Dr. Terri Lomax over the past decade has emerged as a powerful force for innovation, technology transfer and economic development at N.C. State. But she says she’s not leaving behind any of her commitment to innovation as she prepares to leave NCSU for RTI International.

On Thursday, RTI said it had hired Lomax as vice president for discovery, science and technology, as WRAL TechWire reported.. She’ll be joining RTI in December, giving up her vice chancellor’s post.

NCSU’s loss looks to be RTI’s gain. Said NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson: “She has helped make NC State a nationally recognized research powerhouse, playing a key role in the development of our research hubs and helping raise our research expenditures to unprecedented levels. “

Even though she is shifting jobs, Lomax remains in the Triangle. And in a Q&A with WRAL TechWire, Lomax says she remains committed to one of her signature initiatives: InnovateRaleigh, a project she helped create along with Raleigh City Council member Mary-Ann Baldwin.

  • What were the key factors in tour decision to join RTI?

It was a very difficult decision to leave NC State, but I have been an RTI board member for 6 years and greatly admire their mission and organization. This position uniquely matched my experience and passion for integrating science and engineering and transferring the resulting discoveries and technologies to benefit society.

  • Is this a new position and what will be your key responsibilities?

It is an existing position (RTI’s COO, Jim Gibson, has been acting since the prior person left). I will be the Executive Vice President over all of RTI’s laboratory sciences and engineering businesses, including their commercialization activities.

  • What excites you most about the new job?

The chance to take excellent programs and grow them, as well as the opportunity to work on large interdisciplinary initiatives that cross RTI to address crucial world issues.

  • What are your feelings about leaving NCSU? You have been there nearly 10 years in very important roles.

It is very difficult for me to leave NC State because of the wonderful people I get to work with, the great partnerships we have created, and the enormous potential for future successes. At the same time, I know that I am leaving things in the very capable hands of the folks who work with me and I can now contribute from a different vantage point by forging stronger partnerships with RTI.

  • What are your proudest achievements at NCSU?

I am very proud of positioning NC State as the best and easiest university for industry to work with, which has resulted not only in doubling our funding from industry, but also in very beneficial partnerships like the Eastman Chemical Innovation Center integrated with us on campus. I’m also very proud of what we have done to facilitate interdisciplinary research and initiatives across campus to address today’s tough problems.

  • What would you have liked to accomplish that you did not?

There are many exciting new developments coming on Centennial Campus and new partnerships to be developed, but they will continue without me and I will be close by to cheer them on and facilitate in any way I can.

  • Will you keep any ties to NCSU such as a teaching or advisory role?

Yes, I hope to continue as an adjunct professor.

  • You have grown more active over time in Raleigh’s startup community. Do you plan to continue to do so?

Absolutely. I plan to remain on the steering committee for InnovateRaleigh

  • Why are startups so important to the city and the region?

Startups are an essential component of economic development. Look at the impact of former startups like SAS, Quintiles, Cree, and now Sharefile/Citrix on the city and region.

  • Will you continue to reach out to startups and entrepreneurs in your new role at RTI?

Absolutely. One of my goals in my new position is to embed RTI more deeply in our exploding local innovation ecosystem