Tom Rabon has been elected the new chairman of the MCNC Board of Directors, succeeding Michael A. Murphy at the start of the organization’s new fiscal year beginning July 1.

MCNC, the independent non-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) that serves community anchor institutions throughout North Carolina, made the announcement on Friday.

Murphy has been a member of the MCNC Board of Directors for the last decade and served as chair for the last six years.

He retired from a successful investment banking career in 1999 and currently teaches astronomy and physics at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, while staying in involved in other volunteer efforts, including being the current president of the Friends of N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

“Mike has led MCNC through a period of tremendous accomplishments,” said MCNC President and CEO Joe Freddoso. “His business focus, tremendous financial acumen, and great passion for MCNC’s mission have served the organization well, and his commitment to this demanding volunteer role has benefited every citizen in North Carolina.”

Tom Rabon will assume the chairman role on July 1 bringing with him more than 25 years of experience working in government and the private sector.

He has worked extensively with governments around the world to create opportunities in emerging markets working with companies like Lucent Technologies, AT&T, Red Hat, and currently as chairman and partner at New Kind. He also served three terms as a member of the N.C. General Assembly and on various other boards in the state including the North Carolina Technology Association, UNC Wilmington, and already for MCNC.

“All of us at MCNC are excited that Tom has agreed to take the chairman’s role,” said Freddoso. “He is known statewide as a thoughtful policy leader, a knowledgeable telecommunications executive, and an entrepreneur skilled in applying the open source innovation mentality to any field. Tom is the leader MCNC needs for the future which will be defined by how our community applies the expanded NCREN infrastructure to addressing the state’s greatest challenges and opportunities.”

Click here to watch a video interview between Mike Murphy, Tom Rabon, and Joe Freddoso.

MCNC currently is working on a $144 million expansion of NCREN called the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI).

To date, this project has infused more than $100 million in spending with private engineering, materials and optical equipment manufacturers, and construction companies in North Carolina in addition to acquiring fiber segments from telecommunications, cable companies, and electric membership cooperatives.

MCNC is preparing for the completion of the GLRBI by next summer with plans to use this new high-speed, low-latency, high-capacity network to drive cost efficiency, better education and health care outcomes, and advance research among NCREN connectors statewide.

MCNC also will allow private technology companies to provide enhanced and value-added services over this expanded network by aggressively pursuing the use of shared services and cloud-based technologies and applications through private for-profit and non-profit providers.

MCNC has a “big” fiscal year planned for broadband in North Carolina, and will “Think Big” at this year’s annual Community Day celebration highlighting these efforts scheduled on Nov. 15-16 at Elon University.