Mike MurphyDirector, State Parks and Recreation

Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy has served as director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation since July 2014. As director, Murphy has spearheaded the state parks system’s 100th anniversary celebration and helped secure major land acquisitions at Hammocks Beach State Park and several other parks across the state. During his tenure, voters also approved $75 million for projects in state parks as part of the Connect NC Bond initiative. The North Carolina State Parks system, which includes 79 units encompassing 230,000 acres, attracted nearly 19 million visitors in 2016.

Murphy’s remarkably diverse career has included investment banking, non-profits, education and military service. He was formerly managing director and president of Trident Financial Corp. of Raleigh, a specialty investment banking and financial advisory. During his 15 years at Trident, Murphy led hundreds of major financial transactions, including mergers, public offerings and recapitalizations. He retired from Trident in 1999 when the company was sold.

Subsequently, Murphy turned his focus to community service and education. He was a longtime director and chair of MCNC, a Triangle-based technology non-profit that builds, owns and operates leading-edge broadband infrastructure for North Carolina’s research, education, non-profit healthcare, and other community institutions. For his service as chair of MCNC, he was presented the Old North State Award.

Murphy also has served as a director of NC IDEA, a non-profit firm whose mission is to foster economic development in North Carolina by helping young startup businesses commercialize their innovations, and as a member of the North Carolina JOBS (Joining Our Business and Schools) Commission.  He served as a director and then President of the Friends of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences from 2005 until 2015. Prior to coming to State Parks, he was an astronomy and physics instructor at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh. While at Ravenscroft, he was selected by NASA to conduct primary research using data from infrared space telescopes to investigate a cluster of stars undergoing formation.

He currently serves as a director of the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in Rosman, NC.

A California native, Murphy earned his BA degree in environmental science from the University of Virginia. The son of a U.S. Navy officer, Murphy served six years in the Navy and rose to the rank of lieutenant. He holds an MBA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Fellow. He also earned a MA degree with an emphasis in management from Webster University and a MS degree in astronomy from Swinburne University of Technology.