The Triangle Comes Together For A Day of Service


September 11th is National Day of Service around the country, established in 2009 by Congress. This is a day that Americans come together to participate in different service projects and charitable activities across the country.

Here in the Triangle there will be some great events going on to help the surrounding the community. One that we here at the Research Triangle Foundation are very excited about, and directly supporting is Sort-A-Rama.

Sort-A-Rama is a large-scale food sorting event that will be held in The Jim Graham Building, at the N.C. State Fairgrounds (1025 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh, NC 27607). The event takes place from 8 am until noon September 11th and brings together hundreds of employees from local companies to help sort food which has been purchased through fundraising for families throughout the community. The majority of Research Triangle Foundation staff will be participating in the event along with others from triangle companies.

For more information, please contact Linda Fisher, Special Events & Food Drive Manager,
Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina: or 919.865.3053

NetApp Puts the Corporate Spotlight on Community


NetApp, a computer storage and data management company located in the Research Triangle Park, has always been very supportive and involved in community efforts.

This month, however, we were amazed by their generosity.  We have been running our annual “Back 2 School Drive,” a book/school supply drive to raise materials for students in need in both Wake and Durham counties.  The fundraiser works with companies throughout the park to collect school supplies for at-risk kids.   And while we are often impressed by the generosity and incredible giving nature of RTP companies, this month, NetApp took the cake (or, the pie…) with six palettes worth of school supply donations.

NetApp’s twist on our annual drive included a “Pies for Pencils” fundraiser, where volunteers agree to be “pied” up on stage in 15 minute intervals in exchange for donating $/pie towards school supplies. (Note, these are just shaving cream pies, no real pies were harmed during the event.) This year also as an added incentive, employees could pay extra for $20/pie to pie senior leaders. All of the money raised from the pies went towards the donations for the” Back 2 School Drive.” This year just under $6,000 was raised to help kids. Next they worked with local retailers to get supplies during tax-free weekend and put together over 270 backpacks filled with supplies for local students in need.

Though this isn’t the first year NetApp went through these efforts, it still is amazing to see how a company and its employees can come together in such a huge way for the community.

Just imagine if all the companies in RTP came together in an effort like this; picture all of the wonderful things we could do.

If you or your company is ever interested in being more involved in community events like this, please reach out to us and contact Director of RTP Programs, Lisa Jemison,

Note: While the “Back 2 School Drive” has officially ended but you can still donate materials/donations through our Amazon page here:

Follow-up: All in all, 600 stocked backpacks (150 more than last year!) were created by RTP companies with an estimated value of approximately $15,000. School supply donations came in from our Community Outreach @RTP Committee Members and their companies, including:

Fidelity Investments

In addition to the stuffed backpacks, an additional 100 lbs. of school supplies were donated to Communities in Schools of Durham and Wake Counties for inner city middle and high school classrooms.



Have you heard? The Research Triangle Park is building, growing, and changing – and we need your input. I’ll be updating this blog throughout the 2-day summit with highlights, comments, and feedback. Stay tuned…

8:00am – RTP CEOs
Twenty executives from RTP’s 7,000 acres joined us to discuss the future of the Park. Briefly, this is what I heard:

  • RTP isn’t stale. We still have a major international brand that people recognize and want to imitate; however, we need to keep pushing the envelope.
  • RDU International Airport is a huge asset we have. How can RTP help to bridge the connectivity gap? Is it a shuttle, rail, or Zipcars? Getting to the area is easy, but RTP should find ways, now, to make it easier to get to and from the airport that’s mere miles away.
  • Many companies are already reconfiguring their spaces to compliment the changing desires of today’s workers. Workspace that encourages collaboration is key. Attendees stressed that there be multiple spaces throughout RTP that encourage this, whether it be on, or off, campus.
  • We need to be loud about our achievements. There are many, and we’ve got to continue to tell our stories. The innovations that happen here have to be touted not just regionally, but globally.
  • Community building must start now. The CEOs said that the RTF has been doing a much better job of this, and that we need to continue building upon this success.

10:00am-11:30am – Gov & Econ Dev Officials
Leaders from our government and economic development organizations joined us to discuss the future of the Park.

  • Wendy Jacobs: How will we engage youth within this vision? Starting with middle and high school students. Is this internships, apprentice ships, how can we engage our youth?
  • Bob: If ARCHIE is developed and we had all these great programs, what if we had an ARCHIE fellows program? Could start with camps, or maybe as someone gets ready to move from  high school or college they could become an ARCHIE fellow and locate here at RTP. They come and they live here at the park and take classes virtually. Their responsibility is to share back to their home county. Share the thoughts and ideas and provide linkage to RTP. I think whatever that may be: the idea to connect young innovative thinkers is great.
  • Steve Row – When you talk about innovators and entrepreneurs you’re talking about something similar to Durham, but this could be a centralized location. They don’t have as much mentorship or capital here as they would in the bay area.
  • Bob – Where they go after getting up and running is the hard part.
  • Steve – There’s been a lot of debate about where entrepreneurs come from, and there are many global people right her ein the park. .how do we make ourselves open to that.
  • Bob – People in China are providing space for free. We’re not going to do that, and we don’t need to. We should be able to have space at the lowest, or zero cost, to bring the innovators here to get them  up and running and help them spin out – regionally, statewide.
  • Steve – Theory that most competitive regions are global. Thank you for trying to create this.
  • Ellen Reckhow – I love the vision. How tied is this to transit? Millenials don’t like to drive as much as their parents do. How do we initiate this? I love that you’re talking about layering in 1,000’s of additional jobs, but the roads might not support them.
  • Bob – There are political challenges and we know this. Everyone is saying they want to see a regional transit system move forward. If our park companies want this, we have to make it happen. The first (redevelopment) site was chosen because it’s right by a transit station but once they get to the park we have to make sure there’s a system for people to get around. We have to look at every mode of transportation possible to move people around. We could be a great laboratory or test site for all kinds of transportation, and we need to push it. We know that it’s going to be a while before we get it out here. Our Park company CEOs gave us ideas this morning of how we could build this starting now; how do we link to areas outside of the red line of RTP?
  • Kevin Dick – While we don’t need to replicate what they’ve done, we do need to compete with them in some way or fashion. The climate and infrastructure in order to create that you’ve mentioned, but do you have any specific initiatives that you think will get this region more on a plane with some of our competitors?
  • Bob: Focus on what makes your place special. The Park needs to do that. We’re still figuring out what that is for us. The architects and designers told us that we need focus on the entire park, and ways how you can bring in services to the whole park. Don’t try to recreate something too dense and urban that you overlook what you are – a park. We have to create special places. The specifics still have to tie in to collaboration, accessibility and affordability.
  • Phail Wynn – One of the key ingredients will be having a sufficient amount of venture capital. What are your thoughts about how we can track this?
  • Bob: We’ve been talking about this, and I think we keep making progress. At Stanford and Boston they said one thing you can do is creating an open space to build and provide for free for the VCs to open a shop. I think we’re going to have to try any and everything. We’ve also got to try to create our own.
  • Phail Wynn–  If we incubate the right big ideas, that may in fact entice them to visit and see what’s taking place. We need to focus on the programmatic aspect of a global convergence center.
  • Bob – You create a space to let these ideas and innovations flourish. Something we heard from the CEOs is that there are a lot more regional stories that we’ve got to tell. We have to keep supporting this.
  • Deborah – You spoke about this being a park for all of NC. You’ve got this park and this pace but what are you doing on the weekend?
  • Bob – You would have people living here on the weekends.
  • Deborah – but what about people that don’t?
  • Bob – Part of it is having something special to see, but we’re learning about the investments we’re going to have to make in programming. AU has done a great job of programming that space, and it’s why you want to go there and engage. Our business model needs to factor in speaker series, family events, we need to bring visual and physical arts into the park to make this connection to the humanities. The showcasing of tech could be in or outside of buildings, that would get you excited about the prospects of the future.
  • Deborah – And the kind of park spaces.
  • Jean Davis – I’ve been thinking about the global connections to the park, and we’ve got a large focus on small business and maintaining our existing businesses. What are the projects that NC or the universities have a strength in? I think a thought out set, or portfolio, of clusters or ideas would be very helpful.
  • Derek Chen – Went to an innovation park in Turin, Italy. Have reconfigured car factories. Can we talk about culture? RTP Has a culture/Durham  has a culture. Are we taking aspects from around? Or are we highlighting our own?
  • Bob: That’s why we ask. Culture grows organically. I think we need to listen and be responsive to the public needs. For the next 48 hours we’re going to have 100s of people listening and talking. Those pieces will begin to shape what the culture is.
  • Mayor Bell – A lot of this is all about the money, but we talk about trying to find space for innovators. But we should do this for the VCs. If you’re looking for the money, let them be a part of it all.
  • Barbara Entwisle – We think that there is a great need for people to literally come together for a time. Part of what we need is teams that bring together groups of people to address challenges together. It took us a while to even get a common vocabulary. This takes time, and you have to address these issues, and build from sometimes odd foundations.
  • Randy Hitchings – I love your vision for the Research Triangle Park as a way of creating pathways to prosperity.  I think there’s many ways for us to grow together. We’d love to have and engage with you more in the months and years ahead. Project ARCHIE: we have a great opportunity to visually show these pathways to prosperity within ARCHIE.
  • Ellen – A secret weapon on Silicon Valley is that Stanford uses it as a learning lab for those companies. Have the universities thought about ways to regularly connect their students to work on projects with companies within the Park?
  • Jim See-doe: We do have programs where w try to make inroads with companies in the area and beyond. There are also several courses that are mostly in the business school where students in the courses link up with startup companies and help them develop. Those programs exist and I think we’ll continue to see more of those over time.
  • Mayor Bell – I just hope we keep NCCU and other universities within the area.
  • Bob – Our goal is to look at where we build relationships with public and private institutions. We look forward to building relationships with Central, and much of their research is compelling to companies here. What we want to create is a greater connectivity to all educational outlets. What would you put in ARCHIE to help you do what you do?
  • Mark – Less about what you put in, and more about the fact that you have the assets to deploy to convene. Collaboration only occurs when theirs adequate capacity for it to occur. That space simply becomes a spot where you bring various players together, make something, happen, move on and repeat. The real thing that makes the synergy happen is because of the collaboration of a variety of different things.
  • Morrisville -Having an innovation center that would enable venture capitalist to come in have space and get ideas from ‘treps and innovators. We often look at this as a way to create jobs, but we don’t look at it as how can these same groups can solve problems for the government. Recently I’ve seen an increase in open data initiatives. The challenges I how do you aggregate all of that into one central place within our state.



Boy Scouts Beautify RTP Wildlife Boxes


It is no secret that Research Triangle Park puts a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability. Many people, however, are unaware of the physical efforts that the park puts forth for this.  Did you know that within RTP there are over 40 bluebird boxes, multiple wood duck boxes, bat boxes, and even purple martin houses? Well, there are, and they recently got a facelift.

Thanks to a local Boy Scout chapter, RTP’s wildlife boxes, notably the Wood Duck boxes got some much needed TLC.  The boxes which were installed in 2005 have undergone some wear and tear over the years, normal breakdown which you can associate with North Carolina weather conditions. In efforts to make sure that we have the most welcoming of wildlife boxes, in conjunction with the Boy Scouts we repaired, adjusted, and beautified multiple boxes in the lower portion of the park. Aesthetics were not the only concern though; predation can be a threat to both bluebirds and wood ducks. To help protect the boxes from intruders we installed baffles and hole protectors, which prevent unwanted visitors from joining for dinner.


The project served as an Eagle Scout project for a local boy scout and was a great opportunity to collaborate with the community and benefit wildlife all at once. A group of scouts and chaperones completed the project over a Saturday afternoon and were done in a few hours. Thanks to their effort these boxes will be able to stand up to the elements for at least another 8 years.  If you find yourself walking around the RTP trail system, make sure to admire these wonderful boxes, and hopefully the creatures that call them home.


Food Truck Rodeo: Bike To Work Month Edition


May’s food truck rodeo has a special perk for those who cycle to lunch. As part of Bike to Work Month, cyclers that are spotted cruising  into the rodeo on two wheels will get special prizes, courtesy of  SmartCommute@rtp!

The following trucks are lined up to serve you goodness:

Pie Pushers
Twitter: @PiePushers

Only Burger
Twitter: @OnlyBurger

Chirba Chirba
Twitter: @ChribaChirba

Chick N Que
Twitter: @Chick_N_Que

the Parlour
Twitter: @parlourdurham

Sweet Traditions by LeAne
Twitter: @traditionssweet

Fahsyrah’s Lemonade
Twitter: @fahsyrahlemon

In the spirit of Bike to Work Month, throw on your spandex and don your helmet rather than riding in a car. If you must drive, please carpool! We’ll see you there!

Never been to a RTP Food Truck Rodeo? Check out this video from our April event!

The RTP Food Truck Rodeo is brought to you by the Research Triangle Foundation and is sponsored by RTP Company, Fidelity Investments.

Spring Into April’s Food Truck Rodeo


The sun is shining and the birds are chirping, and hopefully your allergies aren’t acting up because it’s time for the April’s Food Truck Rodeo! Join us on what we hope will be a beautiful day for some of your favorite trucks from across the Triangle at RTP HQ!

The Deets:

When: Thursday, April 18th, 11:30am – 1:30pm
Where: RTP HQ, 12 Davis Drive
Who: You, your friends, and beautiful weather, and these trucks:

Pie Pushers
Twitter: @PiePushers

Only Burger
Twitter: @OnlyBurger

Chirba Chirba Dumplings
Twitter: @ChirbaChirba

The Parlour
Twitter: @parlourdurham

Monuts Dounuts
Twitter: @monutsdonuts

Greek Gussys
Twitter: @GreekGussys

Fahsyrah’s Lemonade

Please remember that parking is limited here at RTP HQ and we encourage you to carpool, ride a bike, or jog over to the rodeo!

The RTP Food Truck Rodeo is brought to you by the Research Triangle Foundation and sponsored by RTP company Fidelity.

We’ve Got What You’re Craving: The March RTP Food Truck Rodeo


It seems like just yesterday that we had our last mini food truck rodeo, but there’s another one just around the corner!  Emerging from winter hibernation is an old favorite, The Parlour (I’m a fan of the salted butter caramel), and they will be joined by Pie PushersChirba Chirba, Only Burger, The Humble Pig, and Sweet Stacey Cakes.

RTP Food Truck Rodeo

Here are the details you’re craving.

When: Thursday, March 7th, 11:30am to 1:30pm
Where: RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Dr.
Who: YOU + the following trucks

Parking is limited so consider carpooling, biking, walking, or other creative form of transportation. 

The RTP Food Truck Rodeo is brought to you by the Research Triangle Foundation and sponsored by Fidelity.

Nothing Says Love Like Food from a Truck


RTP Food Truck Rodeo

Don’t have plans for Valentine’s Day yet?  Well, join us for our next RTP food truck rodeo:

Thursday, February 14th, 11:30am – 1:30pm, at RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Drive, brought to you by Research Triangle Park and sponsored by Fidelity Investments.

Whatever your deal, we’ve got your angle covered:

Make it a Date
What a great way to enjoy a lunch time date with that special someone in your life.  We’ll have tables both inside and out.  If the weather’s nice, bring a blanket and have a romantic picnic, food truck style.

Find a Date
Still looking for that special someone? What a great opportunity to find yourself a date for the evening. Make use of the time you spend waiting in line and chat, flirt, and mingle!

Be Bitter
Angry at the world for creating a holiday to rub your singledom in your face?  What better way to soothe your rage than with the delicious comfort foods our trucks have to offer?  And you don’t even have to share.

Take a Picture with a Cow
(You weren’t expecting that one, were you?) Visit the RTP Headquarters lobby and meet the newest member of our team, Bessie, the Binary Bovine.  Take a picture with her.  Scan her QR code.  Instagram the two of you together (and tag it #BinaryBessie).

Just Eat
No problem.  Here’s the list of the trucks that will be joining us:

As always, parking is limited, so get creative with your transportation. Carpool, rollerblade or skip on down to the RTP HQ!

Leadership Lessons Learned


“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

                                                          John F. Kennedy

In this changing economic business environment it is more important than ever for companies to optimize their resources and operate more efficiently.  Nurturing and training good leaders to manage and protect your brand is crucial.  This was the focus last Thursday at the Archie K. Davis Conference Center located in the RTP Headquarters.   Led by renowned training expert, Dr. Bauback Yeganeh, RTP company managers learned how to hone their leadership skills in the first of three events focused on leadership.

The first session – Intentional Leadership – examined practices and routines that may have worked well in the past but need to be reviewed and updated to reach new personal and professional goals.  “Being aware of accumulated work routines and how they may help and/or hinder performance is the first step to practicing specific mind-management techniques that enable us to be intentional in the actions that impact our organizations and lives,” stated Dr. Yeganeh.

There was plenty of lively discussion and group interaction as participants explored ways of utilizing different leadership tools in addressing their own personal business challenges, replacing “automatic” thoughts and reactions with behaviors that would more positively enable their desired outcome.  Participants were also given “Intentional Leader Practices” to assist in mindfully developing productive reactions and outcomes based on different result scenarios.

There are two more sessions planned in this series:

  • Intelligent Communication – February 28th
  • Developing Others at Work – March 28th

Both sessions are offered at no charge to RTP employees by the Research Triangle Foundation through the Archie K. Davis Conference Center located in the RTP Headquarters at 12 Davis Drive, from 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm with a reception following.

Space is limited.  This offer is only available to RTP employees, verified with a RTP email address.

Click Here to Register

Inspiring North Carolina, One Connection at a Time


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.