Robert Geolas, an executive at Clemson University, is the new chief executive officer of the Research Triangle Foundation, which oversees development and use of the Park.

Geolas was announced as the choice by the RTP board on Wednesday.

The Foundation currently is working on a new strategic plan for the sprawling complex in Wake and Durham counties.

Geolas’ most recent position was executive director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research. He also was associate vice president for economic development at Clemson.

Geolas was an executive at NC State’s Centennial Campus before joining Clemson in 2004.

Bob Ingram, the Foundation’s board chairman, said Geolas has “vast experience in land planning, development, zoning, permitting, financing, management, marketing and real estate negotiation.”

“What Bob brings to RTP is a solid understanding of the types of close collaboration among universities and private sector activities that allow each to leverage the talent and joint research that will strengthen RTP’s competitive position and enable RTP to continue to grow and innovate in an environmentally sustainable way that provides the space options and amenities our companies demand,” Ingram added. “He has the perfect skill set to lead the Park as we embark on our next 50 years.”

The Park, which was launched in 1959, covers some 7,000 acres. More than 170 companies are based there with some 38,000 workers.

Geolas, who is a graduate of NCSU, said in a statement that he is looking forward to leading the Park through its next stage of development.

“Leading RTP at this critical juncture is an important role for all North Carolina,” he said. “My entire educational; and career experience is an expression of the Park’s original mission to move North Carolina forward by engaging the talents of local univeristies, their graduates and citizens.”

Geloas succeeds Rick Weddle, who left the Foundation in February for a job in Florida.

In September of 2010, the Foundation chose a New York firm to draw up a new strategic plan.

At the Clemson research center, Geloas helped the university draw almost $250 million in investments and $500 million in development. Some 2,300 jobs were created.

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