Randy Crowell was just 6 years old when Spencer physician Dr. Charles Eddinger let him peer into a microscope during a check-up.

Staring at the flying saucer-shaped cells suspended in a drop of blood, Crowell felt as though he had discovered another world. The little boy decided he would become a scientist.

It took 44 years and layoffs at both Pillowtex and Duracell, but Crowell finally achieved his childhood aspiration. He works as a lab technician in the Core Laboratory at the , sequencing DNA and pursuing his personal mission to help people through science.

"Dreams can come true," Crowell said.

The Research Campus, a $1.5 billion biotechnology complex, rises from the ruins of an old textile mill in downtown Kannapolis.

For details, see the report.