Reclaiming Sustainability One Drop at Time


Reclaimed water is always distributed in lavender (light purple) pipes to distinguish it from potable water. The turning of this valve represents several years of hard work and cooperation among a number of partners to complete this project.

Officials from multiple agencies came together yesterday morning to mark the completion of the first phase of the Jordan Lake Reclamation and Reuse Project, a project which provides reclaimed water from the Durham County Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant to existing water customers in Durham County, the Wake county portion of RTP, and western Cary.

Committed to innovation, cost conscientiousness and environmental stewardship, using reclaimed water, a valuable and highly treated resource produced from wastewater, lessens the amount of drinking water that ends up on lawns and landscaping, reduces the amount of nutrients discharged into Jordan Lake, and reduces the maximum daily demand from water treatment facilities.

The event, held at Delta Products in RTP, was emceed by the Research Triangle Foundation’s very own Bob Geolas, who remarked that this event marked one of the first steps in sustainability surrounding RTP’s Master Plan. Bob noted that in addition to the environmental benefits of using reclaimed water, “it saves our businesses money in their efforts to keep Research Triangle Park as beautiful and attractive as it’s always been.”

Officials turn the valve to celebrate the completion of Phase I of the Jordan Lake Reclamation and Reuse Project.

Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht; Congressman David Price; Betty Joe Shepheard for Senator Richard Burr; Mike Carson, Vice President of Sales Regional Manager for Delta Products Corporation; Glen Whisler, Durham County Engineer, Maggie Dennison for Congresswoman Renee Ellmers; and Wake County Commissioner Erv Portman all made comments regarding the importance and significance of the system.

Along with Delta Products, Biogen Idec, Cisco, NetApp, Credit Suisse will be some of the first users of the new system. Other users, both inside and outside of RTP will be added to the system. Continue reading

Give Back with Backpacks


It seems like summer has just barely begun, but in about a month, students across the Triangle and nation will be gearing up to head back into the classroom.  And that means over the next month, families will begin the annual ritual of “Back to School Shopping.”  Unfortunately, 1 in 5 children in the US live in poverty, and that means 16 million kids will go without basic school supplies.

Beginning Monday, July 16, and running through August 9, Community Outreach@rtp will be hosting its annual Back 2 School backpack and school supply drive to help provide essential school supplies to students in need in Durham and Wake counties.  RTP has partnered with Communities In Schools of Durham and Wake counties to help deliver as many completed backpacks as possible to area students.  This year, we are focusing our efforts on providing backpacks to middle and high school students, where the need is greatest.

How Can You Help?

There are a number of ways individuals working for companies in RTP can participate.

  1. Simply shop for a new backpack and/or any of the school supplies on this form and drop them off (with a completed donation form) Monday-Friday from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM at The Research Triangle Park Headquarters, 12 Davis Drive (directions). Or talk with your HR rep to learn if your company is collecting supplies on-site. Individual company collections dates may vary from those of the overall drive.
  2. Visit our wishlist to purchase items and have them sent directly to us. Be sure to include the name of your company in the gift note so we know which company you work for.
  3. Don’t have time to shop? Consider giving a tax-deductible donation (via check) with which the Research Triangle Foundation will purchase needed items on your behalf (monetary donations can only be accepted at The RTP Headquarters drop-off location). Cash donation form. If you prefer to mail your contribution, please send a check made payable to “Durham-Wake Counties Research and Production Service District at 12 Davis Drive, RTP, NC 27709. Please indicate if you would like to receive a receipt for tax deduction purposes.

Important Dates

  • July 16 | RTP Back-to-School Drive kicks off
  • August 3-5 | 2011 Tax-Free Weekend
  • August 9 | Back-to-School Drive ends

For more information about the RTP Back 2 School Drive, including downloadable promotional materials such as posters and bin signs, visit

And the RTP Corporate Challenge Has a Winner!

Teams gathers

Colorful teams gathered to learn the rules of the games.

Rising with the sun, 13 hopeful teams converged in RTP for the inaugural RTP Corporate Challenge this past Saturday. With representatives from a variety of companies of different sizes and ilk, teams were pitted against one another in six fun and competitive challenges, presented by TriSports Social Club and The Research Triangle Park.

Our team, the RTF Innovators, began our day with a round of elimination volleyball. Managing to win two of our five games, we moved on to a few quick rounds of cornhole, where I’d rather not mention our performance.

Darren Jousting

Darren of the RTF Innovators had the jousting technique down.

There was some down time before our next event, the joust, so like others, we managed to get in a little friendly smack talk with other teams, hoping we might be able to pull ahead with our sheer force of will and fearsome demeanor. Our very own IT Manager, Darren, managed to win our first jousting bout with some impressive balance, quick thinking, and sharp moves. Unfortunately, the rest of our jousters fell prey to some pretty great competitors.

The Redonk-u-lator obstacle course

Two team members race their way through the Redonk-u-lator obstacle course.

Following the joust, we refueled our bodies and prepared for the daunting obstacle course. The course itself comprised of a tire high step, foamy slip and slide, dizzy bat spin, a monstrous inflatable obstacle course, scuba slalom, a bouncy house ball hunt, an army crawl, and a super slide. None of us were prepared for how taxing the course would be, but we managed a great finish in our first run through the course, scoring one of the top times. Our second run through proved less stellar as one of our teammates went down with an injury. We rallied to her aide as best we could. With her out of the competition, our team was down to just seven members, and it just didn’t seem right to continue to challenge without her. In team solidarity, we decided to forfeit the rest of the competition.


Two teams vie to maintain their hold during the tug-o-war.

Even though we were out, the excitement continued for the other teams. There were two events left: kickball and tug-o-war. Had we been able to compete, I’m confident we would have been some serious competition for those other teams. We’ll just have to find out next year.

Final Team Rankings

The final team rankings from the inaugural RTP Corporate Challenge.

In the end, it was the GSK team that proved victorious, earning all the bragging rights for being the first winners of the RTP Corporate Challenge. They can proudly display the RTP Corporate Challenge trophy, a perpetual trophy that will forever have their name engraved at the top. Congratulations to GSK! With five 1st places wins out of six events, they surely deserved it this year. But will they be able to hold on to it next year?

For more information on the RTP Corporate Challenge and other RTP leagues, visit and

Danny Lefebvre with TriSports presents GSK with the RTP Corporate Challenge Perpetual Trophy.

And of course, congratulations to all the teams that participated in the inaugural Challenge. See you next year!









Bayer CropScience Shows Their Patriotic Side


The Gadsden flag on display at the State Capitol

For all you history buffs out there – you’re in good company with some of RTP’s finest. But who in RTP would you expect to be an avid collector of early American flags? The answer, as it turns out, is ag-bio giant Bayer CropScience.

Beyond its core mission of providing sustainable crop solutions from seed to harvest, Bayer has many initiatives that demonstrate its commitment to the community. This includes charitable endeavors, educational programs, and also less tangible community involvements – in this case, a collection of nine historical flags of the United States. Continue reading

Research Triangle Park is Alive with Wildlife


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

What Drives RTP Companies?


One of the greatest assets of RTP is its companies. With more than 170 of them employing more than 38,000 full-time workers, they range from the 1-2 person start-ups to campuses with thousands. They represent a vast array of cutting edge technology that works to resolve some of the world’s most pressing problems or to create the next best app/device/tool to increase productivity in a range of disciplines. In short, they all do pretty neat stuff.

Recently, as I was trying to get a sense of industry trends and issues most critical to our companies,

I found blogs by the leaders of two of RTP’s
I’ll be on the look out for other examples, but in the meantime, here is a glimpse of what GSK and  Cisco see on the horizon:companies that give a sense of the challenges facing their companies and their ideas to address them.

  • GSK’s Triple Solution: The first is a blog that Deidre Connelly, GSK’s President, Pharmaceuticals NA posted for the British American Business Council. Within the blog, she notes  GSK’s approach to prevention, intervention and innovation to help the people of the world “do more, feel better, and live longer.” She references an article by GSK CEO Andrew Witty in which he discusses how the company — and entire industry — must better “harness intellectual diversity and unleash creativity” to develop drugs more efficiently but also its need to apply that ability to innovate to reconsider its business model.
  • Using the Network to Drive Innovation: In this blog post/video, Cisco CEO, John Chambers suggests that mobility and connectivity will push content and drive innovation. He also notes the importance of bringing together diverse groups to tackle today’s and future problems. Nothing how smart networks have fundamentally changed the way people live — not only how we work and play, but how we address issues like healthcare and how we collaborate to innovate and discover more. He notes how innovation must be enabled by technology and operational excellence if it is to be effective.

Medicago breaks ground in RTP


Medicago, a Canadian biotechnology firm focused on highly effective and affordable vaccines, broke ground on their commercial grade vaccine facility in RTP this morning. The groundbreaking ceremony officially commenced the company’s construction of  a cGMP facility in RTP that will include a 60,000 SF fully automated greenhouse.

A number of business and political leaders spoke during the event including Andy Sheldon – President and CEO of Medicago, former NC Governor Jim Hunt, Senator Kay Hagan, and Congressman David Price.

“Thanks to the efforts and experience of our partners Alexandria Real Estate Equities and BE&K Building Group as well as our employees at Medicago, we are confident that this fast-track project will be delivered on time,” said Andy Sheldon, President and CEO of Medicago. “North Carolina and RTP is a great place to build our business due to the excellent workforce, training programs and quality of life.”

Medicago plans to initially hire 85 employees in their 90,000 square foot RTP facility. The project is a $42 million collaboration between Medicago ($7.5 million), DARPA ($21 million) and $13.5 million from Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., a California-based real estate investment trust focused on the life sciences.

The RTP location will be the Quebec, Canada-based company’s U.S. headquarters. The tobacco plants, which are Australian, will be grown in greenhouses, although Medicago has not ruled out the possibility of using native plants in the future.

“We are very pleased to be working with Alexandria Real Estate Equities and with Medicago who is bringing this unique, rapid and cost-effective vaccine technology to North Carolina and to The Research Triangle Park,” stated Joseph M. Raimondi, Project Executive of BE&K Building Group.

–> Watch the speeches by Medicago CEO Andy Shelton, NC Senator Kay Hagan, NC Representative David Price, and more on the RTP YouTube channel!

About Medicago

Medicago is committed to providing highly effective and affordable vaccines based on proprietary Virus-Like Particle (VLP) and manufacturing technologies. Medicago is developing VLP vaccines to protect against pandemic and seasonal influenza using a transient expression system which produces recombinant vaccine antigens in non-transgenic plants. Their lead vaccine candidate, H5N1, has successfully completed a PI clinical trial and will be entering a PII clinical trial in 2010. Medicago’s technology has potential to offer advantages of speed and cost over competitive technologies. It could deliver a vaccine for testing in about a month after the identification and reception of genetic sequences from a pandemic strain. This production time frame has the potential to allow vaccination of the population before the first wave of a pandemic strikes and to supply large volumes of vaccine antigens to the world market.

Genetically Improved Loblolly Tops Biotech Center Addition


It’s not the tallest, but it may be the highest outdoor pine tree in the Research Triangle area this holiday season–and highly symbolic to boot.

The tree is a five-foot loblolly pine grown by North Carolina State University specialists as part of a massive genetic improvement project.

This research tree was an ideal specimen to hoist the four stories into the sky and fasten to a steel beam in a traditional “topping out” ceremony for a $10.4 million addition to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center building.

Biotech CTR tree DSC_5349

Biotechnology is the use of living cells and their molecules to solve problems and make useful products. And the loblolly pines being grown and tested at N.C. State incorporate technologies that can help scientists detect and select specimens with beneficial genetic characteristics such as disease resistance.

An ironworker from Roanoke Valley Steel, the Halifax County company that supplied the beams for the project, fastened the tree to the structure. Typical of such events, the tree is likely to remain in place for several weeks until roofers remove it.

The general contractor, Skanska, expects to employ as many as 200 people on the 20,000-square-foot addition, to be completed in the fall of 2010.

View a real-time video of the construction

-Compliments of the NC Biotechnology Center-

Risk Management Firm IEM Picks RTP For HQ Location


IEM, an international risk management consulting firm based in Louisiana, is moving its headquarters to RTP, creating 430 jobs, announced Monday at the Research Triangle Foundation.

IEM could receive as much as $9 million in rebates from withholding taxes paid for employees as part of a Job Development Investment Grant from the state. North Carolina also awarded IEM a $150,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

IEM is privately held, having launched in 1985. It is currently based in Baton Rouge, La.

The jobs in RTP will be typical of the high-quality technology-related employment harnessed in the region. The average wages announced are $62,778, plus benefits.

IEM clients include the Pentagon, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“IEM has rightly recognized the unique benefits of being a Research Triangle-based business, and the people of Durham County will receive a tremendous boost from 400 new, well-paying jobs,” 4th District Congressman David Price said in a statement at the RTP Headquarters this morning.

-Posted by Cara Rousseau-