RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — After five years on the job, Jean Davis, CEO for the MicroElectronics Center of North Carolina (MCNC), is stepping down.

She confirmed the news to WRAL TechWire in an email on Monday.

“It was a tortuous decision to step down from MCNC as its a job, and a community that  I have loved,” she said.  “My elderly parents in  Boston are really struggling and its been difficult to manage from afar. ”

Since 2014, she has been leading MCNC’s efforts to expand a fiber ntwork backbone – the North Carolina Research and Education Network or NCREN – across North Carolina for educational, medical and industrial uses.

Earlier this year, she appeared at RIoT XXX: Smart and Connected Gigabit Cities, and talked about how far North Carolina has come in terms of the Internet of Things and its broadband infrastructure.

“There are amazing things happening with IOT in our state,” she said, “from university research to small tech companies with cool gig applications and software, to public-private partnerships between state agencies and their big partners such as IBM, Cisco and SAS.

“We’re well ahead of the pack [when it comes to our broadband infrastructure], and the big issue we need to collaborate on is rural residential connectivity. It breaks my heart to think about kids who can’t do their homework at night because they are not connected to a network,  or to hear about elderly patients who don’t have a hospital near them and don’t have connectivity at home to access telehealth services. It’s going to take all of us coming together to solve that complex problem.”

Q&A: MCNC’S CEO Jean Davis talks economic development, smart cities and more