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Albemarle County names Michael Culp director of new Broadband Accessibility & Affordability Office

michael culp
Michael Culp. Photo courtesy Albemarle County.

Albemarle County announced Friday the creation of the Broadband Accessibility & Affordability Office and the appointment of Michael Culp as its director.

“The pandemic has illuminated the critical role that quality internet access plays in our daily lives. Telework, virtual school, telehealth, even basic shopping needs rely on broadband infrastructure that for too many in our community is out of reach due to infrastructure gaps and financial constraints,” shared Ned Gallaway, chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. “The Broadband Accessibility & Affordability Office positions Albemarle County to have a robust broadband program that meets the full needs of the community.”

The mission of the BAAO is to extend affordable and reliable quality internet broadband services for every community member and business in Albemarle County. The day-to-day work will include managing community member needs, serving as chief administrator officer in support of the Albemarle Broadband Authority, developing and maintaining partnerships with key service providers and agencies, and supporting the needs of public safety communications in the County.

“After years of supporting the work of the Albemarle Broadband Authority while providing department leadership for the county’s IT needs, now is the right time to create an office dedicated to supporting the daily project management and programmatic broadband needs of our community. We are grateful that Mike Culp, a leader in the state in broadband, will continue to lead this effort in a more dedicated capacity through the creation of the office,” said Trevor Henry, assistant county executive.

Michael Culp has served as the director of information technology for Albemarle County for 18 years. During his tenure, Culp has overseen several major systems migrations, the transition from onsite servers to cloud-based storage, and the development of a robust cybersecurity program.

Under his leadership, Albemarle County has been awarded the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties’ Digital Counties Award 18 years in a row. Culp also serves as the chief administrative officer for the Albemarle Broadband Authority, forging public-private partnerships and developing competitive grant applications that have awarded approximately $3.5 million grant dollars, which have been leveraged with approximately $2.7 million in private dollars that have been invested in broadband infrastructure throughout Albemarle County.

“I am proud to continue to serve Albemarle County in this new role, with a focus on improving broadband access and affordability to meet the diverse needs of our community. It’s been my honor and joy to work with the professional IT staff of Albemarle County and I express my gratitude and appreciation for their exemplary efforts every day in support of staff and the community,” Culp said.

Jon Wells will serve as interim director of IT. Wells joined Albemarle County IT as one of its first employees in 1984, served as an assistant director for more than 20 years, and most recently has served as Deputy Director.

A formal recruitment process for the next director of IT and for the newly created broadband analyst position will begin this spring.

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