Elkhart-based Surf Internet promoted Steve Carender to director of special funding.
In his new position, he will lead the fiber-optic internet company’s efforts to provide thought leadership about why closing the digital divide is so important. He also will pursue grants to fund those initiatives. He also will provide program management.
“Rural America is at a real inflection point given the comprehensive commitments to broadband at the state and federal levels,” Carender said in a press release. “Now is the time for rural stakeholders to take a leadership role in delivering broadband to their communities, and Surf is uniquely positioned for successful public-private partnerships.”
Carender began his career with Surf Internet in 2002, most recently serving as vice president of commercial sales.
“After working closely with Steve in the trenches for over 20 years, trying to close the digital divide first with fixed wireless and now with fiber, I am confident that there isn’t a better person in the Midwest to help us lead our grant efforts going forward,” said Surf CEO Gene Crusie.
Carender helped build networks in 36 states and projects in Chad, Dubai, Ireland, Bahamas, Afghanistan and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Carender has been on the forefront of internet access for all since 1995 when he helped found Huntington County Community Network in his hometown of Huntington.
Surf Internet has helped bring broadband connectivity to communities in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. It employs 200 people with offices in Elkhart and La Porte, and Byron Center and Fowlerville, Michigan, and Coal City and Rock Falls, Illinois.