Inspiring North Carolina, One Connection at a Time

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Last fall, members of the Research Triangle Foundation went on the road across North Carolina. We went to see what is happening outside our region. We hoped to hear how RTP could help all North Carolina.

We called our tour “Pathways to Opportunity.” And we discovered many paths that North Carolina can take to a strong economic future.

In 2013, RTP will build on our tour. We will take on new roles as a convener, catalyst and connector.

At all 22 tour stops, we saw North Carolinians doing amazing things.

• N.C. A&T University, UNC-Greensboro, Action Greensboro, Guilford County and business leaders are banding together to promote innovation and industrial growth.

• Mother Earth Brewing is investing more than $2 million into reviving downtown Kinston. The company is buying old buildings and turning them into attractive, authentic showcases.

• The Manufacturing Solutions Center at Catawba Valley Community College solves production problems for local industries and comes up with new products and processes.

• Students who get associate engineering degrees at Nash Community College are automatically accepted into the College of Engineering at N.C. State University.

At every inspiring stop, we told people that RTP’s mission is not just to develop our 7,000 acres, but also to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians. We asked how we can help.

In Elizabeth City, one person said, “The 21st century economy is new to many communities. We cannot even begin to compete in a world we don’t understand.”

RTP can be North Carolina’s connection to that world.

As a convener, we can bring together people from across the state and from business, education and government. We can host forums and town halls that foster collaboration. We can be a partner to communities across the state.

As a connector, we can help communities tell their stories to a global audience. We can build the North Carolina brand. We can help people across the state identify trends, challenges and opportunities.

As a catalyst, we can promote corridors of  innovation across North Carolina. We can create a critical density of  companies, academic institutions and talent. We can provide a physical space that is a vital, creative source of innovation.

Most of all, we can engage all North Carolinians in the cause of better education.

One of the speakers who moved me most was Cameron Carswell, a student at Appalachian State University. Cameron, who is president of the UNC system’s Association of Student Governments, reminded us of the power that an excellent education has to transform lives.

And I’m not talking about just science, technology, engineering and math education.

At several stops on our tour, I held up an iPhone, that ubiquitous modern tool that has transformed our lives and our economy. Yes, I said, designing the iPhone required scientists and engineers. But it also required people with liberal arts degrees to produce content. It required artists to produce designs, pictures and videos. It required people who understand other lands, languages and cultures.

We live in a smart world, and there is a premium for smart people. RTP is dedicated to helping North Carolina be even smarter.

Envisioning RTP for Future Generations

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A guest blog post by Bob Geolas, the new President & CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation

The Research Triangle Park in 1959

Growing up in North Carolina, I have always believed that our state was special, capable of achieving “big things” and destined to play a leading role on the global stage. It does not matter whether you were born and raised in North Carolina or moved here from somewhere else, we all seem to share this confidence in our state.

To me, this comes from our great Research Triangle Park and its history. A bold, even risky, proposition fifty years ago, North Carolina announced its intentions to build a cutting-edge research park in a scrub-pine forest in a state that ranked 49 out of 50. Despite all the challenges, it worked.

Today, RTP stands as a global brand, an innovation hot spot and economic engine for our country. Now, it is time for us to think big again for RTP and North Carolina. Throughout this year, we will begin launching a new development plan.

A vision for the Research Triangle Park of the future

This plan will embrace four principles:

  • RTP should be highly collaborative – a place that brings people together in new dense, urban centers with amenities and services.
  • RTP should be authentic to North Carolina -  representing modern design and quality work and living spaces.
  • RTP should be inspiring - representing the excitement of the future in science, technology, arts and humanities.
  • RTP should be accessible – affordable to new technology companies and those looking to grow and expand.

This will be an exciting time for our great Research Triangle Park and I am honored to represent such a special place. I hope you will join us as we begin to launch our next fifty years and the continued promise that is our destiny.

New CEO for RTP

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We are excited to announce that the Board of Directors of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina has named Robert “Bob” Geolas as its President & CEO.

Bob comes to us from Clemson University where he was Executive Director for CU-ICAR (Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research) and Associate Vice President for Economic Development.

The staff had a great opportunity to meet Bob this morning while he was in town for a quick visit. It also gave us an opportunity to introduce ourselves and prepare him for the joys of working at RTF – namely the inevitable “RTF 15″ due to the insane amount of baked goods, candy, and leftovers in general that are constantly in our office.  (On a side note, he told us that his wife commented that she’s excited that blue & red ties are more flattering for his coloring than orange ties). Once he’s settled into the area full-time, we are looking forward to introducing Bob to the RTP community.  

In the short time that Bob had to make an impression on the staff, it’s quite clear that our Board has chosen not only a great leader, but also someone who is incredibly passionate about the Research Triangle Park and this region as a whole.  As an NC State graduate, he already understands the pulse of the Triangle Region and will be able to jump in without skipping a beat to make things happen.  That’s very exciting for us, especially at this critical juncture with the Master Plan that we’ve spent the past year working on.

We at the Foundation are excited to have a new CEO on board, and one that clearly has the skills and qualities needed to move RTP forward in its planning for the next 50 years.

For more information and the press release, read here: http://rtp.org/about-rtp/news-events/global-search-draws-experienced-leader-new-head-rtp