Research Triangle Park leader to address Blount Chamber VIPs

At the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, VIP’s aren’t just very important people, they’re Volunteers In Progress.

As a promotion for the V.I.P. program, non-VIP members are invited to a talk with one of the leaders of the North Carolina research and development park that is being used as a model for the planned Pellissippi Place Research and Development park at the former Jackson Farm.

The event will be 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 5, at the Blount County Chamber of Commerce.

Kevin Johnson, CecD, vice president of Business Development for the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina which owns the renowned Research Triangle Park, will speak.

Johnson was scheduled to speak last month but had a flight delay and had to reschedule.

During his tenure to date, Johnson has played an instrumental role in a record number of location and expansion projects in the Park, totaling over $500 million in projected capital investment and the projected creation of more than 5,000 new jobs. Additionally, Johnson is responsible for leasing RTP-owned incubator Park Research Center, successfully recruiting 17 diverse and innovative start-up and university spinout organizations. Presentation topic is “The Research Triangle Park: Lessons in Regional Economic Transformation & Strategies for Future Competitiveness.”

The Volunteers In Progress (VIP) program is a partnership between the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Board of Blount County. VIP members pay extra to be part of the program and this money helps in the VIP mission of keeping successful companies in the community, assisting in their expansion and also helping recruit more business to the area.

Bill Eanes, project manager with the Economic Development Board, said the VIP program has always been an important part of the partnership under the chamber. “Even now it’s more important than ever as we look to move ahead with the new Technology Park,” he said.

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