Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster names advisory board, launches strategic plan

Research Triangle Region, N.C. – The Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster (RTCC) has approved a new two-year strategic plan to accelerate the region’s cleantech economy and formed a 22-member Advisory Council to advise and implement it.

The advisory council comprises a strategic mix of industry professionals and experts from cleantech companies and support organizations who offer both expertise and networks to move the cluster forward, said RTCC Chairman Ed White, chairman and CEO of Field2Base Inc.

“The new program of work focuses our activities more narrowly on those things that are most important to our members – raising awareness locally and globally of the region’s impressive cleantech cluster and catalyzing business and job growth,” White said. “At the end of the day, everything we do is about job growth, job creation and expanding the critical mass of clean technology companies and assets we have in this region.”

The 2014-2016 strategic plan outlines 16 action steps under three broad goals:

  • Lead a global marketing program that provides key business intelligence, builds the region’s brand as a global cleantech destination and positions cluster companies as thought and market leaders.
  • Promote cleantech business growth and enhance the region’s cleantech ecosystem through programs that attract talent and grants, introduce potential business partners and generate economic development projects.
  • Engage and convene cluster companies and partners in ways that promote innovation, support business development and demonstrate the world-leading innovations being developed by cluster members.

New initiatives over the next two years will focus on telling the region’s story globally to position the region as a world leader in cleantech talent, innovation, investment and impact; securing the talent pipeline by supporting talent and development programs; and demonstrating regional innovations and thought leadership in local projects and developments, White said.

The Advisory Council will drive that work plan, said council chair Matt Zafuto, executive vice president of corporate strategy and business development for Sensus, who also serves as vice chairman of the RTCC board.

“It’s exciting to see the work and collaboration that is occurring among our companies,” Zafuto said. “The innovation that comes from this work will impact not just North Carolina and the region, but the entire world.”

Formation of the advisory council offers the opportunity to actively engage more people in advising and implementing the RTCC’s plan of work, said advisory council member Gary Rackliffe, vice president of smart grids North America for ABB Inc. Rackliffe was part of the original ABB Inc. team that worked with the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, White, and other founding members to organize and launch the cluster.

“Given what we have invested and are investing, ABB and myself, personally, want to make sure that the cluster is successful,” he said. “Workforce and talent development will be a key component of our work moving forward. We want to be recognized as the number one region for cleantech so that if you work in this sector, the Research Triangle is where you want to be.”

Advisory council member Jeff Barghout, an energy and mobility consultant who created the N.C. Plug-in Electric Vehicle Task Force in partnership with the N.C. Department of Commerce, has also worked with the cleantech cluster since its inception and helped launch its smart transportation working group.

“We are at the beginning of something fantastic,” Barghout said. “We’re starting to get to a nexus of energy, mobility and cleantech where everything is converging and the lines between the different industries are really blurring. The region is rich with all of these different types of organizations – data, transportation, energy. We just need to pull all of these organizations and leading concepts and initiatives together to move us to that next level. That’s what drives and excites me.”

The opportunity to participate in a game-changing endeavor also drives professional services cluster member McKim & Creed, an engineering and sustainable design firm that joined the cluster in December, says senior vice president Tim Baldwin.

“I am continually impressed by the level of talent that is engaged in this cluster and the opportunity that we really can make a difference in helping create much more innovative, efficient and sustainable infrastructures, whether that is continuing our work in smart grid or in the emerging area of smart water,” he says.

“Everyone is here principally to make a difference in the region and the industry and to make the whole boat float higher,” Baldwin said. “All of our members have assets and expertise we can contribute. The opportunity to both grow the region and our businesses – and to leave a legacy – is exciting. It’s a demonstration and learning opportunity that can be exported, leveraged and scaled to have impact far beyond our own state.”

RTCC Advisory Council members are:

Tim Baldwin, senior vice president, McKim & Creed

Jeff Barghout, energy and mobility consultant

Stephen Barrington, director of business services, Capital Area Workforce Development Board

Farel Becker, business manager, substation automation, Siemens

John Bluth, senior vice president, corporate communications, PowerSecure International

Jenn Bosser, assistant executive director, Wake County Economic Development

David Doctor, director, engagement and administration, Duke University Energy Initiative

Alyssa Farrell, product marketing manager, SAS

Michael Haley, director of business recruitment and expansion, Wake County Economic Development

Bobbi Harris, consultant, Smart Water, Smart City

Steve Kalland, executive director, N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center

John Marriott, vice president, OSIsoft LLC

Jim Nichols, business development leader, science and technology, O’Brien/Atkins Associates PA

Stacey Perrow, corporate communications, Piedmont Natural Gas

Ken Pierrehumbert, global alliance manager, Schneider Electric

Gary Rackliffe, vice president, smart grids North America, ABB Inc.

Vikram Rao, director, Research Triangle Energy Consortium

Locke Raper, executive director marketing, BBG

Nick Santore, director of electrical engineering, O’Brien/Atkins Associates PA

Jaz Tunnell, senior manager, government relations, Piedmont Natural Gas

Matt Zafuto, executive vice president, corporate strategy and business development, Sensus

About the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster

The Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster (RTCC) is an initiative of business, government, academic and nonprofit leaders working to accelerate the region’s cleantech economy through collaboration and partnerships that promote innovation and sector growth. The Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) formed and manages the RTCC with funding from industry board members ABB Inc., Cisco Systems, Duke Energy, Field2Base Inc., Itron Inc., Piedmont Natural Gas, Power Analytics Corp., PowerSecure International, RTI International, SAS, Schneider Electric, Sensus and Siemens and its members. RTRP leads economic development for the Research Triangle Region of North Carolina. For more information, visit www.researchtrianglecleantech.org. 

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