Thursday, August 30, 2012

Piedmont Triad Research Park president shares vision

Eric Tomlinson became president of Piedmont Triad Research Park on July 2. A scientist and biopharmaceutical expert, he has assumed the role of guiding the park through its most pivotal growth spurt since its founding in the late 1990s. The park is considered by many to be the leading new-economy engine for the region.

Tomlinson presented a personal introduction, an infrastructure update and his vision for the park during a presentation Tuesday at Wake Forest BioTech Place.

The park's workforce will expand from about 850 now to more than 2,100. It will go from 400,000 square feet of space to 1 million and double in investment from its current $175 million to $350 million.

Tomlinson spoke of having more people living, working and playing in the area, projecting a fifth housing loft development and 130 more downtown residents adjacent to the park's boundaries. By spring 2014, significant work is expected to be completed on the Bailey Green Park and the 26-mile "rails-to-trails" greenway.  Read more.

Let’s Go Racing! – Transportation Technology in Winston-Salem

Technology & Innovation Series

Tuesday, October 2
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Forsyth Tech Transportation Technology Center

4255 North Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem

Don’t miss this opportunity to visit and tour Forsyth Tech’s new, state-of-the-art Transportation Technology Center. As one of the premier centers of its kind in the country, the facility offers all of the computer labs, simulators and high-tech equipment needed for today’s highly complex, computer-controlled vehicles. A remarkable example of adaptive reuse, this modern LEED-eligible building is on the site of the former Pinebrook Shopping Center. It houses all of the college's Transportation Technology programs, including the Richard Childress Race Car Technology program. Plan to come early or stay afterwards for coffee and conversation. The event is free, but registration is required.

Register here.

Sponsored by: Cook Medical, B/E Aerospace, Kilpatrick Townsend and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Monday, August 27, 2012

CNN tells story of Wake Forest's new Power Felt

CNN's web site currently features a story about Power Felt, a new material created at Wake Forest University that produces electricity.  Power Felt was developed at Wake Forest's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials. 

The felt uses temperature differences in the fabric to produce electricity.  See more.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Triad Community Colleges to Train Long-Term Unemployed Through Back-to-Work Program

Davidson County Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College and Guilford Technical Community College have been chosen as three of the 10 North Carolina community colleges to receive funding for the North Carolina Back-to-Work program to help the long-term unemployed find employment and new careers.

The $5 million program, a partnership between NC Community Colleges and the NC Department of Commerce, will focus on providing job training and retraining; employability skills, including a Career Readiness Certificate, and third-party, industry-recognized credentials to the long-term unemployed.

As part of this initiative, Winston-Salem's Forsyth Tech will receive $711,682. Read more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NCTA Event: Building North Carolina's Data Center Corridor

North Carolina has seen an explosion of data centers. As companies and consumers rely on the cloud for services and content and more people get Internet access, it will spark a building boom for more, larger data centers. What will this mean for the state?

Confirmed Panelists:
Tony Cockerham, Chief Operating Officer – DukeNet Communications
Nick Kottyan, President & CEO – DataChambers
Chris Kopchik, Interim CIO – Womble Carlyle
Dana Watts, Principal – SMMA

8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 26
Targacept (200 E. First Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101)

Individual Registration: Members – Free / Nonmembers – $45

Read more and register.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meet Dr. Eric Tomlinson -- new Piedmont Triad Research Park president

Below is a letter from Dr. Eric Tomlinson, the newly appointed President of the Piedmont Triad Research Park and Chief Innovation Officer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Dear Colleagues:

I am buoyed by the welcome I have received, thank you! Having met many members of our community I am encouraged by your excitement and entrepreneurial spirit.

Now I am eager to learn more about what services and capabilities you suggest we must provide to help you turn your ideas and inventions into competitive innovative products and services.

So to all in our community interested in innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship in the medical and life sciences, information technology, and in the arts, please join me and my fine colleagues over breakfast at Wake Forest Biotech Place (575 N. Patterson Avenue) on August 28.

Light breakfast will be available from 7:30 am. At 8 am I will provide a brief update on developments at the research park as a lead into a Q&A discussion with you about how we can promote innovation in the Triad. I hope you will linger after our Q&A session to network with your colleagues.

I very much look forward to meeting you and to welcoming you to Biotech Place. Please come with an open mind, pithy questions, and great ideas.


PS: Please register to attend the Q&A session.

Winston-Salem-based Triad Semiconductor named to Inc. 500 list

Two Triad firms have made Inc. magazine's newest list of America's 500 fastest-growing private companies, on newsstands now.

Winston-Salem-based Triad Semiconductor came in at No. 409, with a three-year growth rate of 911 percent. The company, with 35 employees, generated $5.1 million in 2011 revenue. Triad Semiconductor designs and manages customizable semiconductor chips for military and aerospace clients. Read more.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

North Carolina Named State of the Year

North Carolina has been named the 2012 State of the Year by Southern Business & Development, which focuses on economic development. The award is based on North Carolina's economic-development performance during 2011.

It is the third time the state has received the honor, including 2005 and 2006.

The publication ranks states based on each project announced with a minimum of 200 jobs and/or $30 million investment.

In 2011, North Carolina had 89 projects that met or exceeded the publication's threshold, more than any other state. It landed projects in nearly every industry sector, including furniture, data centers, headquarters, financial services, health care, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, biotech and automotive. Read more.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wake Forest fruit fly research might change diabetes treatment

When you base your research career on something as minuscule as the period at the end of this sentence, you might have to deal with a questioning look or two.

And when you tell people that little period – a fruit fly brain – is wired in the same way as their brain, the reactions can get intense.

Erik Johnson, an associate professor in biology at Wake Forest University who studies fruit flies, says he gets two responses.

“One is complete disbelief, to the point of almost being angered by it. I think that’s unfortunate, because humans could stand to be a little more humble,” he said.

“Others are just sort of like, wow, but with an interest – open to the idea that brains are brains, and they all do similar things. Complexity doesn’t stem from having different genes or special nerve cells. The basic biophysical, biochemical makeup is the same. The difference in complexity is in the number of cells. Why flies are so simple is that they have approximately 100,000 neurons versus the approximately 11 billion in humans.”

Johnson’s latest study appears in the October issue of the Genetics, which is available online now. In it, he and his research team use the fruit fly, Drosophila, to look at an enzyme called AMP-activated kinase and its role in signaling the hormone that elevates the level of sugar in the blood.

Those findings could be key to developing new treatments for diabetes and aiding in all sorts of metabolic research, including weight-loss drugs. Read more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Winston-Salem-based Targacept reports profit

Winston-Salem-based Targacept brought in net income of $14.5 million in the second quarter, up from a loss of $2.3 million a year earlier.

In its second-quarter earnings report, the company said it is currently in the midst of three Phase 2 trials and is expecting results from a drug targeting attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder next month. Other trials are aimed at schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, and the company is evaluating a potential trial related to Parkinson's disease.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nominate Your Business for the NCTA 21 Awards!

The NCTA 21 Awards is one of North Carolina's most prestigious statewide technology awards, recognizing companies and individuals who have characterized excellence, innovation and leadership in 21 categories.

We are just three weeks away from the deadline of August 31 for submitting applications. We encourage you to visit the online nomination site,, and nominate companies you feel would be an appropriate finalist. NCTA has a new streamlined, online process – give it a try! Click here to nominate.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bring your technology-related conference or meeting to Winston-Salem

YOU can make an economic impact on Winston-Salem. Do you belong to an organization or association? Each year thousands of conference and convention attendees spend millions of dollars in our city benefitting hotels, restaurants, transportation, shopping and many other businesses in our city.

You can help bring more dollars to town. All you need to do is submit the name of your organization to Visit Winston-Salem. They will do all the work from inviting your association to town, assisting with the planning stages and providing services once the group arrives in town.

We’ve got a great city to showcase. Won’t you help spread the word? Share memorable experiences with your friends and associates here in Winston-Salem! Click here for more information.

Piedmont Triad Research Park -- A Whole New Future

Tipping point. Game changer. Momentum builder. Pivotal anchor.

Those are some of the terms being used in reaction to Inmar Inc.'s decision to move its headquarters into Piedmont Triad Research Park and relocate the bulk of its workforce to downtown Winston-Salem.

Winston-Salem business leaders called the move a major happening in a project that has been touted to be a key driver of the new Forsyth County economy.

Inmar said Tuesday that the company was moving more than 915 present and projected jobs to two vacant former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. processing plants.

When Inmar moves into the renovated buildings in December 2013, it will become by far the park's largest tenant, potentially boosting the park's combined workforce to more than 2,300. Read more.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wake Forest University educators launch firm to sell Verbal Victor app

The Wake Forest University professor who spearheaded the development of a smartphone and iPad app to help his speech-disabled son and others like him has started a company to commercialize the program.

Paúl Pauca, an associate professor of computer science, co-founded Apps for the Greater Good to commercialize the Verbal Victor app and develop new products. Pauca is working with graduate student Scott Graber, who is president of the new firm.

Pauca came up with the idea for Verbal Victor through frustration at the cost and complexity of other tools available to help children like his own son Victor, who suffers from the genetic disease Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, which delayed his ability to communicate through speech.

Verbal Victor allows parents or teachers to associate recordings of their own voices to pictures of common items, which the child can select by pushing an on-screen button. Read more.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Winston-Salem Chamber Announces Tech Briefing Presenters

The Tech Council of the Winston‐Salem Chamber of Commerce announced 10 presenters for the 11th Annual Tech Briefing, which will open the Chamber’s Business & Innovation Expo on September 20, 8:00 a.m. at the Benton Convention Center.

2012 presenters include: B/E Aerospace; A better‐tasting beet juice from Wake Forest University’s Translational Science Center; Camel City Solar; Hanesbrands; MD Online Solutions; Orthovative Technologies; PMG Research; SnapCrowd; Technology Crops International; and the Laboratory for Complex Brain Networks at Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology.

The Tech Briefing is a fast‐moving event where each presenter speaks for five minutes about their innovative technologies, designs, and products. The Briefing provides a sampling of the local companies, researchers, and inventors that are helping to transform the economy and community.

The Tech Briefing is free and open to the public, though registration is required at Read more.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Inmar helps bring pieces together at Winston-Salem research park

Something big is happening in Winston-Salem. Something special, a possible game changer. Something that has the potential not just to help revitalize that city’s downtown area but reinvent it.

I’m talking about the Piedmont Triad Research Park, and before you ask, “what’s new about that?,” let me acknowledge that I recently gained a new appreciation for the significance and unique opportunity it represents, and how the pieces are coming together. And that was before Inmar Inc., the fast-growing technology company, confirmed Tuesday that it plans to relocate to a renovated R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company building in PTRP and bring 900 employees with it.

I had the opportunity last week to tour PTRP’s most recently completed project — Wake Forest Biotech Place. Suffice to say it is an amazing building. The developer basically took an old R.J. Reynolds building and turned it into a beautiful facility now home to several departments of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine as well as a number of private technology companies.

The building is also equipped with state-of-the-art wet labs, classrooms and meeting spaces. The centerpiece, quite literally, is a five-story, glass-roofed atrium, that opens up the place and lets natural light pour in. It’s the kind of stylish, hip but totally functional facility you might expect to find in Boston or Silicon Valley.

More importantly, though, I really got a chance to see how the building fits into the larger puzzle that is PTRP. True enough, Biotech Place, with 242,000 square feet of leasable space, adds to several facilities already in PTRP. But now, especially with Inmar coming in to take over much of the structures composed by Reynolds buildings Nos. 90-3 and 90-1A, one can really start to see a critical mass taking shape. Read more.