MCNC, the non-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), announced the winners of the NCREN Community Awards at the two-day “Create the Future for North Carolina” event last week at Wake Forest University.

The Robyn Render Endeavor Award was presented to Tracy Futhey, Vice President for IT and Chief Information Officer at Duke University, and Lane Ridenhour, Program Coordinator and Video Manager of the TeleLearning and Teleconference Center at UNC Greensboro. This recognition honors a devoted North Carolina leader who understood how technology could grow educational opportunity for all citizens and is annually presented to one or more persons who continually champion leadership, engagement, and support of MCNC’s overarching mission and goals for North Carolina.

The Empower Award was presented to Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute CIO Lamar Owen. When NCREN experienced considerable growth in 2008, the organization introduced the Empower Award to recognize individuals who were not long-time members of the NCREN Community but made an immediate impact upon engagement.

Dr. Susan Peck, Distance Education Coordinator at the College of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, was selected by her peers for the Community Choice Award. This award engages the NCREN membership from beginning to end, with input on nominees and recipients determined by the online voting.

According to the organization, more than 200 top education and technology executives participated at the “Creating the Future” event in a variety of networking discussions on the impacts of broadband towards innovation and entrepreneurship, leadership, health care, STEM education, MOOCs and distance learning, public safety, privacy, security, and information governance.

“MCNC serves the public good today by creating unprecedented levels of opportunity for North Carolinians on a world-class network,” said Jean Davis, MCNC President and CEO, in a statement. “It is this network and our skilled team running it every single day that is helping Create The Future of a connected and competitive North Carolina of tomorrow.”

MCNC’s mission is to advance education, research, health care, public safety, and the overall levels of high-speed connectivity available in North Carolina by providing a world-class network necessary for innovation, collaboration, and economic development. NCREN Community Day provides a valuable opportunity to engage with influential North Carolina community leaders and network with constituents and peers from around the country.