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John Rabby Elected Chairman of NCBiotech Board

Global Agribusiness Executive Sees Opportunity for North Carolina

John Rabby

John C. Rabby, an executive with 30-plus years of experience in global agribusiness development, has been elected chairman of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Board of Directors.

“Global life science leadership isn’t created overnight, and it is because of the sustained efforts of the Biotech Center that North Carolina is counted among the handful of leaders in this space,” Rabby said.

“I’m honored by the opportunity to lead this effort and to find and develop the next opportunities for North Carolina’s life science growth.”

A member of the Biotech Center’s board since 2013, Rabby has served on the executive committee since 2014. Rabby worked on the committee that developed the Biotech Center’s current strategy. He is now leading the strategy implementation committee, which is translating the strategy into specific activities and outcomes.

Experienced Agribusiness Development Executive

Rabby currently leads RE LLC, a global agribusiness consulting firm, and he is also the commercial lead for AgBiome Innovations LLC. His early career focused on agricultural product development, particularly herbicides and pesticides. He moved into leadership positions with American Cyanamid, and became group vice president for BASF’s North American division when American Cyanamid was purchased by BASF. In 2003, Rabby joined Makhteshim Agan North America as CEO and President of MANA’s North American Business Unit and a global director on the executive board.

Rabby succeeds John L. Atkins III, FAIA, chairman, CEO and co-founder of O’Brien/Atkins Associates PA, a multidisciplinary design services firm. Atkins chaired the Biotech Center board from 2011 to 2016. During his term as chairman, Atkins led the Center through a process of retrenching and charted a course that reinforced North Carolina’s global life science leadership.

Atkins said of Rabby: “John’s leadership experience, business insights, and global experience have been instrumental in shaping the Center’s strategic plan. He will continue to be a driving force in realizing the Biotech Center’s vision to make North Carolina a global leader in life science.”

Global Life Science Leadership

The state’s life science sector employs more than 63,000 people at more than 600 companies. The total economic impact of those companies tops $73 billion annually and creates a total of 237,000 jobs. This generates nearly $1.8 billion in revenues for North Carolina state and local governments.

These numbers put North Carolina among the top locations for life science in the U.S. The state continues to lead the rate of job growth among top-tier states, according to The Value of Bioscience Innovation in Growing Jobs and Improving Quality of Life 2016 released by Teconomy and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization in June. But other states and countries continue to close the gap, building research parks, developing training programs and providing tax incentives that rival or surpass North Carolina.

“North Carolina has great economic strengths and quality of life for the companies that come here. But we need to keep our eye on the future,” Rabby said.

“Our goal is to leverage the programs and knowledge of the Biotech Center and bring our fair share of growth and jobs to North Carolina.”

Board officers

The Center’s Board of Directors elected a slate of officers to work with Rabby in implementing that vision. They include:

  • Chris Brown, Ph.D., as vice chairman. Brown is associate vice chancellor for research development, the director of the North Carolina Space Grant project and professor of plant biology at North Carolina State University.
  • Michael Constantino as treasurer. Constantino is assurance partner of the EY Raleigh office.
  • Gerald Roach as secretary. Roach is managing partner at Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan LLP.

About the Biotech Center

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center leads life science technology based economic development for North Carolina by supporting the progression of ideas from research lab to the marketplace. NCBiotech invests in technology development through grants, in company development through loans, and in economic development through infrastructure grants. The Biotech Center’s programs and activities target emerging sectors and work across North Carolina to develop strengths that yield jobs in the life sciences.

NCBiotech is a private non-profit corporation funded by the North Carolina General Assembly.

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