Joe Freddoso, chief executive officer of MCNC which operates the growing and expanding North Carolina Research and Education Network, and the NCREN effort are a White House “Champion of Change.”

Freddoso, a former executive at Cisco, is also being recognized as an “Innovator in Infrastructure.”

NCREN is currently utilizing private and public sector funding as well as federal grants to upgrade and expand the network to provide high-speed Internet access from the coast to the mountains.

The network already links the members of the UNC System as well as 58 Community Colleges and the state’s public school districts. Charter schools and other non-profit and educational institutions also are joining the network.

“Very honored that the White House recognizes North Carolina’s recent work in broadband infrastructure deployment as exemplary,” Freddoso told WRAL Tech Wire.

“I think about all the individuals and organizations who have supported MCNC’s efforts. The Governor’s office and members of the the General Assembly which encouraged to pursue the [federal] funding; members of the North Carolina Delegation to Congress who helped advocate for our applications; The MCNC Board of Directors and the MCNC Advisory Committee who helped us review plans and approve strategy. The board and staff of the Golden LEAF Foundation that became the lead private match investor in the effort to raise private matching funds. All of these organizations had to work together to gain access to the funding.”

Freddoso and 11 others will be honored at the White House on Feb. 15.

“MCNC is honored with recognition by the White House as a Champion of Change,” said John Killebrew who heads up community efforts for NCREN.

“MCNC’s work is greatly supported by our Governor, North Carolina’s General Assembly, the NCREN Community, the Golden LEAF Foundation, and by a great team at MCNC. Two members of the MCNC team have really led our work that led to receiving this recognition; MCNC’s CFO Patricia Moody and VP of Network Initiatives Tommy Jacobson deserve special recognition.”

The awards recognize individuals “for creating jobs in their communities and using innovative techniques to develop valuable projects helping to improve America’s infrastructure.”

“These American heroes are creating jobs today by investing in tomorrow — putting men and women back to work rebuilding America’s infrastructure,” said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in a statement. “We appreciate their extraordinary efforts to connect people who need their jobs back with the jobs that our communities and economy need done.”
MCNC’s NCREN project will cost $144 million and is on track to be completed by mid-2013. The organization received $104 million in two rounds of federal funding. It also is being supported by the North Carolina Golden LEAF economic development group.

Freddoso has been CEO of MCNC since June 1, 2007. He worked at Cisco for seven years.

The White House event can be watched live online at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 15.

Get the latest news alerts: Follow WRAL Tech Wire at Twitter.