WILSON – Brittany Smith is a Wilsonian through and through. Not only was she born and raised in Wilson, she is also a graduate of Barton College (Go Bulldogs!). With those deep roots, Brittany has had a front row seat to Wilson’s metamorphosis into the Smart City it is today and watched Gig East grow from its infancy. That wealth of knowledge serves her well in her role as Customer Support Manager for Greenlight Community Broadband and Gig East.
Brittany joined City of Wilson staff in the Utilities office in 2007, just before Greenlight was launched. As it opened to residents, she transitioned to Greenlight Customer Service and had the privilege to sign up the very first Greenlight members. In 2014, she moved to the Unified Communication Center which houses Greenlight’s tech support and dispatch personnel. After the Gig East Exchange opened, she moved downtown to oversee Exchange operations and memberships.
That experience has allowed Brittany to watch Greenlight grow and expand from multiple points of view within the organization. “It’s been really inspiring to see what Greenlight has been able to do not just within our state, but in our country.” she shares. “It’s surprising how many people live in Wilson and don’t realize how fortunate they are to have the fiber-to-the-home service that Greenlight provides. I feel very fortunate to be here at Greenlight and see what we do next. It’s definitely not a stagnant place to work, and that’s what makes it so exciting. Every day can bring a new story to the book.”
Although housed in its own location at the Exchange, Gig East is a division of Greenlight. She explains the relationship and history: “We held the first Gig East Summit in 2017. It was a time to showcase innovation that was happening in Wilson, especially for people in the Triangle area. It was a huge success, and after that Summit we needed to create an opportunity to continue the conversation. So, we started hosting meetups with a new topic centered on tech and innovation. Those had great participation and produced valuable questions and content. But, we were still lacking the ability to connect between meetups. That’s where the idea of the Exchange was born so that we could continue to discuss and collaborate all year long, and it fits perfectly within Greenlight’s mission.”
As Greenlight and Gig East have flourished, Brittany has watched her hometown thrive as well. “People who are used to being in large cities then visit Wilson find it unique because we do have metropolitan accommodations. You really can’t go anywhere else to a town our size and get the level of internet speeds that we provide. Even down to our Fix-It Wilson app, those are things you can’t find in a large city with the same feel you have in Wilson because of the small town vibe. Arts downtown, local business events, public parks- there’s so many things Wilson brings so that you don’t have to live in a huge city and drive that distance to get them.”
All those things have contributed to Brittany’s decision to continue to call Wilson home. Although she had thoughts of living in Raleigh after college, the potential in Wilson compelled her to stay local. “The City is a great place to be, especially with Greenlight. The intensity level was really high those first few years and every day we learned something. It was so encouraging to work where we were in the national spotlight. We were a topic of conversation. I wanted to be part of the change in Wilson. Today, I drive down roads that used to be tree lines and now there are apartments, homes, and restaurants. Look at Historic Downtown Wilson. I remember a period of time where it looked like it would be deserted and now it’s been revitalized. You can walk around and have free Wi-Fi; where else can you do that? No one knew how Greenlight would pay off because no one had done it. Other communities tried and did not make it. What was the difference between them and us? I truly believe it was the people.”
In her free time, Brittany enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her son and family.