Harold Strong, the director of Research Park at Texas A&M University, was chosen to be the director of UNT's Discovery Park, UNT's nearly 290-acre research park in north Denton.
Strong, who started in mid-August, will lead efforts to establish UNT as a leader in technology transfer and commercialization by fostering innovations through cutting-edge research, assisting start-up companies, building partnerships with private companies and spurring regional economic development.
"The administration at UNT is very focused on building a successful research park," says Strong, who also will be the director of technology transfer. "And I'm very excited to be part of that."
Strong's duties will include all aspects of building a research park: conceptualizing, designing, building and managing Discovery Park, which currently houses the College of Engineering and the interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Research and Technology. The park, which will be developed with guidance from an advisory group of both on- and off-campus members, also houses UNT's School of Library and Information Sciences.
Discovery Park will help commercialize the technological research performed in its labs, serve as an incubator for new companies and recruit science- and technology-related companies to relocate to the park. The park will work closely with the UNT faculty of many disciplines, particularly engineering, science and business.
UNT hired Strong after an extensive national search that began in February. Strong is one of two vice presidents of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), which promotes the development and operation of research parks. AURP is a national organization of university research parks with many foreign members.
"Harold Strong will bring UNT to the forefront of technology transfer, commercialization and incubation and will give Discovery Park national and international visibility," said Vish Prasad, vice president of research and economic development at UNT, of Strong's appointment. "He brings a wealth of experience to this position."
While at A&M, Strong:
- Developed partnerships between the university and industries.
- Worked with leadership in Bryan and College Station to strategically define and execute an economic development plan.
- Developed and managed the incubation process and 50,000 square feet of incubation space.
- Facilitated the development and construction of facilities to support research collaborations.
Strong joined Texas A&M in January 2004. Before that, he worked at Collegiate Development Services in Irving, collaborating with university administrators, architects and investment banks to design and develop student housing for colleges utilizing tax exempt financing.
He also has worked for Nike in Oregon as the operations director for U.S. sales and at Nations Bank in Dallas as a real estate portfolio banking officer.
Strong's familiarity with the Dallas-Fort Worth region and Texas will help him quickly develop contacts and know the key players, says Linda Ratliff, the director of economic development for Denton and who served on the selection committee.
"Harold Strong showed so much enthusiasm and excitement for building Discovery Park," Ratliff said of Strong's hiring. "He knows what it takes to run a successful research park."
Ratliff added: "When it comes to recruiting companies, the university has a huge impact. Having a research park brings it to a whole new level."
UNT News Service Press Release
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