RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC– Norris Tolson was selected President and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center by its board of directors, effective July 2. TechJournal South exclusively reported that Tolson had been chosen on June 19.
http://techjournalsouth.com/news/article.html?item_id=3336 for our first report of this choice.
Tolson, who has served as secretary of three state cabinet departments, had been the Biotechnology Center’s interim leader since January. “Norris Tolson is a seasoned leader who is well-respected across North Carolina,” said Sue Cole, chairwoman of the board.
“He brings the attributes needed to elevate biotechnology across the state: leadership, strategy, and a rare combination of public and private sector experience.”
Tolson has served on the Biotechnology Center’s Board of Directors since 2000, as a member of the Executive Committee since 2001, and as Vice Chair since 2005. He was one of five co-conveners leading development of the recently completed North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership.
Gov. Mike Easley appointed Tolson Secretary of Revenue in January 2001. Tolson served as Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Transportation under former Gov. Jim Hunt. Tolson also served in the N.C. House of Representatives from Edgecombe County from 1994 to 1997.
“As head of the Department of Revenue, Secretary Tolson has been a key and trusted member of my cabinet, and I appreciate his dedication to our state,” Easley said. “His managerial and organizational talent raised levels of service to our citizens and dramatically increased collections.”
“The Biotechnology Center plays a critical role in North Carolina’s economy and having Norris at the helm will keep the state a national leader in the growing biotech industry.”
Tolson worked at E. I. DuPont from 1965 to 1993, gaining increasingly senior positions worldwide. Returning to his hometown of Pinetops, N.C., upon retirement, he immediately chose service to North Carolina as his goal.
“I’ve been blessed with rich and varied work experience,” Tolson said. “I regard leadership of the Biotechnology Center as a significant opportunity, and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Charles Hamner, president of the Biotechnology Center from 1988-2002, said, “It’s hard to imagine a better choice for North Carolina and for biotechnology. I’m pleased and impressed.”
Importance of Biotechnology
Tolson said biotechnology is important to North Carolina’s economic future.
“In its first 20 years, the Biotechnology Center has assisted North Carolina’s movement to leadership and jobs. Moving the Biotechnology Center and the state to the next 20 years of biotechnology expansion requires imaginative strategies and unwavering commitment.”
“No other industry offers as much opportunity for the future of North Carolina as biotechnology.”
Tolson assumes the new position at a time of promise for biotechnology development, products and jobs. Last month, Ernst & Young ranked North Carolina third for the fourth straight year in number of biotechnology companies. More than 48,000 citizens work in almost 400 bioscience companies; another 42,000 work in related and support companies.
The North Carolina General Assembly has invested millions of dollars building research, biomanufacturing, workforce training and institutional capabilities.
Statewide offices of the Biotechnology Center and targeted development of new sectors — from biofuels to marine biotechnology, nanobiotechnology, and natural biotechnology — are triggering new and expanding opportunities.
Though almost every other state in America is investing heavily in biotechnology, few other states have the natural resources and the vibrant university and industry partnerships that the Biotechnology Center has nurtured for 23 years.
The Biotechnology Center was established by the General Assembly in 1984 as the world’s first targeted initiative for biotechnology development.
The Biotechnology Center is a private, non-profit corporation supported by the General Assembly.
Its mission is to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina by supporting biotechnology research, business and education statewide.
For more see: www.ncbiotech.org
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