July 29, 2008

Research park board elects officers

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Mary Kay Moore is the new chairperson of the Southern Illinois Research Park Board of Directors.

Moore is a multiple alumna of the University, earning a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and sciences and a double master’s degree in communication disorders and rehabilitation administration. She was the longtime chief executive officer and co-owner of the Center for Comprehensive Services and also is co-chair of the Symphony Patrons and member of the SIU Foundation Board.

The election of Moore and her fellow officers occurred during the recent annual meeting of the organization that governs the non-profit research park, located at the southern edge of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The SIU Board of Trustees appoints the directors, including four from the University and eight from the community.

John Koropchak, graduate dean and vice chancellor for research at SIUC, is vice chairman with Mike Kearney of Ameren Service Corp. as secretary and John Dosier, president of First Southern Bank, as treasurer. The board also includes SIU President Glenn Poshard; Interim SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman; Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor Don Rice; Curtis Baird, vice president of sales and marketing for the School Center and president of NEON Internet; and Dennis Harmon, area manager of customer relations for Verizon.

Kyle Harfst is interim executive director of the research park, which includes two facilities. The Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center is home to the Small Business Incubator program and the SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development. The building features a computer lab, conference rooms and atrium, along with ample rental space for business establishment and expansion. There are a dozen business tenants in the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center. One Enterprise Place, which opened in 2006, is also located at the research park. With five tenants, it is 100-percent occupied, Harfst said.

The newest project is construction of an internal road connecting the research park to the University campus via Saluki Drive. SIUC secured $1 million in federal highway funds for the road, which will provide improved access over the existing Pleasant Hill Road entrance and allow construction of additional buildings and future development. Harfst said they’ve hired a design firm for the project and engineering work should begin later this summer.

Moore said she’s pleased they’ve met the goal of 100 percent occupancy for One Enterprise Place and she’s eager to see the progress on design and construction of the new roadway. Before the road construction project is even finished, likely in about two years, Moore anticipates design work will start for the newest research park building. Plans call for a third building, a 15,000-square-foot structure, to attract even more businesses to the park.

She’s particularly excited about attracting research companies to SIUC and Carbondale, she said. With such amenities and wet and dry lab space, she said the research park is a wonderful place for new businesses to grow. Attracting technology companies to the facilities so they can realize their potential, secure patents and bring their products and technology to market is a priority.