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New leader chosen for WV tech park

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Regional Technology Park Corp. and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission have hired the head of a Texas biotechnology firm to take the helm at the South Charleston research and technology park. 

Dr. Rusty Kruzelock will take over as executive director and chief executive officer of the Regional Technology Park Corp. Nov. 1, the commission announced Wednesday.

Kruzelock fills the opening created by the departure of Phil Halstead, who resigned abruptly in February to "pursue other interests." Halstead had been with the Tech Park since August 2011.

Kruzelock will move to West Virginia later this month from Kyle, Texas, where he worked as president of Cenovance, LLC, a biotechnology company he co-founded.

"I am honored to lead the West Virginia Regional Technology Park and look forward to working with our community to bring innovative new companies to the region," Kruzelock said in a press release.

As executive director and CEO, Kruzelock will oversee all day-to-day operations at the 258-acre multi-tenant research, education, and technology park.

The commission voted earlier this month to begin negotiations with Kruzelock after he earned the endorsement of the Tech Park board. Kruzelock will be paid a starting salary of $170,000, which will come entirely from tenant fees paid to the park.

According to his resume, Kruzelock has an extensive background in biotechnology research and development.

After graduating with bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from Penn State University, Kruzelock earned a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Texas Health Science Center.

He has worked as a scientific advisor for the Office of the Surgeon General, head of the Pharmacogenomics department at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center's Institute for Drug Development, and chief science and operations officer for biomedical firm Bium, Inc., before founding Cenovance.

As part of his previous jobs, Kruzelock was responsible for raising money for research and development projects. According to the commission news release, Kruzelock has raised more than $100 million in funds for those various initiatives over the course of his career.

Dow Chemical Co. gave the tech park to the state in December 2010.

The state Higher Education Policy Commission received the park on the state's behalf and guided its progress until 2011, when a board of directors was named and Halstead was hired as executive director.

Commission Chancellor Paul Hill still serves as chairman of the tech park board of directors and the commission still represents the park in matters before the Legislature.

When the commission began advertising for a new director in April, Hill said the Tech Park was "entering a new phase to diversify the tenant base."

In a statement released Wednesday, Hill said Kruzelock's hiring marks an important milestone for the park.

"We're pleased to welcome Dr. Kruzelock at a time of exciting progress and promise," Hill said.

He said the park has transformed physically in recent years, with new building construction and renovation. He said the commission was now looking for "intuitive leadership" to fill those buildings with new businesses and investments.

"Dr. Kruzelock brings the right blend of scientific and business experience to bring our vision for the park -- as a hub of education, research and development and an economic driver for the region and state -- a reality," Hill said. Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.


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