Hershey Center for Applied Research Names First Executive Director
Tech-based economic development practitioner, Laura J. Butcher, to lead HCAR and central PA life sciences movement into next phase of growth
HERSHEY, PA. (December 5, 2006) – The Hershey Center for Applied Research (HCAR) Board of Directors today announced that Laura J. Butcher will serve as the Center's first executive director. Butcher will assume the position on a full-time basis on January 3, 2007. When completed in spring 2007, HCAR will offer state-of-the-art resources, including generous wet and dry lab space, conference rooms, and shared amenities through Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. As a major tenant, the Medical Center and College of Medicine will lease more than 32,000 square feet of the first facility to expand the college's pharmacology and technology development departments.
When fully realized, HCAR has the potential to utilize the entire 100-acre campus. Managing this growth and attracting local and out-of-state businesses to take up residence in these buildings are among Butcher's many responsibilities as HCAR's new leader.
"Ms. Butcher brings to HCAR strong leadership and a profound appreciation for the impact the Center will have on the local community, the regional economy and ultimately on Pennsylvania's competitiveness as a global leader in the biosciences. Most importantly, she has a great vision for the human health advancements which will emerge from HCAR," said Vincent B. Rudisill, president of the HCAR Board of Directors and chief investment officer of Hershey Trust Company. "Ms. Butcher also has a command of the critical resources technology companies need to grow and succeed, and has demonstrated an exceptional ability to identify, leverage and align those resources to achieve the Center's mission."
Butcher previously served as the director of constituent affairs for the Technology Investment Office at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. In this role she built and led a variety of statewide projects and initiatives in the areas of the biosciences, energy, nanotechnology, manufacturing and telecommunications/information technology.
Prior to her work with the Commonwealth, Butcher was employed by the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus, where she supported the Communications and Technology Committee. Before her work in Harrisburg, she was employed by the Financial Relations Board/BSMG Worldwide, an investor relations firm in San Francisco whose clientele consisted of technology companies based in the Silicon Valley.
"My work in government focused on the creation and implementation of technology-based strategies that integrated the assets of industry, academia and government to advance Pennsylvania's position in the global marketplace," said Butcher who was born and raised in central Pennsylvania and currently resides in Harrisburg. "HCAR is the manifestation of those strategies, and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the Center's first executive director."
When complete, the Center will provide research and business development resources to emerging and established biosciences and technology companies. Located adjacent to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, HCAR is well positioned to serve as a thriving international hub for research and business development, offering central Pennsylvania's only fully prepared wet lab space and access to the comprehensive commercialization, technical assistance, workforce and capital sources that emerging biosciences and technology companies need to grow and prosper.
A second 100,000-square-foot facility—being planned by Ayers Saint Gross, a firm providing master planning and architectural services for college and university campuses—constitutes the next phase of this long-term project.
According to Dr. Jay Moskowitz, vice dean for research and graduate studies at Penn State College of Medicine, the Center will play an important role in contributing to the critical mass of world-class biosciences companies already located in Pennsylvania.
"The availability of hard-to-find resources like wet labs is a key factor in encouraging the development and growth of biotechnology start-ups," said Dr. Moskowitz. "We are looking forward to working with Ms. Butcher to create an environment at HCAR where researchers can conduct their groundbreaking medical work right here in south central Pennsylvania while benefiting from close partnerships with the College of Medicine and other colleges and universities."