Samuel Averitt, the vice provost for information technology at N.C. State University and the chair of the N.C. Networking Initiative (NCNI), has been selected as one of Computerworld magazine’s Premier 100 IT Leaders for 2004.

Joining Averitt on the list from North Carolina is Albert Hitchcock, the chief information officer for Nortel Networks in Research Triangle Park.

Suzanne Gordon, vice president of IT at SAS in Cary and a member of the N.C. State Board of Trustees, was cited in 2003.

Also on this year’s list from the Atlanta area are Dan Agronow, VP of technology for The Weather Channel Interactive; Brian Leinbach, senior VP of operations for Delta Technology; and Robert Taylor, CIO and director of IT for the Fulton County Government.

The selections, announced in a special Jan. 5 edition of Computerworld, honors 100 top IT and business executives for their technology leadership. This year’s winners will be honored at the Premier 100 IT Leaders Conference in Palm Desert, CA, in March.

“Our Premier 100 IT Leaders represent an elite class of technology thought-leaders who truly practice what they preach about using IT to creatively solve business problems and enable new services,” said Maryfran Johnson, editor in chief of Computerworld, in a statement.

N.C. State’s Averitt has worked his entire career at his alma mater, spearheading the university’s status in networking since the early 1980s. He played a role in developing the Internet 2, of which the university is a founding member.

Averitt’s expertise also contributed to the NCNI’s launch of the nation’s first operational GigaPoP in 1997. Under his leadership in 2003, the NCNI joined the National LambdaRail, a new consortium of U.S. research universities and technology companies building a next-generation national network using optical technology.

In May, Averitt was called upon when the N.C. Supercomputing Center announced it would terminate existing services on June 30. The decision had the most impact on the three North Carolina research universities that make up the NCNI, including N.C. State. Millions of dollars of funded research and the projects of numerous researchers and graduate students were at stake.

Working with researchers, staff, vendors, and administrators of the affected institutions, Averitt helped devise solutions that would meet the immediate needs of most researchers, expand high performance computing capabilities on campus, and upgrade the NCNI networking infrastructure.

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, N.C. State now has a new level of high performance computing and grid computing resources in production. The new services are supported by the IT division headed by Averitt and are being heavily used by researchers and graduate students at N.C. State and other research universities in North Carolina.