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Decision imminent on director Core Lab at N.C. Reasearch Campus

Editor’s note: News Molecules are designed to give readers occasional tidbits of information about the N.C. Research Campus.
By Emily ForD
eford@salisburypost.comKANNAPOLISóThe lengthy search for someone to lead the Core Lab at the N.C. Research Campus should end in August with the announcement of an executive director.
Dr. Steve Leath, president of the David H. Murdock Research Institute, said he expects to make the long-awaited announcement Aug. 1.
In the meantime, Leath has hired two employees to help him run Murdock’s research institute, the nonprofit foundation that owns and operates the Core Laboratory Building.
Jenni Alfaro is the new director of business operations, and Sharon Brothers is the operations assistant. They work temporarily in Cannon Village and will move to the third floor of the Core Laboratory Building when it opens this summer.
Until recently, Leath was the only fulltime employee of Murdock’s research institute. Leath has several consultants working for him temporarily.
Leadership of the Core Lab, the centerpiece of the $1.5 billion N.C. Research Campus, has been contested for more than a year.
Duke University and RTI-International were considered front-runners to manage the Core Lab.
But members of the board of directors for Murdock’s research institute decided it was more efficient and cost effective to cut out the third party and manage the lab themselves.
The new executive director will answer to the nine-member board. He or she will not have a seat on the board, which still has one vacancy for Murdock to appoint.
Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search firm, has conducted the search. Leath and other members of Murdock’s board will conduct the final interviews this month.
The manager will run day-to-day operations for one of the most sophisticated life science labs in the world. He or she will have “an international reputation in their field of science” and a stellar track record of managing a similar big laboratory, Leath has said.
Murdock, the billionaire owner of Dole Food Co., is building the 350-acre N.C. Research Campus in downtown Kannapolis on the ruins of the massive former Cannon Mills Plant 1 complex.

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