Over the past five years, few names have been more associated with economic development in Wake County than Jennifer Bosser. But as of Sept. 1, Bosser will become the first executive director of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership’s CleanTech cluster. Why is she taking the job? What’s the mission?

This is an important job, too. Cleantech-focused companies are growing quickly in the region, and in a recent survey said they plan to add thousands of jobs.

Over the last five years, cleantech-related firms have invested well over $1 billion and created 10,000 jobs across the area. Cleantech has been touted as the next big cluster for the Triangle, following Internet/networking and life science.

In a Q&A with WRAL TechWire, Bosser talks about the new job. One plus: She isn’t new to the group. As she says, she’s been involved with the RTCC as it’s called from the start since the program is a significant economic development effort for the region and already includes a broad range of technology firms as members.

In effect, she takes over for Lee Anne Nance who moves up to become Chief Operating Officer of the RTRP, led by CEO Charles Hayes. Nance got the Cluster program started and will continue to serve as an advisor.

But the RTCC becomes Bosser’s full-time job in less than two weeks. She served as assistant executive director for Wake County Economic Development since 2010,

The Q&A:

Congratulations. What excites you most about the new position?

The Research Triangle Region’s cleantech cluster is a top regional economic development priority and one of the fastest-growing in the world. The combination of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size firms and startups, coupled with the high concentration of a talented workforce and research assets at the universities, particularly in the areas of smart grid, advanced transportation, water technologies, renewable energy and energy efficiency, make the region an ideal location for cleantech companies to innovate and grow.

I have been involved with the development of the cluster since the beginning. We have just scratched the surface for the potential of this cluster, and I’m most excited about discovering the emerging and innovative technologies that companies in this region are developing and promoting the successes and assets of the cluster that are unique to our region.

What are the biggest challenges?

The Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster is relatively new. Under the leadership of the board of directors and Lee Anne Nance, the organization has been very successful in identifying the strengths and marketing the sector on a global scale.

As we move into the organization’s next phase, we need to identify and develop a sustainable business model to grow the organization.

Please spell out exactly what your role will be in directing the RTCC.

My role will be to manage the day-to-day operations, board relations, business strategy, partnerships and new member development, marketing and fundraising for the organization.

Why do you believe the cluster is important to the Triangle and the region?

The International Cleantech Network (ICN) recognized our region’s strengths in this sector when it invited us to join its exclusive network of 15 regional members around the world as one of only two North American partners. We have an incredible infrastructure of assets in cleantech, including a focus and research centers at all three of our Tier One research universities and a concentration of the industry’s leading cleantech hardware and software companies.

Just a few years ago, not many people knew what cleantech was, or that the region was a global leader. RTCC is uncovering and telling the story of this high-potential sector and is making strategic connections to accelerate its growth.

Our new Metrics Dashboard, launched earlier this year, shows the impact the sector is having already. It shows that regional cleantech companies announced $1.29 billion in recurring investment from July 2009 to June 2014, creating 10,500 jobs. The region also counts the largest concentration of cleantech employees among our peer regions of Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Denver and San Diego.

Why did you decide to leave Wake County Economic Development?

The opportunity to be part of the growth of this cluster and this organization was really appealing to me. The Research Triangle Regional Partnership is a strong economic development partner to Wake County and the region.

This opportunity builds on my experience working in economic development and with nonprofit organizations.

Another advantage – I still get to work with my colleagues at Wake County Economic Development and with the many public and private-sector partners with whom I’ve developed relationships during my years at WCED.