Joseph Sawasky is currently the President and CEO of Merit Network, Inc., a non-profit corporation governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates the nation’s longest-running regional research and education network, having been formed in 1966 by the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for advanced networking, and it is currently considered a national leader in this area. In the late 1980s through the early 1990s, Merit operated the National Science Foundation Network, the precursor to the modern Internet. Today, Merit provides high-performance networking, cyber security solutions and community-building services to nearly 400 higher education, K-12, library, governmental, community and healthcare organizations, among others.
Mr. Sawasky and his team at Merit have launched a statewide broadband expansion program, called the “Michigan Moonshot”, and they are active at the state and national level to help close the digital divide.
From 2007-2015, Mr. Sawasky was the Chief Information Officer at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He and his IT organization transformed technology services for the campus – consolidating and modernizing IT, improving the student/faculty/staff experience, and developing award-winning technology innovations. During this time, he also served on the boards of Merit Network, the Detroit CIO Executive Summit, and Michigan Technology Leaders.
Mr. Sawasky also worked at the University of Toledo, his alma mater, for 22 years, and in his last position there, served as CIO, leading technology aspects of the unique merger of the University of Toledo, the Medical University of Ohio and its academic medical centers and clinics.
Mr. Sawasky resides in Charlevoix, Michigan with his wife, Janis, and is a lifelong resident of the state. He enjoys classic rock music, bicycling and boating.