Robert T. Geolas

Partner

Bob Geolas is a nationally recognized leader in innovation districts, university real estate development, and research parks. With more than 20 years’ experience working with academia, government and private industry, Bob has a proven track record of leveraging world-class education, research and business activities for the greatest public good. Prior to joining HR&A, Bob served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, the steward organization for the Research Triangle Park, where he coordinated initiatives and efforts surrounding its redevelopment. Bob has received several awards for his work to further the missions of institutions, including the Vision Award from the International Association of University Research Parks, Alumni of the Year Award from North Carolina State University, College of Humanities and Social Science and the Triangle Top 20 CEO of the Year Award from the Triangle Business Journal.

  • North Carolina State University, Bachelor of Arts, Municipal Studies
  • HR&A Advisors, Inc., Partner, 2016 — Present
  • Research Triangle Foundation, President & CEO, 2011 — 2016
  • Clemson University, International Center for Automotive Research, 2004 — 2011
  • North Carolina State University, Centennial Campus Coordinator, 1995 — 2004
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation, Rail Division, Executive Assistant to the Secretary, 1993 — 1995
  • The Resource Center for State Laws and Regulations, Research Director, 1991 — 1993
 

University of Michigan Innovation Hub, Ann Arbor, MI

Evaluated the feasibility of an Innovation Hub at the University of Michigan, a dedicated district on its campus where external partners are encouraged to co-locate to increase the level and impact of research efforts. Through interviews with internal stakeholders, articulated the vision of the Hub and generated a value proposition for the University. Analyzed the University’s research strengths to identify the programmatic drivers that would anchor a vibrant district. Evaluated the market viability of a complementary mix of uses in creating a dynamic physical environment for innovation. Recommended a governance structure and business model to support the initial start-up phase of the project, as well as subsequent stabilized operation. The University leadership accepted HR&A’s recommendations and the institution is now implementing the first phase of the Hub.
 

Innovation District Plan, Midwest City, OK

Leading the creation of an Innovation District framework for Midwest City, Oklahoma, located approximately eight miles from Oklahoma City. Evaluating industry and real estate opportunities, developing highest-and-best-use scenarios, assessing financial feasibility, and developing an implementation roadmap with phasing recommendations and funding pathways to guide Midwest City’s path towards creating a district that supports the growth of existing and new industries, attracts talented workers, and adds vibrant retail and restaurant options.
 

University of Georgia Innovation District Task Force, Athens, GA

Assisted the University’s Innovation District Task Force in better understanding opportunities for a proposed innovation district in or near the University of Georgia Athens campus. Assessed the University’s innovation, technology, and research strengths through interviews and quantitative methods. Recommended private sector partnership strategies and programming possibilities that activate a physical program at a future innovation district, grow research opportunities, and create a convergent space unique to the UGA.
 

University of California, Riverside Economic Impact and Attraction Strategy, Riverside, CA

For the University of California, Riverside (“UCR”), advised on a two-part study, which included an economic impact analysis of University operations and the development of an economic development and industry attraction strategy to bring new industries to Riverside, CA. This strategy was focused on capturing growth in “clean and green” industries by leveraging University research strengths and the California Air Resources Board’s planned University-adjacent testing facility, which will employ over 400 highly-skipped workers and is anticipated to open in 2020. The final strategy includes initial actions, including internal organizational initiatives and partnership with public-sector entities for regulatory and place-based initiatives that will support industry attraction and community-wide economic development.
 

Lehigh University Real Estate and Research Programmatic Drivers Assessment, Bethlehem, PA

Managed the development of strategies to utilize University extensive real estate assets to increase the national prominence of the University and expand its research and academic strengths. Based on an assessment of innovation potential and the local Lehigh Valley real estate and industry market conditions, developed highest and best use strategies for three University-owned campuses totaling over 2,000 acres. Recommended strategies to develop and activate a prominent site as a research and innovation campus, and to utilize another campus as a corporate office center to generate revenues for Lehigh University.
 

Clemson University Innovation Campuses Assessment, Clemson, SC

Assisted Clemson University in the development of sustainable strategies to maximize the full potential of its existing Innovation Campus portfolio and future strategic initiatives. Based upon interviews with key stakeholders from the University, a full review of current practices, an understanding of current market trends and best practices at peer institutions, Clemson University was provided with a guiding framework for future development and investment.
 

University of North Carolina at Greensboro Millennial Campus Advisory, Greensboro, NC

Developing a comprehensive strategy to aid the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) in realizing its vision for a Millennial Campus consisting of an Arts District and a Health and Wellness District. Supporting the University in articulating a vision for the Districts that will rally the University and Greensboro communities behind the Campus, and assessing options for programmatic anchors and opportunities for innovation and amenity programming. Conducting a real estate market analysis to understand the feasibility of potential uses within the Districts, as well as a benchmarking assessment of precedent innovation campuses to identify best practices. Also identifying a governance structure and public-partnership strategies to guide the management and operations of the Millennial Campus.
 

UC Davis Aggie Square Innovation Campus, Davis, CA

Working closely with the University of California, Davis as a subconsultant to Perkins+Will in advancing plans for a technology and innovation campus in Sacramento known as Aggie Square. Analyzed UC Davis’s academic and research strengths and their alignment with Sacramento’s core industry clusters to identify programmatic drivers to anchor Aggie Square. Conducted a real estate market analysis to understand the absorption potential of office, laboratory, residential, and retail uses to define a market viable development program.
 

Auburn University Research Park Development Strategy and Business Plan, Auburn, AL

Assisting Auburn University in creating a vision and strategy to guide the future of Auburn Research Park. Leading institutional visioning to understand University goals for programs and physical development within the Park, and conducting a market analysis and an economic competitiveness assessment to consider feasible development opportunities. Providing an operations and business plan that supports the long-term financial sustainability of the Park, and ensures that the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation has the capacity, resources, and management structure to successfully operate and maintain the Park.
 

Comprehensive Plan, Shakopee, MN

Worked as part of a multidisciplinary team to lead the real estate and economic development elements of the comprehensive plan for the City of Shakopee, Minnesota. Worked to develop an implementation plan to achieve the city’s economic goals, including identifying catalytic development projects and identifying capital improvements to drive city revitalization.
 

University of South Florida Research Foundation Demand Study, Tampa, FL

On behalf of the University of South Florida Research Foundation, assessed the tenant demand needed to support the University’s proposed life sciences and tech-focused Research Park. Determined that robust demand exists for additional research space on campus through an analysis of the Tampa Bay lab and office space market, regional growth in aligned industries, and on-campus interviews with academic stakeholders. Discovered that enough internal demand exists to allow USFRF to be selective in leasing out space, which would allow for a tenant mix that can be curated to maximize collaboration between different users, increasing the Research Park’s effectiveness as an innovation district. The findings of the demand study will support and inform decision by the USF Board of Governors as it pursues a mixtures of tenants that best suits its institutional and economic goals and considers the growth of the Research Park.
 

Research Triangle Park, President and Chief Executive Officer

Top executive for the Research Triangle Park (RTP), one of the largest and most successful research parks in the world. Responsible for 7,000 acres, a daily population exceeding 40,000 and billions of dollars of public and private facilities. Leading the first redevelopment of RTP in over 50 years, ensuring its place at the forefront of technology and applied science, while also serving its historic mission to support the universities and create opportunities for all North Carolinians.
 

Research Triangle Park, The Frontier

On behalf of the University of South Florida Research Foundation, assessed the tenant demand needed to support the University’s proposed life sciences and tech-focused Research Park. Determined that robust demand exists for additional research space on campus through an analysis of the Tampa Bay lab and office space market, regional growth in aligned industries, and on-campus interviews with academic stakeholders. Discovered that enough internal demand exists to allow USFRF to be selective in leasing out space, which would allow for a tenant mix that can be curated to maximize collaboration between different users, increasing the Research Park’s effectiveness as an innovation district. The findings of the demand study will support and inform decision by the USF Board of Governors as it pursues a mixtures of tenants that best suits its institutional and economic goals and considers the growth of the Research Park.
 

Clemson University, Executive Director of CU-ICAR & Associate Vice President for Economic Development

Served as chief executive of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and is credited with transforming CU-ICAR from a “green field” start-up to a recognized success story. Under his leadership, CU-ICAR created a first-of-its-kind graduate school, secured $37M in endowed professorships, developed over 760,000 square feet of new facilities, created 2,300 new jobs, and generated over $700M in public and private investment. In 2009, the National Science Foundation recognized CU-ICAR as one of the five best global practices for science and research parks. Promoted in 201l to Associate Vice President, Bob led development and marketing of Clemson research parks and economic development projects across South Carolina.
 

North Carolina State University, Centennial Campus Coordinator

Engaged in 1995 to develop industry partnerships, Bob was tapped in 2000 to lead the 1,334-acre Centennial Campus and Centennial Biomedical Campus. During his tenure, Centennial Campus emerged as an economic engine for North Carolina, recruiting 60 private and government organizations employing 1,500 new jobs, and developing over 1.48M square feet of space in 17 major buildings. Today, Centennial Campus is a global model for education, research and job creation.