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Centennial Campus Interviews — Daugherty

Q: Interviewer
Daugherty: Dick Daugherty


Q: First thing Dick, if you would give us your name and spell your last name for the transcription typist.

Daugherty: My name is Dick Daugherty.

Q: When you were here, what was your title at the Centennial Campus?

Daugherty: When I was on Centennial Campus, I was the Director of the Research Corporation; however, I think my real responsibilities were to recruit businesses to come to Centennial Campus and to join partnerships with organizations here at the university.

Q: Let us back up a bit and let us start with your background and how you came to the Triangle and wound up here at Centennial Campus.

Daugherty: I came to the Triangle about 31 years ago with the IBM Corporation and was responsible for their operations at Research Triangle Park for about 22 years. In that capacity, one of the things I did was to work with universities, work with the Legislature, the governors, and the governors’ staff. When I retired, Chancellor Monteith asked me if I would join Centennial Campus in a capacity to attract businesses to come to the university on Centennial Campus and partnership with university units. My background in business…I think Centennial Campus itself is made of up of university people first and foremost and business partners, partners from various organizations and government both state and federal. I think that kind of a partnership speaks tremendously well for the future of Centennial Campus and for North Carolina State University. I think those kinds of partnerships are the coming thing in university, government, and business relationships.

Q: You touched on this a little bit, but let’s talk about the growth that Centennial Campus experienced during the years that you were associated with it. At one point, there was a newspaper article that said that the Centennial Campus was not being successful. All of a sudden it took off. There was a period when there was enormous growth of the Centennial Campus. Tell us about that period.

Daugherty: Well, I think that in any venture like Centennial Campus it takes a while to establish the concepts, the culture, the infrastructure and that took place in the early years. It is no different than Research Triangle Park. Those first five, six, seven years of Research Triangle Park were not the boom days that you saw in the 1980s and that you see today. I think the same is true of Centennial Campus. I was very fortunate when I arrived that the infrastructure had pretty well been established. The concept of Centennial Campus of building partnerships had taken hold and it was a matter then in a growth period in the 1990s of being able to attract start up businesses and established businesses as well as government units to come to the campus. I think it is more of a timing issue and it just happened that I was very fortunate to come when things were starting to explode.

Q: A lot of colleges and universities have research parks. Some say that this one is unique. If you feel that it is, then why is it unique?

Daugherty: I think Centennial Campus is unique because of the proximity to the main campus. I think it is unique because it has been built on the basis of partnerships. This is not just leasing real estate or selling buildings. This is about partnerships and having government agencies and businesses partner with units at the university. I think that concept has to some degree separated this research park from others. I believe that it is unique.

Q: We are twenty years in on the master plan. Looking down the road where do you see the Centennial Campus twenty years from now?

Daugherty: I am just amazed when I come here today to see the amount of new construction. I think that it will continue over the next twenty years. I believe in the original master plan. The thought was that there would be 35,000 people here in a couple of million square feet of space. I do not see any reason why that will not be reached. I do not know whether that is 15 years from now or 20 or 25, but I think that the campus and the university are on a growth pattern, which is exceptional.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say about Centennial Campus? This is designed as a video basis to celebrate our 20 years and as we look forward is there anything we have not touched on?

Daugherty: I guess the one thing that I would add is that it was a privilege to be able to be associated with the campus and to work here. One of the reasons is building partnerships. Another reason is that this is and will continue to be and to grow into a real impetus for the economy of all of North Carolina. I foresee businesses starting up here, spinning off from the university, and then growing all over the State not just here on Centennial Campus. I think economic development is a major outcome of the successful Centennial Campus. I have been amazed at the success and growth even in a recession period that has continued here on the campus.