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Tech Park begins advertising for new director

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two months after its director abruptly resigned, the West Virginia Regional Technology Park is advertising for replacement.  

Phil Halstead, who had served as director and CEO since August 2011, resigned in February to "pursue other interests."

Last week, the Tech Park board began running ads about the position online and in regional newspapers.

"There's quite an effort going on to get the word out and receive resumes of those who may be interested in the position," said Paul Hill, chancellor of the state Higher Education Policy Commission and chairman of the Tech Park board of directors.

Dow Chemical Co. gave the Tech Park to the state in December 2010.

The policy commission accepted the park on the state's behalf and guided its progress until 2011, when a board of directors was named and Halstead was hired.

The commission still oversees the park and represents it in matters before the Legislature.

Following Halstead's departure, commission Tech Park liaison James King was named interim operations manager. He is managing the park's day-to-day operations until a permanent replacement is named.

Hill said he and the Tech Park board initially considered hiring a consulting firm to manage the search but eventually decided against that.

"That process didn't really lend itself to a firm that we felt any comfort with that could do anything that the (Tech Park) staff wasn't already capable of doing," Hill said.

According to the job description, the board is looking for a candidate with "a strong business background with emphasis on technology development in a large multi-disciplinary setting, strong verbal and leadership skills with experience and/or training in a technology field preferred."

The listing said the new director "will oversee all operations of the 258 acre, multi-tenant facility and work to promote the WVRTP with current and potential tenants, entrepreneurs, private businesses, trade groups, colleges, universities and agencies whose missions are compatible with the park's resources and mission."

Hill said it's a tough job to fill.

"There's a variety of talents that we listed in the job description with the understanding that we're probably not going to find someone who fills all of them," he said.

"We're looking for someone that has at least some of those areas that would be a good fit for the park moving forward."

When Halstead resigned, Hill said the Tech Park was "entering a new phase to diversify the tenant base."

Hill said this week that since the state took over the Tech Park in 2010, much of the work has focused on renovating the facilities to get them up to code and prepare them for new tenants.

He said the new phase would focus more heavily on recruiting businesses for those renovated spaces.

"It's a logical step for this person to focus on now bringing new tenants to fill up the space," he said.

Hill said the board would like to have someone in place by July 1 but the date is flexible.

"It is very early," he said. "We've had some people express interest and some information has been trickling in.

"That was part of the reason why we wanted to get out there and collect those resumes," he said. "We're looking forward to getting those in and finding a new director that can lead the park forward."

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.


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