Joe Freddoso, the executive who spearheaded the $144 million effort to turn the North Carolina Research and Education Network into a state-wide fiber optic highway, is leaving the CEO post at MCNC.

After seven years in the job, the former Cisco executive says “I believe it’s time for next generation leadership to take over for the good of the organization.”

Freddoso informed the MCNC board earlier this week that he plans to step down as of June 30.

At this time, he says no immediate plans for another position. However, Freddoso, 53, is not retiring.

“I figure I’ve got a good 20 years worth of work left in me,” he says with a chuckle.

NCREN’s upgraded and expanded network went “live” in 2013. 

Freddoso’s decision triggered an outpouring of praise from executives who worked with Freddoso at the center, which is located in RTP.

“Thanks to Joe’s leadership of MCNC, today North Carolina enjoys one of the best, if not the best, public broadband infrastructure networks in the country with a talented staff supporting it. He and the team at MCNC have developed NCREN into an important asset for our state and its people,” said Tom Rabon, the chair of the MCNC board. “He will be missed”

Mark Johnson, the chief technology officer at MCNC who has worked there in a variety of roles and under various leaders over 18 years, cited Freddoso’s enthusiasm for the job.

“Joe has been our longest-serving CEO and led us through a period of great change and growth. We will miss his leadership and enthusiasm,” Johnson explained. “During Joe’s tenure we have built a strong team and are prepared to continue working to ensure North Carolina has the best broadband infrastructure.”

Darleene Heath, director of Community Education and Communications at MCNC and a 20-year employee of the organization, pointed out that in her opinion the entire state as well as MCNC has benefited from Freddoso’s leadership.

 ”I have been amazed during the last seven years working alongside and learning from Joe. Under his leadership not only have we, the staff at MCNC thrived, but the entire state of North Carolina has thrived and is now in a position to continue the excellent work started under Joe’s leadership,” she said. “He has contributed greatly to MCNC. Congratulations to Joe on a job well done. We will miss him.”

Before joining MCNC in 2007, Freddoso was an executive at Cisco Systems for six years, acting as director of Research Triangle Park Site Operations. Prior to joining Cisco, Freddoso served as CEO of the 1999 Special Olympics Summer Games.

He earned a Master of Science degree in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, and undergraduate degrees in Management and Psychology from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio.

Freddoso and his family live in Wake Forest where he is involved in community efforts to – of course- try to bring better broadband to the area’s residents.