OARnet Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer Paul Schopis will retire June 30, following a two-plus-decade career that has made an enormous impact upon Ohio’s statewide IT network organization.
Schopis was appointed executive director of the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) in August 2018 by former Chancellor John Carey of the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), after serving as interim executive director since January 2016. He also had served as chief technical officer (CTO) since 2012.
In the various posts he has held, Schopis developed the strategy for and deployment of OARnet’s 100 Gigabit fiber-optic network. He was instrumental in the development of the organization’s original dark-fiber network and has led the current process of designing and implementing the next-generation OARnet backbone. Additionally, Schopis has represented OARnet at state and national events, participating in strategic initiatives with organizations such as Internet2 and The Quilt.
“In my experience (OARnet) really earned the reputation, and deservedly so, for being a very innovative organization technically,” Schopis said. “I think one thing that sets us very much apart is we are probably the only regional network that has the breadth of constituencies that we have.”
Today, OARnet’s statewide backbone of more than 5,000 miles provides network connectivity and related technology services and products to the state’s colleges and universities, K-12 schools, research facilities, public broadcasting stations, healthcare centers and state/local governments.
“The work overseen by Paul Schopis will loom large as we prepare our students, our workforce, and our state for the future,” said current ODHE Chancellor Randy Gardner. “Technology is vital to our continued success, and I’m grateful for Paul’s work with OARnet that will allow us to keep moving forward.”
Colleagues honored Schopis at the Ohio Higher Education Computing Council annual conference in May, with remarks provided by several public university chief information officers (CIOs), including CIO Chuck Warner of Shawnee State University.