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Higgs named to RCCC board

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
The top business recruiter for the N.C. Research Campus has been appointed to the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College board of trustees.
Clyde Higgs, vice president for business development for Castle & Cooke North Carolina, will complete a term left vacant when Glenn Ketner Jr. resigned from the board in September after 14 years of service.
“It’s a very good fit. He will be a very effective board member,” RCCC spokesman Jeff Lowrance said. “He’s already familiar with the college.”
The college will play a major role at the Research Campus, a $1.5 billion biotechnology hub in downtown Kannapolis. RCCC will provide education and job-training programs needed to meet workforce demands on the campus.
A new building for RCCC at the Research Campus has been on hold since the economy soured.
Officials had hoped to break ground on the 60,000-square-foot structure in 2008 but could not secure construction financing in time to meet the self-imposed deadline.
If construction begins in the first quarter of 2009, RCCC can still start classes in the new building in fall 2010, Lowrance said. The college will move all its biotech programs to Kannapolis when the state-of-the-art building opens.
Lowrance said he is optimistic that Castle & Cooke will secure construction financing soon. The college will lease the building from the campus developer.
Outgoing N.C. Gov. Mike Easley appointed Higgs to the college’s board of trustees. Higgs’ term will run through June 2010.
Higgs joined Castle & Cooke North Carolina in 2006. He is primarily responsible for recruiting new businesses and venture capital investment to the Research Campus.
Prior to joining Castle & Cooke, Higgs worked as the executive director of the technology incubator program at the University of North Texas-Health Science Center. While in Texas, Higgs was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to serve on the Texas Emerging Technology Fund Board, a $200 million investment fund for early-stage technology companies.
Before his post in Texas, Higgs was director of the Office of Technology Transfer & Commercialization at N.C. A&T State University.
Higgs has previous experience with the N.C. Community College System. Early in his career, he served as the executive assistant to the president of the system and managed several economic and workforce development projects.
Higgs earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama and a master’s degree in public administration at East Carolina University.
He is a native of Fayetteville and is married to Dr. Vetta Barnes Higgs, a medical oncologist. They have one son.
RCCC offers associate degrees in 40 programs of study, including arts and sciences, business, health and human services, and engineering technologies. The college also provides diploma and certificate programs in work-force training, continuing education and basic skills.

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