RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARKFirst Flight Venture Center will soon be under the direction of a new president.

Krista Covey is taking over as the new leader for the business incubator, succeeding long-time president Andy Schwab who stepped down recently to become CEO  of Panaceutics Nutrition in Durham.

Covey will assume their duties on May 18.

“Krista’s depth of experience in supporting the growth of early stage companies at award-winning innovation hubs in Texas and Florida, combined with an extensive background in banking and finance creates the perfect storm to launch new initiatives and programmatic breakthroughs for support to early stage companies.,” First Flight said in the announcement.

Covey called her new job a “dream” opportunity.

“It’s rare that a dream to build high-impact entrepreneur ecosystems and drive economic vitality come together through a leadership position in a unique incubator setting such as First Flight Venture Center,” Covey said.

” I intend to leverage my background as an entrepreneur and with innovation hubs and finance to advance the growth and commercialization of early-stage companies and look forward to joining the innovation community in North Carolina’s Research Triangle.”

“The Board is thrilled to welcome Krista to lead the First Flight team and to inject her own brand of leadership into the innovation ecosystem,” said First Flight Board Chair Mary Musacchia in the announcement.

“This decision by our Board is key to our future and critical to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the region. After a nationwide search, we felt that Krista’s personal experience as an entrepreneur who founded and successfully exited her own company combined with her leadership experience with incubators in other states brings new energy and creativity to First Flight and the Research Triangle. The recognition by her peers nationally in selecting her to serve as the Vice-Chair of InBIA’s Board, her track record with economic development and innovation hubs, combined with her energy, creativity and more made Krista a natural choice as our next President.”