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Research Triangle Park News

Global Search Draws Experienced Leader as New Head of RTP

11/9/2011

PRESS RELEASE DISTRIBUTED BY THE RESEARCH TRIANGLE FOUNDATION - November 9, 2011

The Board of Directors of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina has named Robert “Bob” Geolas as its President & CEO. Geolas brings to the Research Triangle Park more than 20 years of experience of leveraging world-class education, research and business activities, most recently serving as Executive Director, Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and Associate Vice President for Economic Development at Clemson University.

As President & CEO, Geolas will coordinate the Research Triangle Park’s initiatives and efforts to ensure the Park remains at the forefront of technology and applied science. He will lead the Foundation in achieving its mission of creating opportunities for all of North Carolina by repositioning RTP to respond to new realities and re-invent itself to meet the demands of the 21st Century.

Geolas was selected through a highly competitive global search led by a Board-level search committee with instrumental guidance and facilitation by Jorgenson Consulting. Together with the Park’s companies, Board of Directors and key partners, he will develop strategies for RTP to adapt to meet evolving needs of current tenants of the Park, to attract different types of R&D businesses, and to utilize the Park’s land in a way that will help RTP continue to attract the best companies and brightest, highly-skilled talent.

In announcing Geolas’ appointment, Bob Ingram, incoming Chairman of the Board Directors of the Research Triangle Foundation notes: “We could not be more pleased that Bob Geolas will lead the Research Triangle Park. He is one of the most recognized and accomplished professionals in the nation for bringing together innovation assets to build dynamic and innovative economies that are a magnet for talent. His vast experience in land planning, development, zoning, permitting, financing, management, marketing and real estate negotiation makes him an ideal leader as the Park embarks upon implementing its new Master Plan.”

Ingram continued, “What Bob brings to RTP is a solid understanding of the types of close collaboration among universities and private sector activities that allow each to leverage the talent and joint research that will strengthen RTP’s competitive position and enable RTP to continue to grow and innovate in an environmentally sustainable way that provides the space options and amenities our companies demand. He has the perfect skill set to lead the Park as we embark on our next fifty years.”

Geolas’ track record of connecting such innovation assets spans nearly two decades. Joining CU-ICAR in 2004, he brought the concept for developing a research campus around a particular niche in the marketplace to reality. Under his direction, the 250-acre research park has generated nearly $250 million in investments and $500 million in development, creating more than 2,300 new high-wage jobs and over 760,000 square feet on site, with another 332,000 square feet in process. What began as a green field site when Geolas started seven years ago was recently recognized as the Emerging Research/Science Park for all of North America, as well as one of the five best global practices in the United States by the National Research Council, a division of the National Academy of Science.

John Kelly, Clemson University Vice President for Economic Development, said that Geolas played a central role elevating CU-ICAR from a bold vision to a leading center for advanced automotive research and education. “Bob truly understood the concept of public-private partnerships,” Kelly said. “He shared the notion that CU-ICAR represents more than facilities and technology-it's about people.”

“CU-ICAR is a place where global economic development and job creation are woven into the fabric of every decision,” Kelly said. “Bob was able to mesh these ideals seamlessly, skills that will serve him well in his new role. We wish him well.”

Geolas describes the opportunity to lead the Research Triangle Foundation as “the ultimate job.” A graduate of NC State University, he notes, “Leading RTP at this critical juncture is an important role for all of North Carolina. My entire educational and career experience is an expression of the Park’s original mission to move North Carolina forward by engaging the talents of local universities, their graduates, and citizens. The next fifty years for the Park and Foundation promise to be as challenging and rewarding as its first fifty years. I look forward to being an integral part of that work.”

Prior to CU-ICAR, Geolas led North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus and Centennial Biomedical Campus. During his tenure there, he directed campus operations, integrated residential and a magnet middle school into the park, and coordinated development of over 1.48 million square feet of space (in 17 existing buildings and eight additional buildings in construction or design) that provided space to 60 private and government organizations employing more than 1,500 employees. Today, Centennial is home to more than 62 partner organizations (companies) and 75 academic units, with more than 7,700 people, roughly 2,200 of whom are partner employees.

About the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina
The Research Triangle Park is the leading and largest high technology research and science park in North America, covering 7,000 total acres. Founded in 1959, The Research Triangle Park is developed and managed by the non-profit Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. The Foundation is responsible for building and maintaining the physical aspects of the Park; attracting and retaining Park companies; and enhancing the competitive position of the Park and the Triangle region. To learn more about The Research Triangle Park, visit www.rtp.org.

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Contact: Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina| 919.549.8181 | communications@rtp.org