John Chaffee, Randall Johnson Hired To Direct New Regional Offices Of North Carolina Biotechnology Center

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Two prominent economic development executives will begin work Jan. 3, 2006, as directors of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center's new Eastern and Southeastern regional offices.

John Chaffee, a Pitt County economic development executive with more than 25 years of experience, will direct the Eastern Office in Greenville.

Randall Johnson, who served as an economic development professional and biotechnology liaison for the City of Wilmington, will direct the Southeastern Office in Wilmington.

"People in Eastern North Carolina are very fortunate to have such astute, capable and respected economic developers working on their behalf," said Leslie Alexandre, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Center. "John and Randall will be effective catalysts for biotechnology development because they understand this complex industry and its many requirements."

Chaffee and Johnson will work with companies, schools and institutions to strengthen biotechnology capabilities, identify opportunities, create regional advisory committees, leverage resources and forge partnerships. They will also serve as their regions' direct conduit to the Biotechnology Center's programs and other resources across the state.

Chaffee, 53, began his career with the Sampson County Planning and Development Commission in 1977. He then worked for the Henderson-Vance County Planning and Development Commission before heading the Pitt County Development Commission in 1983. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in economic geography, with a specialization in industrial location and regional economics, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"I truly believe the eastern region can benefit dramatically from nearly every aspect of biotechnology," Chaffee said.

Johnson, 34, began his career as a research technician at Wake Forest University's Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, then consulted for individual businesses before joining the City of Wilmington's Economic Development Division. Johnson received a bachelor's degree in psychology and an MBA degree from Wake Forest University's Babcock Graduate School of Management.

"North Carolina's biotechnology efforts offer great potential for using the Southeastern region's natural assets in agriculture, marine life and livestock to benefit all residents," said Johnson, who served on a Biotechnology Center task force to open the regional office in Wilmington.

The Eastern and Southeastern offices follow two other regional offices established by the Biotechnology Center in the last two years: the Piedmont Triad Office in Winston-Salem and the Western Office in Asheville. A fifth office is planned for 2006 to serve Greater Charlotte.

The regional offices, each consisting of a director and an assistant, are central to the Biotechnology Center's Project to Strengthen Biotechnology Across North Carolina, aimed at boosting biotechnology resources, opportunities and job creation in regions statewide.

Statewide development of biotechnology is a key recommendation of New Jobs Across North Carolina: A Strategic Plan for Growing the Economy Statewide through Biotechnology, the State's long-term blueprint for growing the industry.

The Biotechnology Center is a private, non-profit corporation supported by the N.C. General Assembly. Its mission is to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina by supporting biotechnology research, business and education statewide.

North Carolina is the nation's No. 3 state for biotechnology, based on number of companies, according to Ernst & Young's 2005 report on the industry.

Visit the Biotechnology Center's Web site at http://www.ncbiotech.org.

North Carolina Biotechnology Center

CONTACT: Barry Teater, director of corporate communications, or W. StevenBurke, senior vice president of corporate affairs of North CarolinaBiotechnology Center, +1-919-541-9366

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