State of the Region

Photos from the 2019 State of the Region

Tweets from the 2019 State of the Region

Appreciate being part of Research Triangle Region again and opportunity to discuss our rich talent pipeline @TriangleRegion #RTRPSOR19 And it’s actually $349 million that Wake County citizens just voted to invest in new @waketechcc workforce facilities, but who’s counting? - Scott Ralls

“We have the biggest, baddest community college system in the nation”. -Dr. Scott Ralls on workforce strength in the Triangle @waketechcc @WTCCFoundation #RTRPSOR19 - Brett Frenier

NC’s ag tech ecosystem is one of its fastest growing and we’re glad to have @TriangleRegion join as a champion. The Triangle is a hub for our state and our state is the place to be for all in #agtech. Congrats on a great #RTRPSOR2019! - NC Biotech Agriculture

. @CALS_Dean : “Over the next 25 years, 84% of U.S. agricultural jobs are projected to be in the plant sciences disciplines.” The @NC_PSI will help attract and train this next generation of talent that will usher in a new age of agriculture. #RTRPSOR19 - NC Plate Science Initiative

Bright minds are convening today in downtown Raleigh for @TriangleRegion ’s State of the Region event. We’re excited to help make #GrowConvergeAdvance take flight in North Carolina. #RTRPSOR19 - RDU

The future of #innovation in the ag industry is here in NC! Thank you Ryan Combs of the @TriangleRegion for the great overview at #RTRPSOR19. - NC Science Tech & Innovation

Thank You Video Sponsors

NC State University

Research Triangle Park

Merz Americas

Speaker: Adrian Percy

Thank You to our 2019 State of the Region Speakers and Panelists:

Adrian Percy of Finistere Ventures

A staunch advocate of the need for and benefits of modern agriculture, Adrian Percy, Ph.D., has spent his career holding positions with some of the most influential companies in the industry.

Adrian currently serves as the CTO of Finistere Ventures, a global technology and life sciences venture capital investor focused on changing the food value chain. In this role, he provides strategic, technical and regulatory support to Finistere’s broad portfolio of agtech and foodtech companies. He also helps identify new investment opportunities for the firm. In addition, Adrian frequently acts as an agricultural industry representative and as an advisor or independent director to companies through his own consultancy company, Nomad Technology Consulting LLC.

Previously, Adrian served as the head of research and development for the Crop Science division of Bayer as part of the executive committee. During his 16-year tenure at Bayer, he led crop protection development activities for Bayer in North America and regulatory affairs activities across the entire division of Crop Science. As head of R&D, he led internal and open innovation activities in the areas of crop protection chemistry and biologicals, as well as seeds and traits. He has held numerous positions in the research and development departments of Rhone Poulenc, Aventis CropScience and Bayer in France, Germany and the United States.

A global ag advocate with more than 25 years of experience in the industry, Adrian will share his expertise and insights on how the Research Triangle Region can further its position as an epicenter of the Agtech industry.

Download Adrian's Agtech Presentation Slides

Speaker: Diane Leopold

 Presenting Sponsor Speaker:

Diane Leopold of Dominion Energy

The State of the Region is proud to host Presenting Sponsor, Dominion Energy’s EVP and President CEO of Gas Infrastructure Group, Diane Leopold, who will share insight on what Dominion is doing locally to help support the growth of our region.

Diane will share her expert knowledge – acquired from over two decades of experience – on our region’s unique opportunity to advance economic development and why our diversity and infrastructure create a winning combination.

Her business unit is responsible for 2.3 million natural gas customer accounts in five states; 15,000 miles of natural gas transmission, storage and gathering pipeline and nearly 51,000 miles of gas distribution pipeline; more than one trillion cubic feet of natural gas storage; and 1.3 million retail energy and related services customer accounts in 13 states.

Serving nearly seven and a half million customers and operations in 18 states, Dominion Energy is committed to responsible environmental stewardship, delivering a reliable stream of clean, natural gas and affordable electricity to homes and businesses across the US. Providing smarter, more efficient energy options, services and solution to conserve resources and control energy costs. Dominion strives to make communities better places to live and work, supporting economic development and generating new tax revenues for local governments.

Diane will share her expert knowledge – acquired from over two decades of experience – on our region’s unique opportunity to advance economic development and why our diversity and infrastructure create a winning combination.

Panel: Growing Agriculture Through Innovation

Our panelists will discuss how the merging of our deep-rooted history in agriculture, with the Triangle Region’s technical resources and innovative ecosystem, create a unique environment for the growing AgTech industry – presenting our region with the key to drive economic development. ­

Moderator: Adrian Percy, Ph.D. – Chief Technology Officer of Finistere Ventures

Panelist: Richard Linton, Ph.D.Dean, College of Ag and Life Sciences at NC State University

Richard Linton, Ph.D. is the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University. Under his direction, the college has developed a new strategic plan that focuses on building people, programs, and partnerships. As part of this plan, Dean Linton is encouraging collaboration with the business community and the government through the Plant Sciences Initiative and the Food Processing and Manufacturing Initiative, two initiatives that have the potential to create jobs, find solutions to global challenges in agriculture and foster support for local growers.


Panelist: Ian Jepson, Ph.D. – Head of Trait Research and Developmental Biology and RTP Site Business Head, Syngenta

Ian Jepson, Ph.D. is the site head for Syngenta’s Seeds Research facility in the RTP. Ian heads the Syngenta Trait Research and Developmental Biology global research team, which is accountable for developing strategies to protect crops from insect pests and diseases as well as promoting crop yields using genetic modification, advanced breeding and genome editing strategies.



Panelist: Geoffrey Duyk M.D., Ph.D. – Partner of Circularis Partners

Dr. Duyk is a Partner of Circularis Partners, an investment firm focused on supporting technology-enabled companies that advance the circular economy, promote sustainability, and enhance resource efficiency. Previously, Dr. Duyk was the managing director and partner of TPG Alternative & Renewable Technologies (ART)/TPG Biotechnology.

Panel: Advancing The region's Workforce

Developing talent is essential for the economic climate and the future of business and industry. Hear from our panelists on how community colleges are bridging the gap between market needs and workforce abilities.

Moderator: Chris Johnson –  RTRP Economic Development Advisory Council Chair

Panelist: Peter Hans – President, NC Community College System

Peter Hans became the ninth president of the North Carolina Community College System on May 1, 2018, just four years after being honored by UNC-Wilmington for his role in improving collaboration between the community college and university systems.




Panelist: Scott Ralls, Ph.D. – President, Wake Tech Community College

Dr. Scott Ralls became the fourth president of Wake Technical Community College on April 11, 2019. Before coming to Wake Tech, he served as president of Northern Virginia Community College.




Panelist: Pamela Senegal, Ph.D. – President, Piedmont Community College

Dr. Senegal is the fifth president and the first woman to lead Piedmont Community College, bringing more than 20 years of higher education leadership, business experience, and community service to the role. She previously served as vice president of economic and community development at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC).

Thank You To Our Sponsors

The State of the Region is not possible without the support of our sponsors.