"She’s going be a hard act to follow." – NCTA founding CEO Betsy Justus on departing CEO Joan Myers

RALEIGH, N.C. – Joan Myers, chief executive officer of the North Carolina Technology Association, is stepping down.

Myers submitted a letter of resignation to NCTA Board Chairman Bob Hawkins on July 17, a spokesperson for NCTA said Thursday. Hawkins is vice president of operations for EMC in North Carolina.

NCTA is a public policy organization focused on growth of the high tech business sector in the state. Under Myers’ direction, NCTA also is working with public and private sector groups to expand the defense and home security business sectors.

Myers said she is accepting a position with software developer SAS. She will join the public policy division at SAS.

“I have felt it a great privilege to serve the NCTA Board of Directors and to lead a staff of dedicated individuals that make a mighty team,” said Myers in a statement. “It is now time for NCTA to forge new chapters in leadership and for me to turn a page in my career towards new challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Myers received praise from several people for her role as NCTA’s CEO.

“SAS is getting a phenomenal person,” said Joe Freddoso, the new chief executive officer at MCNC and a former NCTA board chairman and board member. “She knows how to partner, how to bring the best of North Carolina together, and that technology is more than just the Triangle, to show that technology is a vibrant industry state wide.”

Scott Perry, the general manager of the North Carolina Defense and Security Technology Accelerator in Fayetteville, hailed Myers for her role in establishing that center. Myers and NCTA were strong advocates for the launch of the new business incubator.

“I can tell you that NCTA through Joan’s leadership has been instrumental in the implementation of the NCDSTA plan and a key player in making this a statewide program,” Perry said.

“She has provided sound advice regarding funding initiatives, key counseling, mentorship, and has made business introductions that have helped make this program successful.”

Myers’ resignation is effective Aug. 21.

"It is now time for NCTA to force new chapters in leadership and for me to turn a page in my career towards new challenges and opportunities ahead," Myers wrote to Hawkins, according to the Triangle Business Journal. "I have felt it a great privilege to serve the NCTA Board of Directors and to lead a staff of dedicated individuals that make a mighty team."

Myers succeeded Betsy Justus as CEO of the organization in 1998. The group was founded with the name North Carolina Electronics and Information Technology Association. Myers advocated a change in the name of the group to NCTA in 2005. Justus launched the organization in 1993.

“She did a very good job of taking the organization to the next level,” Justus told WRAL Local Tech Wire. “The foundation was there, but she built on that foundation and expanded technology’s role within North Carolina and created that congressional tie.”

Myers has worked closely with the state’s congressional delegation on a variety of issues, ranging from securing funds to launch technology grants for schools to helping support the launch of the North Carolina Defense and Security Technology Accelerator new business incubator in Fayetteville.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Myers moved to North Carolina in 1994. She was an executive with the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce before joining NCTA.

In her tenure at NCTA, Myers has been a tireless advocate for both technology and increasing the involvement of women in engineering, science and technology. NCTA supports groups in the Triangle and Charlotte that are focused on encouraging more women to take up science and technology careers.

Jim Roberts, an entrepreneur in Charlotte and western North Carolina where he launched the Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council, said Myers worked with people and organizations statewide.

“I was a big fan of Mrs. Myers work within North Carolina,” said Roberts, now the senior entrepreneurship consultant with TIP Strategies,in Austin, Texas.

“She made a real effort to be inclusive of western North Carolina," Roberts added. "She invited and selected western North Carolina companies to present at conferences in Raleigh and Charlotte. BREC also held events with NCTA in the Asheville area. I know she worked hard to build technology infrastructure for western North Carolina schools."