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Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Gwyn Riddick, director of the Piedmont Triad office for the , is joining the parent organization to lead a new effort focused on growing the state’s agriculture sector.

Riddick’s new title is vice president, Ag Bio Initiative.

Noting that the state’s agriculture sector us responsible for $70 billion in revenue a year, or one sixth of the N.C. economy, the Biotech center said the new program is to make “the state’s fields and forests … even more prominent.”

The program’s goal is to grow the agriculture sector by $100 billion over the coming decade.

“We have a deep history and tremendous assets in agriculture in North Carolina,” said Norris Tolson, chief executive officer of the Biotechnology Center. “We identified this opportunity to combine that heritage and our strength in new technology to create wealth across the state of North Carolina, and to improve the quality of life for people around the world.”

Riddick, a former professor at N.C. State, has more than 40 years of experience in the life sciences sector. He also has worked as Guilford County Cooperative Extension Service director.

"We have hardly begun to tap the natural, renewable resources of agriculture that will benefit mankind,” he said in a statement. “Integrating biotechnology and agriculture is an integral platform for our future, and I am eager to get started."

The Ag Bio initiative is a result of a “Growing North Carolina Carolina’s AgBiotech Landscape” task force led by former Gov. Jim Hunt and former Biotech Center executive Steven Burke who now runs the Biofuels Center of North Carolina.

For Riddick’s background,