October 11, 2006
Harfst named interim director of research park
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Kyle L. Harfst, director of the Small Business Incubator program, and technology and enterprise development at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Office of Economic and Regional Development (OERD), is now the interim executive director of the Southern Illinois Research Park (SIRP).
John A. Koropchak, SIUC vice chancellor for research and graduate dean, announced the appointment today (Oct. 11). "Dr. Kyle Harfst has been managing many of the day-to-day activities of the Southern Illinois Research Park virtually since its inception, and has the experience to ensure smooth transition of the operation of this important facility," Koropchak said.
Harfst will take over for Raymond C. Lenzi, who retired after a 32-year association with SIUC.
"I look forward to working with the University and Research Park Board of Directors in the continued development of SIRP," said Harfst.
The SIRP is a business park on the southern edge of Carbondale on Pleasant Hill Road. Its mission is to create high-tech and knowledge-based business investment and job opportunities in Southern Illinois. SIRP has 250,000 square feet of office space, which includes the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, the anchor of the research park.
Harfst will serve as interim executive director during the search for a permanent director that will be launched this fall. Koropchak hopes to have someone in place by July 1.
In the meantime, Harfst's plans include screening potential tenants for a newly constructed multi-tenant facility and planning for the next building. "I plan to coordinate initial planning activities with the University and the Illinois Department of Transportation with respect to the $1.25 million research park interior roadway project that U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello ( D-Belleville) was instrumental in coordinating," he said.
Harfst will also continue to direct the Small Business Incubator program and cultivate those technology-based firms located in the Incubator and encourage them to graduate into the research park. "Completion of the new research park building and adopting a more stringent graduation
program stimulated six businesses to be accepted into the Small Business Incubator this calendar year alone. Growth of the Incubator will spur growth into the research park," he said.
Harfst holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from University of Northern Iowa (1984) and two degrees from SIUC, a master of business administration (1996) and a doctorate in workforce education (2006). Harfst joined SIUC in 1994 as a business counselor at the Small Business Development Center.
Leading in the development of regional human and financial capital needed for economic and business development is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.