The Research Triangle Park Foundation is building the future of RTP with the input from a wire variety of people as was made clear at the RTP ARCHIE Summit last week at the Park’s headquarters.

Bob Geolas, chief executive officer of the Research Triangle Foundation, welcomed more than 500 individuals from within the boundaries of Research Triangle Park and from across the state in locations as far as Wataga County and Charlotte.

“You’ve asked us what comes next,” said Geolas, “and this is it – RTP ARCHIE.”

The ARCHIE project is about “creating a special place,” said Geolas in an exclusive interview with WRAL Tech Wire. The goal, said Geolas, is for RTP to become a destination – for global innovators, for venture capital, for entrepreneurs, and for families from North Carolina to visit, learn and explore.

The way to that vision is through the ARCHIE Project, said Geolas.

“We want to create a space for experiences,” said Geolas, “like a rotating World’s Fair … it will be unlike anything else out there.”

Geolas has been busy. In the past month, he’s traveled to Boston, San Francisco, and even to Disney headquarters to visit with the Imagineers.

From these meetings, Geolas has refined his vision for the future of Research Triangle Park.

“We’ll need a new place in the Park,” said Geolas, during Friday’s ARCHIE Summit, “unline anywhere else in the world – a global center.”

The forum named was after Archie Davis, a visionary for the Park. The Foundation unveiled a new strategic plan for the Park last November.

Geolas and the staff at RTP headquarters also recently conducted a series of “Fly-In” meetings with architects, designers, artists and community organizers to discuss the future of the Park with regards to green space, parks and recreation, and creating distinct culture and community.

One of the most prominent recommendations coming from the fly-in was to ensure a “focus on the park element,” said Geolas, “to take the trees and park environment … and make it a really special place.”

And there’s a big opportunity there, said Geolas.

“We could be the model for all future research parks,” said Geolas. That’s the mission of the staff at RTP, and the reason Geolas decided to launch the ARCHIE project.

Geolas understands that building a strong culture in RTP requires a community approach, not a top-down organization. The ARCHIE Summit was as much of an ideation session for those in the greater RTP community to generate visions, ask questions of Geolas and RTP, and raise concerns or criticisms.

The staff of RTP asked attendees to share three words to describe the future of RTP. Some examples included:

  • trees>concrete
  • livable, fun, energetic
  • open, accessible, fun
  • innovation, tech, showcase
  • social, exciting, cool; accessible, high-tech, special
  • inventive, moving, shaking
  • leading, engaging, motivating

What will the future of RTP look like? If we are to believe Geolas, and the vision for the ARCHIE Project, we’ll expect to see each of these descriptors used in future reviews of Research Triangle Park.

Ultimately, said Geoloas, “what we need to focus on is what is the best way to meet the needs of the people of North Carolina.”

He believes that the ARCHIE project will do just that.