Research Triangle Park is Alive with Wildlife

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Research Triangle Park is home to over 38,000 full-time employees in over 170 diverse companies.  Most people are aware of its regional importance for research and development and its importance to North Carolina.  One thing people may not be as aware of is the flourishing wildlife within the Park.  In addition to the 38,000 employees, hundreds of plants and animals call the 7,000 acre campus home and coexist within RTP.

Male Bluebird in RTP

Male Bluebird in RTP

The Research Triangle Park is home to over 40 bluebird boxes, 8 duck boxes, 4 bat boxes, 2 purple martin houses, and this does not include the various boxes other companies have on their private campuses.  The boxes can be found all over the park off pedestrian trails we they are easily accessible. These houses provide homes for the unique and important species within the Park.  The wildlife box program has been active within the Park since 2005 and has helped shelter hundreds of birds and mammals since then.  Other than the wildlife box program there is also a butterfly garden within the Park at the RTP headquarters, a tree ID trail off of Davis drive, and an ongoing Park wildlife inventory.

Male and Female Bluebird

Male and Female Bluebird

The main emphasis throughout the wildlife programs at this time of year is on wildlife boxes, notably the bluebird boxes.  Currently there are 40 bluebird boxes throughout the Park which are all available for adoption by RTP employees.  Employees adopt a Bluebird box (es) and monitor the boxes over the breeding season, from late March to August.  All of the data collected on nesting and reproductive habits is then collected and sent to NestWatch through Cornell University.  Cornell uses this data to look at reproductive success and species movement and work to develop better wildlife management for the birds.

Eastern bluebirds experienced a sharp decline in populations from the 1920s to 1970s due to pesticides and other manmade disturbances.  Since then bluebird box programs across the nation have worked amazingly well to bring back populations.  The story of the bluebird’s re-establishment is such an interesting success story, not only for the bird’s recovery, but also for the fact that it was primarily citizens who have worked to bring the birds back and not a specific agency or organization. Continue reading

Durham and Wake Technical Community Colleges Play a Vital Role in Workforce Development

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Visionary leaders, from government, the private sector, and academia–came together to establish the Research Triangle Park did so because they recognized the Triangle’s major assets:  world-class educational institutions that could produce the ideas and innovations that would fuel the economy, as well as talent with the skills and work ethic needed to bring such ideas to scale.

Our four-year colleges and universities have been visible catalysts of North Carolina’s economic transformation.  For more than 50 years, North Carolina has offered no-cost, company-specific training to eligible companies in our state and was one of the first in the nation to offer what has become an important economic development tool. (Learn more about NC Community Colleges)

  • Through NC’s industrial training program businesses can coordinate with area Community Colleges to arrange worker training before a new facility is complete. The state, which pays the full cost of this program with no federal funding and at no cost to the employer, has helped more than 1,800 businesses develop customized training programs during the past 20 years.
  • The NC Community College System consists of 58 campuses across the state that offers more than 280 programs to train workers for technical occupations. Continue reading

AG-Tech Landscape Grows in RTP

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Agriculture is big business in North Carolina, bringing in $70.1 billion to the state annually – that’s 18% of N.C.’s income.  More than 4,000 North Carolinians work in over 70 ag-tech companies, which include RTP-based BASF Group, Bayer CropScience, Monsanto Company, and Syngenta. And soon, the landscape will grow with the exciting announcements made this week!

With the N.C. Biotechnology Center as its backdrop, a non-profit organization working to strengthen biotech initiatives in the state, two major announcements were made:

Alexandria AG-Tech Center

Announced Tuesday, the Alexandria AG-Tech Center is a $13.5 million, 50,000-square-foot agricultural research center near the Research Triangle Park that would include 18,000 square feet of greenhouse space.

The center will provide individual greenhouse modules and support areas along with shared amenities, according to Alexandria. Each greenhouse will have separate environmental controls, planting and support spaces. Completion is expected Summer 2012. Continue reading

RTP featured on CNBC Squawk Box

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Rick Weddle featured on CNBC Squawkbox

What a great morning. Usually I’m running on a treadmill watching Carl Quintanilla on CNBC’s Squawk Box. But this morning, I joined our President and CEO, Rick Weddle at the studio for a live interview with Carl.

As part of this week’s Opportunity USA series, Rick was invited to speak to the current state of the NC economy, job growth and prospects, and how the RTP play a role in driving the region/state’s economic growth.

“I can’t think of too many people who have a better view about where innovation and R&D is headed in this country,” said Carl upon introducing Rick.

With RTP as the region’s connective tissue in bringing together world-class businesses, academia, public agencies and a skilled and diverse talent pool, Rick expanded on the following key areas to cultivate growth:

  • Pursue start-up activity to cultivate job growth. “”…driven by how fast we can fund and commercialize IP out of our universities & larger companies.”
  • Re-examine our assumptions on manufacturing and R&D as it relates to globalization. “…RTP and economic developers across the country are seeing a push to get R&D closer to production. Companies have been moving their major investments where the growth markets are and we must intervene in the process and hang on to the high-end manufacturing that we have, if we’re going to keep the R&D.”
  • Education is the most important thing for high-end economic development. “…we must also look at education from a workforce preparedness lens.”

Great interview Rick. And thanks CNBC for the opportunity to showcase RTP and the Research Triangle Region as a great place to do business.

View the segment with Rick Weddle on CNBC Squawkbox >>

NC Ranks 3rd for Best State for Business and Careers

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North Carolina is a great place to do business. Today, Forbes magazine ranked NC as the third best state for business in America, moving up from the number five spot last year.

The Federal Bureau of Labor and statistics show North Carolina is the third best state for declining unemployment and 4th in the nation for job creation with nearly 37-thousands jobs created in the last year.

Forbes listed North Carolina as:

• No. 3 in business costs

• No. 15 in labor supply

• No. 3 for regulatory climate

• No. 18 for economic climate

• No. 9 for growth prospects

• No. 32 for quality of life

“This shows that the hard work of the past year has paid off – our investments in education to build the workforce of tomorrow, policies that create a more business-friendly climate and our aggressive recruiting,” said Gov. Bev Perdue in a statement. “When I took office, I pledged to take any meeting and make any call to bring jobs to this state. There’s nothing I love more than convincing a corporate executive of what a great place this is to live and work.”