The Research Triangle Park


Jordy Whichard is a civic-minded citizen, who volunteers his time to serve his local community and the state.

“I am giving back to the region to which I live,” says the retired newspaper executive. In 2009, Jordy retired from his position as the publisher of The Daily Reflector of Greenville and as group publisher of Cox North Carolina Publications Inc.

The Greenville native was responsible for the operations of daily newspapers in Rocky Mount and Elizabeth City, N.C., and ten non-daily newspapers located throughout eastern North Carolina.

Since his retirement, he’s dedicated himself to serving on several boards including the University of North Carolina Health Care System and the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. He is past chairman of the North Carolina Economic Development Board; a former chairman the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill General Alumni Association, and the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, Inc.

He is chairman of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain, Inc. serving youth in nine clubs in Pitt, Lenoir, Beaufort, and Greene counties.

Greenville Attorney Steve Stephenson says “volunteering is Jordy’s fulltime endeavor.” He explains, “Jordy is concerned for the community as a whole and not for himself.  He wants to makes the world a better place. Too many people in our society our takers and he’s definitely a giver.”

“By the time Jordy was 35 years old, he had been chairman of everything there was in Pitt County,” says Mr. Stephenson. He attributes Jordy’s civic-minded generosity to the example set by his father and grandfather. “I think they felt as owners of the largest newspaper in eastern North Carolina, they wanted to be a part of the civic and charitable scene,” he says.

The Whichard family has long been a supporter of East Carolina University and its programs and schools such as the Brody School of Medicine.

The family business allowed Jordy the perfect perch to view the impact Research Triangle Park and its impact on his neighbors. “I’ve known about the Park my whole life. Before I was an adult Greenville was a beneficiary what the Park means for areas outside of the Triangle.”

He explains, “They had recruited pharmaceutical giant Burroughs-Wellcome from White Plains, New York to RTP. Once the company relocated its research facility, it later transferred a significant amount of its manufacturing business to Greenville  ̶  becoming one of the largest private employers in eastern North Carolina.” The company today is known as GlaxoSmithKline.

The Greenville business is now owned by Durham-based Pantheon. It’s one of the largest pharmaceutical contract manufacturing facilities in North America. In October 2014, Pantheon announced it would add 488 new jobs that will pay an average annual wage of $54,100, plus benefits, which is higher than the Pitt County average annual wage of $34,800.

“The Park became the economic engine for all of North Carolina,” he says.

He learned even more about the Park when he served as chair of the N.C. Economic Development Board working on a strategic plan for the state. Jordy chairs RTF nominating and governance committee. He brings his executive business expertise. Mr. Stephenson says one of Jordy’s greatest gifts is that he’s an astute listener who can take a lot of thoughts expressed by different people with objective information and put together a strategy to move a project forward.

As RTF moves into the next phase, that talent will come in handy. “We made a great start with the effort to reimagine and transform the Park,” Jordy says. “We are well down the planning path and beginning the execution stage of what will become a model 21st century Park.”

He explains, “What we really need to do is execute the plan we have been working on the last few years. We have secured the land we need. We have successfully gotten some of the zoning permits we need to move ahead. We have some early adopters who believe in what we are doing.”

“We are poised to immediately transform the Park from what it had been historically been to what it can become. That transformation should ensure the next 50 years that the Park makes the same or greater impact on NC economy and its economic well-being.”