News

The Quilt welcomes Executive Committee appointments January 23, 2017

The Quilt, a national coalition of advanced U.S. regional networks for research and education (R&E), is pleased to announced its 2017 Quilt Executive Committee. This committee provides ongoing oversight of The Quilt affairs as delegated by the full Board of Directors.

OARnet Interim Executive Director Paul Schopis will remain chairman of The Quilt’s board of directors through Dec. 31. Schopis was elected vice chairman of the board last year and stepped up to the chairman position on Oct. 1, 2016. He is the first person to serve as chairman of the executive committee twice, previously serving on The Quilt’s executive committee and elected chair of board of directors in 2008.

Schopis currently serves as the interim executive director of OARnet, as well as chief technology officer. As CTO, Schopis develops the strategy and implementation of OARnet’s optical fiber network and private cloud computing environment. Schopis led the team that designed OARnet’s network, one of the nation’s leading statewide, high-speed networks for research and education, and was involved in all phases of its creation.

New appointees and members of The Quilt Executive Committee in 2017 include Cas D’Angelo, Dave Jent, Tripti Sinha and Steve Fulkerson. Mark Johnson, previously a chairman of The Quilt, will serve as vice chairman.

The following complete this year’s Quilt Executive Committee:

  • Paul Schopis, Chief Technology Officer, OARnet (Chairman)
  • Mark Johnson, Chief Technology Strategist, MCNC (Vice Chair)
  • Amy Philipson, Executive Director, Pacific Northwest GigaPoP (Treasurer)
  • Steve Fulkerson, Executive Director, Arkansas Research Education Optical Network (Secretary)
  • John Gillispie, Executive Director, MOREnet (Chair of the CEO Round Table)
  • Jeff Letourneau, Executive Director, Networkmaine
  • Brian Remer, Chief Technology Officer at WiscNet
  • Cas D’Angelo, Executive Director, Southern Crossroads/Southern LambdaRail
  • Dave Jent, Associate Vice President of Networks and Managing Director, Indiana GigaPOP
  • Tim Lance, President and Chairman of NYSERNet
  • Tripti Sinha, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Crossroads – MAX

The Quilt facilitates collaboration among our country’s regional networks to further advance networking for research and education.  Representatives from participating organizations comprise The Quilt Board of Directors. The officers of The Quilt Executive Committee are elected from the Board of Directors after receiving nomination from their peers.

These individuals will join the other networking leaders from around the country in California in February at The Quilt 2017 Winter Member Meeting in La Jolla. Follow all conversations on social media during the Winter Member Meeting using #WMM17.

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About The Quilt
The Quilt is the national coalition of advanced regional networks for research and education, representing 36 networks across the country. Participants in The Quilt provide advanced network services and applications to more than 250 universities and thousands of other educational institutions throughout the United States. Visit www.thequilt.net.

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Touching presentation symbolizes OARnet’s efforts  November 21, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Nov. 21, 2016)  – OARnet is well known for its connections, from POP to POP, main site to disaster recovery and everything in between. Running even deeper than the dark fiber that comprises the network are the connections forged and fostered among the people of OARnet. One of these connections is with the Bangladesh Research and Education Network (BdREN), with which OARnet has worked for several years. Interim Executive Director Paul Schopis recently accepted an honor from BdREN, recognizing the assistance that OARnet has provided in launching the country’s first network for higher education.


BdREN presents OARnet with a hand-embroidered image. 

The group presented Schopis with a framed, hand-embroidered canvas that depicts Shaheed Minar, a national monument in the country’s capital that commemorates those who died fighting to preserve the country’s mother language of Bengali. The colorful canvas is a simply stitched image, but the work that went into building it and the people that the canvas has touched symbolize something far from simple. The country’s mother language not only lives on, but it can also now be shared worldwide through the connections BdREN can offer.

“When they presented it, it was very clear to me that this meant a lot to (them), and I was really touched,” Schopis said. “People fought and died to save their language and their culture. Somebody acknowledges that something you’ve helped them with means that much to them, and it’s moving, it’s very rewarding. I thought that was pretty profound.”

The image depicts Shaheed Minar, a Bangladesh national monument.

According to the BdREN website, “BdREN with its multi-gigabit capability aims to connect all universities, research institutions, libraries, laboratories, healthcare and agricultural institutions across the country and to support geographically dispersed academics, scientists and researchers with reliable access to high-end computing, simulation tools and datasets.”

During the past few years, OARnet, along with Kent State University and Ireland’s National Research and Education Network (HEAnet), has supported the conception, funding search and construction of BdREN. Bangladesh has the world’s eighth-largest population (approximately 162 million), but is approximately the land size of Ohio. Because of this, Javed Khan, Ph.D., principal investigator for the BdREN project and professor at Kent State University, initially approached OARnet for assistance with the budget proposal. The request came shortly after OARnet finished its dark fiber expansion project.

“He asked us if we could just do some work and figure out what kind of money they should ask for,” Schopis said. “When we started looking at the maps of where they wanted to build and the cities they wanted to build the network between, where the universities were, it turns out the distances were very similar to what we had just done in Ohio.”

The World Bank granted $1.25 million to fund the project, and OARnet continued to assist with the project, providing guidance in network design and engineering. Over the past few years, BdREN staff members have traveled to Columbus to work shoulder-to-shoulder with OARnet engineers and administration to continue to improve and advance the network in Bangladesh.

Schopis said he has seen not only the BdREN staff members grow from new experiences provided through the partnership (such as witnessing their first snowfall), but also the OARnet staff.

“I think there is great, great value in us interacting with people that come from cultures that are very different from our own,” Schopis said. “I think it’s truly enriching.”

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The Quilt elects OARnet’s Paul Schopis as chairman November 18, 2016

OARnet Interim Executive Director Paul Schopis was elected chairman of The Quilt’s board of directors. Schopis was elected vice chairman of the board last year and stepped up to the interim chairman position on Oct. 1. He will serve as chairman until Dec. 31, 2017.

pschopisSchopis is the first person to serve as chairman of the executive committee twice, previously serving on The Quilt’s executive committee and elected chair of board of directors in 2008.

“It’s an honor,” Schopis said, “because you’re selected by your peers because they see you as being able to carry forward the work membership identifies as important.”

Schopis was named chairman at The Quilt’s Fall Member Meeting, which also included co-located workshops and meetings with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Campus Cyberinfrastructure Primary Investigator (PI) workshop and the ESnet Site Coordinators Committee (ESCC) in Philadelphia Oct. 19-21.

Paul Schopis currently serves as the interim executive director of OARnet, as well as chief technology officer. As CTO, Schopis develops the strategy and implementation of OARnet’s optical fiber network and private cloud computing environment. Schopis led the team that designed OARnet’s network, one of the nation’s leading statewide, high-speed networks for research and education, and was involved in all phases of its creation.

Schopis previously served as senior engineer for Ohio’s Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC-Ohio). Among his other successes, Schopis also was a founding member of the Advanced Testing and Monitoring Team, in partnership with ITEC-Ohio, ITEC-NC, Spirent, British Columbia Institute of Technology and San Diego Supercomputing Center.

Schopis holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physical science from Ohio State University.

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