Bob Geolas, who in September made the surprise announcement that he was departing as president and CEO of the not-for-profit that manages Research Triangle Park, is joining a national consulting firm.
HR&A Advisors, a real estate and economic development consulting firm, announced Monday that Geolas will join the business as a partner leading the firm’s two-person Raleigh office. HR&A also has offices in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and overall has 95 employees and a dozen partners.
“Bob is a bold, visionary and thoughtful leader,” HR&A Advisors Chairman John Alschuler said in a prepared statement. “He has the rare ability to inspire while pursuing practical steps to get something built – uniting real estate savvy, discipline and political skill.”
Geolas was president and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation for nearly five years. During that time he oversaw the development of a master plan designed to transform the 7,000-acre park that boasts 240 companies and 50,000 workers from a series of self-contained corporate campuses into a place where people can not only work but also live and socialize. The park also assumed control of Park Center, an aging office park at N.C. 54 and Davis Drive, and laid plans for a $50 million first phase that calls for redeveloping that property with public spaces.
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HR&A was part of the team that put together RTP’s master plan.
“When I came on board, they had already been hired,” Geolas said.
Geolas said that he has been impressed by “the quality of the organization and the quality of its people” and the first-class work done by HR&A. And he is looking forward to working on a variety of projects.
“It’s just the right fit,” he said.
Geolas said he already is working on some projects for the firm, but he officially joins on a full-time basis Jan. 1.
Geolas joined the foundation after more than seven years as executive director of Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research, which attracted nearly $250 million in investments and 2,300 announced jobs during his tenure. He also led N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus from 2000 to 2004.
HR&A’s roster of current and past area clients include N.C. State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke Energy, Mecklenburg County and the cities of Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh.
Geolas, who had headed Research Triangle Foundation since November 2011, said in an interview in September that he was ready to do something else but didn’t have a definite plan.
In October the foundation named Liz Rooks, who had retired in 2015 after more than a quarter century at the organization, as interim chief executive for an indefinite period.