Nine years ago, Mark Boxer was contacted by a former colleague who asked him, “How would you like to work as an engineer from a farm in rural eastern North Carolina?” With that move, Boxer became a living example of the benefits of a fiber network.
With soybeans in his front yard and remotely connected by fiber, Boxer is an applications engineering manager at OFS and the winner of the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) 2019 Photon Award. Recipients of this award are FBA members who, through volunteer contributions, have demonstrated a high level of dedication to the organization and contributed greatly to the industry.
Boxer has been a key member of the FBA Technology Committee for many years. He’s acted as an ambassador for the organization, and produced several white papers and reports for it.
“I’m really grateful to be part of the Fiber Broadband Association,” he said, “and I’m very grateful to receive this award.”
Coming out of college 30+ years ago, Boxer said he had a choice of working in several different fields. When he started in the fiber industry, fiber was seen as an “invisible” technology. He said he initially chose fiber over other career paths because it seemed like an avenue to do something that was going to shape the future. When he joined the FBA Technology Committee, he wanted to help promote what fiber could do.
“We are introducing fiber to a new audience.” Boxer said. “It’s very rewarding, both personally and professionally, to help tell the story of how fiber can benefit people.”
One of his favorite parts about the Fiber Broadband Association is meeting others in the industry and getting access to top educational and inspirational speakers. At this year’s Fiber Connect, he appreciated all the conversation surrounding fiber as a means of economic development.
Things that are top of mind of Boxer are the digital divide, bringing fiber to rural areas of the country, and developing technology-savvy rural communities that can take advantage of what fiber offers. Without fiber deployment, he said, locations around the world will increasingly lose opportunities they need to advance.
In addition to the rural focus, Boxer and the Technology Committee are focused on bringing fiber to multiple dwelling units (MDU) around the world. “There’s still a long way to go,” he said. “Every building that goes in around the world needs fiber—the cost is very little and the benefits are great.”
Boxer said he hopes to continue his volunteer work with the Fiber Broadband Association and promote the good fiber can do around the world. For Boxer, fiber is more than just a professional endeavor, it’s a personal one as well.
“I’ve been pleased to be part of the Fiber Broadband Association for a very long time,” he said. “I believe we’re making some meaningful contributions.”