Elinvar Lands CEO for Research Triangle Foundation

Elinvar places Scott Levitan CEO of Research Triangle Foundation

August 15, 2017 – Executive search firm Elinvar has placed Scott Levitan as CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, which manages an eminent North Carolina research park known as Research Triangle Park (RTP). He succeeds Bob Geolas, who left the organization last September. Elinvar’s president and CEO, Patti Gillenwater, led the search along with strategic search partner Jim Ahlerand researcher Pattie Steigerwald.

In outlining the requirements for the position, the foundation board stressed the importance of hiring an executive who could help to implement its master plan adopted in 2012.

“It was important in our selection process to find someone with experience not only in leading research parks, but also in multi-use real estate projects — someone who has partnered with universities, and created strong communities,” said the foundation’s chairman of the board Smedes York. “With Scott, we have an outstanding leader. We think he will do a great job.”

The Right Fit

Mr. Levitan brings more than 30 years of experience and has led several large-scale, mixed-use development projects, specializing in university-related research parks. Most recently, he was the vice president of Forest City Realty Trust and development director for the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins and the New East Baltimore Community. In this role, he oversaw a $1.5 billion initiative directly adjacent to the Johns Hopkins University medical campus that includes life science research and office space, residential, retail, a new public park and a community school.

Previously, he was executive director of real estate development for the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he oversaw real estate planning and development activities. During his tenure, he oversaw the development of Technology Square, a 1.6 million-square-foot institutionally-sponsored but privatized development initiative in midtown Atlanta.

“This is a dream job and amazing opportunity,” said Mr. Levitan. “RTP has all the right ingredients — a smart talent pool, a low cost of living, top-tier research universities, engaged staff and community partners, and some of the most innovative companies in the world — to continue growing, transforming, and providing a positive impact to our state and to society at large.”


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One of Mr. Levitan’s top priorities will be to drive Park Center, RTP’s mixed-use redevelopment project, forward. Park Center is a 100-acre parcel in the center of RTP’s 7,000 acres. It will be the first location within RTP to have a walkable, amenity-rich community. Plans call for residential, retail, office, hotels, public parks, and more.

“We have put together a strong vision and plan for the future of RTP,” said foundation chairman Mr. York. “And now, we have a leader who we believe can help us write RTP’s next successful chapter.”

Research Triangle is named after its hub cities of Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill, home to the prominent research institutions that drive it. RTP includes some 200 companies that employ 50,000 people. The foundation is focused on orchestrating industry, university and government collaborations to attract research, scientific and technology-based organizations and support the creation of jobs.

Exceptional, Mission-Driven Leaders

Elinvar is an executive search and leadership development firm based in Raleigh. It has been serving organizations in the state for over 30 years and provides search services to foundations, non-profits, higher education institutions, professional associations and closely held businesses located in the state as well as the Southeast.

Ms. Gillenwater, Elinvar’s leader since 1995, said she built the firm around her belief that great results stem from effective leadership and great leadership happens when leaders are working in an environment that supports them. “It is with exceptional leaders at the helm that organizations are able to create value for all of their stakeholders,” she said.

Bringing this belief to Elinvar’s mission-driven clients brings optimal results for them and the people they serve, she added. According to clients, Ms. Gillenwater has an innate ability to quickly grasp the essence of critical organization issues and see a road to solutions that create desired results. She applies this talent to solving leadership challenges of both individual leaders and their mission-driven organizations.


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With over 20 years of experience in executive search, leadership development and board service, Ms. Gillenwater said, she has focused on understanding all aspects of what is needed for an individual to succeed when joining a new organization and what an organization can achieve when exploring leadership changes.

“Our work is often with very bright and accomplished technologists who have moved into leadership roles and are eager to add to their leadership abilities,” she said. “Often, they have not had that development opportunity in the past and working with a professional coach has a huge impact on their ability to continue to progress in their career.”

“The other trend we are seeing is that leaders with younger direct reports need to adjust their leadership style to be more effective in motivating this new generation of knowledge workers,” she said.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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