berkeley (Political Science/Journalism). She resides in San Francisco and Healdsburg where she maintains offices.
Kelly Carnes is an entrepreneur, and nationally recognized technology policy expert and thought leader. She has served the high tech industry for over 20 years, holding leadership positions in technology business, law and government.
She is President and CEO of TechVision21, a Washington, DC-based technology strategy firm. TechVision21 leverages technology, business and government expertise to help companies: pinpoint and secure research and technology funding; forge critical alliances with business and government leaders; and promote and protect their interests in Washington. TechVision21 clients include global companies, leading U.S. research universities, government, and science and technology non-profit organizations.
Before founding TechVision21, Ms. Carnes served eight years at the highest levels of the U.S. government, working first as an aide to then First Lady Hillary Clinton, and later, as a senior technology policy advisor to four Secretaries of Commerce. Most recently, Ms. Carnes served four years as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy. As a Presidential appointee, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Ms. Carnes represented the Administration before Congress, and was a liaison to, and advocate for, the technology business community. Ms. Carnes also represented the United States in negotiations with foreign governments, and in multilateral fora, including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Ms. Carnes also provided strategic direction and management oversight for a large Federal agency; spearheaded sophisticated, highly-leveraged public-private partnerships to promote technological innovation; and led numerous Presidential and Cabinet-level technology initiatives. Private sector partners—including Warner Brothers, Scientific American, the National Association of Manufacturers, and DeVry University—invested $50+ for every Federal dollar invested in these ventures.
Ms. Carnes served as a key point person on numerous high profile issues affecting technology businesses, including regulation of E-commerce, H-1(b) visas, the R&D tax credit, securities litigation reform, financial accounting standards, and the high tech workforce shortage. She also helped lead the Administration’s efforts to increase the representation of women and minorities in the nation’s technology workforce.
Ms. Carnes directed several Presidential-level technology programs and initiatives, including the National Medal of Technology, America’s highest award for technological innovation. She also created GetTech, an award winning national public awareness and information campaign to encourage teens to pursue technology careers. GetTech features celebrity endorsements, radio and television public service announcements, and an interactive web site. GetTech ads have been broadcast more than 45,000 times and have reached students in 14,000 public middle schools.
In 2021, Ms. Carnes was selected as a top woman business leader by Corporate Magazine and joined the Washington Business Journal’s Leadership Trust. Her article on Federal R&D funding was recently published in the WBJ, and she published an article on renewable energy in the Economist.
Ms. Carnes is known as a dynamic speaker and forceful advocate for industry on technology and competitiveness issues. She is a frequent keynote speaker at technology and business conferences around the nation, and has been widely quoted in the media, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, Business Week.com, Information Week, CIO Magazine and The National Journal. She has been a featured guest on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation and appeared on television and radio broadcasts nationwide.
Ms. Carnes has served on numerous Boards and Commissions, including the Comptroller General’s Advisory Board (Government Accountability Office), the Senior Advisory Group for the Director of National Intelligence, a National Governors’ Association Commission on Technology and Adult Education, and the Steering Committee for the Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology (the “Morella Commission”). Ms. Carnes also has served as an advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and BEST: Building Engineering and Science Talent. In 2000, Ms. Carnes was selected by the Center for the Study of the Presidency to join an elite group of experts making recommendations to President Bush on improving the federal government’s ability to develop technology and competitiveness policy.
Ms. Carnes previously enjoyed a highly successful technology business career. As an attorney at a top national law firm, Ms. Carnes structured and negotiated more than $1 billion in technology business transactions. These included joint ventures and strategic alliances, venture capital transactions, technology development, licensing and marketing agreements, systems integration projects, and large-scale computer outsourcing transactions.
Ms. Carnes graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She also graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law School, where she served as Topics Editor for the Georgetown Law Journal.
Hank Kenchington has over 25 years’ experience in leading public and private organizations in the strategic management of technology and innovation. Hank retired from the US Department of Energy (DOE) in 2018 as Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Cybersecurity and Emerging Threats and then served as a Senior Fellow at the Virginia Tech Hume Center for National Security and Technology. At DOE, Hank worked with The White House National Security Council, Congress, energy sector, and federal and state agencies to develop national policies and strategies to enhance the cybersecurity posture of nation’s critical infrastructure. He led the development of the Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity – a public-private strategy to enhance cybersecurity across the energy sector and catalyzed the development of more than 30 advanced technologies now deployed across the nation’s energy infrastructure. Hank also pioneered the Cybersecurity Risk Information Sharing Program (CRISP) – a threat information sharing platform with advanced analytics designed to rapidly detect and defend the power grid against sophisticated threat actors.
As DAS for Advanced Grid Integration, Hank directed the $4.5 billion smart grid investment program designed to jumpstart grid modernization across the US. Working with more than 200 utilities across the US, the program leveraged over $4 billion in private sector investments to deploy a wide range of digital ICT technologies to improve grid reliability by more that 40% and reduce outage times by more than 50%. The program also deployed a nationwide network of GPS-synchronized sensors to better detect grid disturbances and mitigate blackouts.
Hank has a BS in mechanical and nuclear engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a MS in engineering management from George Washington University.
Carolyn Van Damme is the President and Founder of The Round Peg Group. Trained in both engineering and public policy, she thinks both logically and strategically – a talent that allows her to successfully combine her technical education with hands-on business and public policy expertise. Round Peg is a woman-owned consulting company, specializing in helping technology-based organizations advance their interests in the Federal government policy and program arena, identifying and securing funding to support their priorities, and representing the interests of these organizations in Washington, D.C. Her clients have included fortune 500 companies and new start-ups, as well as government agencies and not-for-profit organizations.
She has amassed a broad range of experience in the areas of science and technology, telecommunications, information technology, workforce development, and Federal research and development (R&D). She has led multi-disciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, program managers, computer scientists and administrative staff for more than a dozen strategic initiatives for her clients.
Prior to founding Round Peg, Carolyn served as the Acting Vice President at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, responsible for a portfolio of federal contracts with agencies as diverse as the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. During that time, she also served as Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the White House’s National Coordination Office for Information Technology Research and Development.
Carolyn’s experience includes serving as: the Senior Advisor for Marketing and Communications for the U.S. Commerce Department’s Advanced Technology Program; a Vice President for Infotech Strategies providing strategic counseling to high-tech companies, start-ups and coalitions; and the Technology Counsel to the Computer Systems Policy Project (CSPP), a coalition of CEOs from the major U.S. computer companies. She also spent time at Podesta Associates and the Council on Competitiveness. She started her career as a field engineer with Schlumberger and Contel Cellular.
Over the past twenty-five years, Carolyn has emerged as a national leader in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and workforce development. Since 2009, she has worked alongside various government and not-for-profit organizations to establish and manage their STEM initiatives, most recently with the U.S. Navy’s STEM program and the Million Girls Moonshot.
As a longtime advocate for STEM education, Carolyn volunteers extensively for FIRST Robotics, serving as the Senior Judge Advisor for the Maryland, DC and Virginia District. She received both her Master of Science in Public Policy and her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering Degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
With over 30+ years’ experience Mr. Burkhardt is currently a Sr Advisor and Consultant to the 4G/5G Mobile, Energy, and Hyperscale industries. His areas of expertise and focus for R36 Solutions include advanced technology and operations strategy, support for government affairs and outreach programs, and business partnership development.
Mr. Burkhardt has been engaged, since the 1990’s, with commercial mobile wireless and fixed network technology and services strategy through implementation. This also includes business creation, operations, and investment management. He has served in executive level positions with responsibilities for services and technology development, delivery, and portfolio creation. Through engagement in international and domestic experiences in communications services and network oriented joint ventures he is familiar with the nuances of partnerships that are required to create successful regulatory, business, and mobile /fixed network technology operational environments.
He has held leadership positions at Pacific Bell, ATT, AirTouch (pre-cursor to Verizon Wireless), Nextel, Teligent, Carlson Technologies, and joined the founder of Nextel, Morgan O’Brien, in starting Cyren-Call and Anterix Inc. Over the course of his career, he has provided regulatory, technology, and operations advisory and consulting services to companies that include Motorola and Ericsson, Cisco, Cable-Vision and Grain Investments. He holds a BSEE from Western Michigan University.
Tom Sidman, a founding member of R36, currently provides independent business, strategic and transactional consulting and advisory services, principally to entities and organizations in the telecommunications field. Tom possesses an extensive and varied range of capabilities and skill sets, developed over decades of experience assisting telecommunications service providers in structuring, financing and operating their business activities and in their dealings with significant third parties. As a partner in the international law firm of Jones Day, where he specialized in corporate and securities law and mergers and acquisitions, Tom in 1988 became the principal outside counsel for Fleet Call, Inc. (the predecessor entity to Nextel Communications, Inc.). In that role, Tom assisted Fleet Call in obtaining the necessary private equity and debt financing needed to fund their massive multi-year acquisition program, which resulted in Fleet Call becoming the largest owner/operator of specialized mobile radio (SMR) service businesses and the largest holder of 800 MHz SMR spectrum licenses in the United States. Tom also participated in key aspects of Fleet Call’s successful proceedings at the FCC to obtain the necessary regulatory modifications to permit SMR licensed frequencies to be utilized to provide digital cellular commercial radio services, as well as in the negotiation of arrangements with Motorola for use of its iDEN technology and the purchase of the related iDEN network and user equipment supplied by Motorola, and in the preparation and filing of registration statements and ancillary documentation with the SEC for Nextel’s initial public offering transaction, which was concluded in 1992.
In 1994, Tom joined Nextel as its General Counsel, and in that role, he served as a key member of senior management and was heavily involved in architecting and implementing the aggressive financing, acquisition and construction programs that enabled Nextel to launch and operate the first nationwide all-digital mobile communications network in the U.S. During the period from 1994 to 2001, Tom (under three CEOs) represented Nextel in structuring and negotiating various major strategic transactions, including: the acquisition and integration of each of Dial Page and Onecomm, the next largest SMR system owner/operators and SMR spectrum licensees in the U.S.; the $1 billion investment in Nextel made by Craig McCaw’s Eagle River organization; the formation, financing and establishment of relationships with each of Nextel Partners and NII Holdings; the sale to, and leaseback from, Spectrasite Holdings of a substantial portion of Nextel’s tower assets throughout the U.S.; the structuring of strategic investments and relationships with each of Comcast and MCI; and the establishment of outsourcing arrangements relating to billing services with Amdocs and to customer care services with IBM and Teletech.
In 2001, Tom stepped down as Nextel’s General Counsel and continued to serve as a senior legal advisor to Nextel until 2003. After leaving Nextel, Tom pursued a variety of investing and entrepreneurial activities, and also launched his independent consulting and advisory business, concentrating on the mobile communications industry. In 2006, Tom and other former members of Nextel senior management founded and financed Cyren Call Communications Corporation, which successfully pursued a rulemaking proceeding before the FCC with the objective of setting aside 20 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum (a 10 X 10 MHz licensed pair) from the then contemplated commercial 700 MHz spectrum auctions. As proposed by Cyren Call, that set aside spectrum was awarded to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (for whom Cyren Call served as an advocate and advisor) for use in a public/private partnership structure, to provide broadband communications services to public safety personnel and other first responder user groups on a priority basis, with non-priority, secondary usage allowed for serving regular commercial and consumer users. That spectrum is currently being deployed throughout the U.S. in the FirstNet network being built and operated by AT&T. Most recently (from mid 2015 until late 2018), Tom served as General Counsel of pdvWireless, Inc. (now known as Anterix, Inc.), after providing consulting services to them in connection with their original private placement financing and related acquisition (from Sprint Corporation) of nationwide holdings of non-contiguous 900 MHz licensed spectrum initially used by Nextel in the operation of its iDEN network. While serving in this General Counsel role, Tom was centrally involved in the implementation of pdvWireless’ business plan, including in the successful FCC rulemaking proceeding to authorize and approve a process to reconfigure a portion of the 900 MHz spectrum band to allow the creation of 6 MHz of contiguous spectrum (a 3 X 3 MHz spectrum pair) for use in providing broadband communications capabilities to critical industry and other enterprise users in a private network context.
Tom received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law. Subsequently, he obtained an MBA degree from The George Washington University.