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2012-2013 Event: Eric Tomlinson, President of Piedmont Triad Research Park — Triad Biotech Alliance

2012-2013 Event: Eric Tomlinson, President of Piedmont Triad Research Park

by Jennifer on October 8, 2012

As you drive from Greensboro to I77, it is hard not to notice a large amount of construction at the intersection of 40 & 52. On September 20th, at the first Triad Biotech Alliance event of the 2012-2013 year, I was excited to find out what’s going on. Mind you, I didn’t know I’d be learning that – I just wanted to attend the next TBA event.

The invited speaker was Eric Tomlinson, President of Piedmont Triad Research Park and Chief Innovation Officer of Wake Forest Baptist Health. The event was held at a restaurant my family & I often enjoy – The Chop House Grill off of NC 68 in High Point. As per usual for Triad Biotech Alliance mixers, there was mingling & appetizers (provided through generous support of the TBA’s 2012-2013 sponsors) available upon arrival – I’ve heard from some people (you probably know who you are) that they attend mainly for the food & consider the networking & learning the “gravy” of the event. 🙂 During the mixer I enjoyed talking to many people about biotech in the Triad, social media and more.

At somewhere between 6:20 & 6:30 pm, the group took their seats to hear Eric Tomlinson’s talk. Eric is wonderfully personable, and has recently been named the new president of PTRP or the Piedmont Triad Research Park. You can see the announcement in the PTRP News items for more details (scroll to the June 26th item). Eric began his talk by describing an effort to boost innovation at Wake Forest, both in its clinical enterprises and in its academic enterprises. These efforts will include three initiatives: 1) Innovation Services, 2) Scientific Services and 3) the Piedmont Triad Research Park. I was quite intrigued by the concept of the scientific services, which are aimed at allowing outside organizations or individuals to tap Wake Forest internal expertise, but Eric’s talk mostly focused on the research park.

The Piedmont Triad Research Park is a historic redevelopment project located in downtown Winston Salem in the industrial area at the intersection of Interstate 40 (I-40) and US Route 52. According to the PTRP Master Plan:

“Historically and architecturally significant buildings throughout the research park footprint will be retained not only for their unique character and charm but for their reuse potential.”

The concepts and goals described by Eric – to program evocative, educational, fun events; to support local entrepreneurs & residents; and to have world-wide brand recognition for the area – sound wonderful! Near future developments for the PTRP include continued infrastructure development, promotion, and a rebranding of the park. I look forward to watching & supporting the efforts, and seeing how they overlap, collaborate, and compete with other efforts in the area.

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