After serving as President and CEO for the past five years, Bob Geolas is leaving the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. Elizabeth “Liz” Rooks, RTF’s recently retired COO and Executive Vice President, will assume the interim CEO role.
Rooks served RTP for 25 years until her retirement at the end of 2015. She was instrumental in providing technical oversight of the 2012 RTP Master Plan, from which the Park Center development project was born. In 2014 and 2015 she worked closely with RTF partners such as Durham County, and Hines, the global real estate investment, development, and management firm, to finalize The Park Center development plan.
RTF Chairman of the Board Smedes York says, “There’s no one more familiar with RTP and Park Center than Liz Rooks. She will be a great leader for the Foundation.”
During his tenure at the Foundation, Geolas led a unique and swift charge creating a promising vision for the future of Research Triangle Park. Through initiatives like The Frontier, RTP’s open collaboration community hub, and The Park Center development plan, Geolas has helped the Park shift from an entity focused on selling large land parcels to multi-national corporations, into an organization that is also developing affordable, flexible spaces for entrepreneurs and small businesses that today make up more than 60 percent of RTP’s 240 companies.
York says, “Bob’s vision and leadership has helped us reconnect and reenergize the RTP community and region. We now have a dynamic plan in place to move RTP forward.”
With Rooks at the helm, the Foundation will embark upon the development of the eastern half of Park Center in the coming months. Durham County has pledged $20 million towards this effort, with an additional $10 million provided by the Durham-Wake Counties Research and Production Service District and $20 million from RTF.
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