John Atkins, chairman and chief executive officer of the architectural and design firm O’Brien/Atkins Associates PA, is the new chairman of the board at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Atkins succeeds venture capitalist Art Pappas, who has led the board for the past three years.

“The Biotechnology Center is a well-respected catalyst for biotechnology job creation in North Carolina, and I am honored to serve as its chair,” Atkins said in a statement.

The Atkins firm has been part of numerous life science related projects in North Carolina, including GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Noridsk and Winston-Salem based Targacept. Atkins also was involved in the building of the Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center at N.C. State.

The Biotechnology Center’s mission is to help grow the biotech industry sector in North Carolina. Biotech firms employ more than 58,000 people.

In other board moves, Donald deBethizy, CEO of Targacept, was elected vice chairman. Michael Constantino of Ernst and Young is the board treasurer. John Cecil, president of Biltmore Farms in Asheville, was re-elected secretary.

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