Life Science Economic Development Summit

Join us on Monday, April 30 at the Raleigh Marriott City Center for the Life Science Economic Development Summit - a professional development opportunity for North Carolina economic developers to learn more about the life science sector.

At this event, hear how community leaders leverage their life science strengths. Also, learn about other states that have grown this important sector. Get ideas from federal programs, state officials and each other.

Returning this year is our popular site selector panel.


For full program details, please click on the Agenda tab above.

  • 8:00 a.m. - Registration and Continental Breakfast
  • 9:00 a.m. - The Next Big Thing: Precision Science
  • 10:00 a.m. - Mapping Life Science Employment Statewide
  • 10:30 a.m. - Networking Break
  • 11:00 a.m. - Beyond the Mega Cluster
  • Noon - Lunch
  • 12:20 p.m. - Transforming North Carolina through Life Science
  • 12:35 p.m. - The Importance of Life Science Economic Development in North Carolina
  • 1:00 p.m. - Break
  • 1:15 p.m. - Federal Tax Changes and Opportunities for Investment
  • 1:45 p.m. - The Secret Sauce for Life Science Growth
  • 2:45 p.m. - Networking Break
  • 3:15 p.m. - Site Selectors Panel
  • 4:15 p.m. - Helping Your Community Transform
  • 4:45 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Reception at the Marriott


View map and directions.


$125 - NCEDA Members
$150 - Non-members

Online by April 26:
$100 - NCEDA Members
$125 - Non-members



Bill Bullock

Senior Vice President, Economic Development and Statewide Operations, NCBiotech

Since 2008, his group’s efforts have led to recruitment of 25 corporate projects representing more than 1,750 jobs, $1 billion in investment, and $2 billion in annual economic impact in the life sciences sector statewide. He is also a key member of the Center’s team that oversees international activities and programs.

Prior to joining the Center, Bullock served as international business development manager for biotechnology within the North Carolina Department of Commerce.  He was also vice president of the biotechnology consulting firm BioAbility, where he directed numerous studies and client consulting projects in North America and abroad, including international biotechnology competitiveness benchmarking, economic development strategic planning, business plan development, technology assessments, and market research/analyses. He has also done business consulting for global pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms and spent six years in research, development and marketing at Stratagene Cloning Systems in San Diego.

Bullock has written and presented extensively on a variety of topics related to commercial biotechnology, including economic development, business strategy, market research, regulation, emerging technologies, workforce development, strategic alliances, and more.  He received his undergraduate degree in cell biology and biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego and an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Thomas Leitch

Vice President, Vector Manufacturing, bluebird bio Inc.

bio coming

Susan Nichols

CEO, Falcon Therapeutics


Susan has more than twenty years of corporate management and leadership experience in high growth biotech, entering the cell therapy arena in 2010.   Susan brings a unique perspective having served in executive management roles with early stage , emerging, and fortune 500 companies such as Thermo Fisher, Hitachi Chemical, Baebies, and Invetech, a division of Fortive Corporation.  She developed and oversaw partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and life science companies to advance drug development and the manufacturing platforms that enable commercial success. Susan was able to shepherd scale-up efforts of cell therapies through all phases of clinical trials and into commercialization. In support of early stage Life Science companies, she successfully established funding relationships with VC’s, Private Investment Groups, Angel Investors, Philanthropic Alliances, Non-traditional Financing, Royalty Deals, Licensing Opportunities, and Strategic Alliances.  Throughout her career, she has successfully built market opportunities, product platforms, high performing teams, and pipelines.  Most recently, Susan joined Falcon Therapeutics, Inc. to apply her experience establishing new markets for cell therapies, fundraising for early stage life science companies, and establishing partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to support Falcon’s next steps toward regulatory approval and commercialization of its new promising platform oncology cell therapy.

Pam Siwik

Senior Director, Gene & Cell Therapy, Pfizer Inc.

bio coming

Mark Phillips

Vice President, Statewide Operations and Executive Director, Eastern Regional Office, NCBiotech

Mark Phillips is responsible for directing and coordinating biotechnology related growth and development activities surrounding the Biotechnology Center's five statewide regional offices.

In addition, Phillips directs such activities for the Biotechnology Center’s Eastern Office in Greenville, and serves as the region’s contact to the Biotechnology Center’s grant and loan funding programs, while working with companies, schools and institutions throughout the 27 counties in the region to strengthen biotechnology research, business, education and workforce training, and to identify new opportunities for commercial biotechnology.

Phillips has more than 30 years of experience in the life sciences and telecommunications industries with knowledge in the areas of finance, customer service, human resources, governmental and external relations, as well as marketing and sales. He holds degrees in Business Administration and Accounting from North Carolina Wesleyan College.

Jack Cecil

President, Biltmore Farms

Mr. Cecil has served as President and CEO of Biltmore Farms, LLC, since 1992. Established in 1897, Biltmore Farms has focused its efforts on community building, through developing an extensive portfolio of real estate projects including a regional shopping mall, a mixed-use urban village, master planned communities, corporate offices, hotels, apartments, medical office buildings and over 1,000 homes.

Mr. Cecil serves as a Trustee of The Duke Endowment; Director of SCANA Corporation; Director of Barron Collier Management, LLC; Board of Directors of The Research Triangle Foundation of N.C.; Chair and Member of the National Advisory Board of the Institute for Emerging Issues; Chair, WNC Regional Advisory Board of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; Director of Mission Health Partners; and Governor, Urban Land Institute Foundation.
Mr. Cecil received his M.I.M. from The American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and his B.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill.

He has been happily married to Sarah Mettler Cecil since 1993, and they have four wonderful sons, Thomas, Hugh, John, and Owen.

George Briggs

Executive Director, North Carolina Arboretum

bio coming

Jennifer Lantz

Executive Director, Wilson Economic Development Council

In 1989, Jennifer became Executive Director, responsible for implementing strategies for economic development in Wilson County North Carolina. In that time, Wilson has seen remarkable growth and change. With nearly 21% of the workforce employed in the manufacturing arena, Wilson has emerged as a leading NC community for industrial recruitment. Jennifer’s background in planning and her keen understanding for business development has been instrumental in leading Wilson into the 21century.

Laura Lee

Business Recruitment Manager, Food Manufacturing, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

bio coming


Scott Propheter

CEO, Criticality Research Services

Doug Edgeton

President and CEO, NCBiotech

Doug Edgeton became NCBiotech’s president and CEO in September 2014. He brings extensive executive-level experience in health care from major academic medical centers, research park development and business administration, including an emphasis on community service.

Throughout his career, Edgeton has managed both human resources (talent) and facilities, helping them work in concert to create the right ecosystem for organizational growth. This approach led to more efficient organizations, faster technology transfer and better patient care. Edgeton continues this approach at the Biotech Center, targeting state investment and staff expertise to help North Carolina’s life science companies grow, create jobs, and bring life-changing technologies to market.

At Wake Forest University, he held senior executive, administrative and financial roles with the medical school and health system. Early in his tenure, he and his team developed a strategic planning process and implemented business management principles for the medical school. This laid the groundwork for the Piedmont Triad Research Park and eventually the integration of Wake Forest’s medical school and North Carolina Baptist Hospital.

Edgeton then took on broader responsibilities including participation on the team led by Richard Dean, M.D., that recruited Anthony Atala, M.D., and 24 faculty members to establish the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine in 2004. WFIRM is known worldwide for its projects that create engineered human tissue and organs to treat a wide range of ailments, including battlefield wounds.

Edgeton directed development of the 230-acre PTRP, now Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. This included managing, from concept to completion, the renovation of two tobacco production facilities into Wake Forest Biotech Place, completed in 2012. The public-private partnership involving the university, the city of Winston-Salem, the state of North Carolina and the federal government created cutting-edge research space and incubator facilities for startup companies.

Edgeton’s influence was also strong in the evolution of Wake Forest University Health Sciences and North Carolina Baptist Hospital into one organization with a single CEO. Edgeton co-led the two teams that worked out strategic, logistical and operational details of the reorganization. After the reorganization, he worked to combine the executive teams from the two separate entities, hiring key staff to complete the team.

Following those successes at Wake Forest, he joined NCBiotech in 2012 as senior vice president for financial planning and development. He was responsible for the top-to-bottom examination of programs, staffing and finances following a 27 percent cut to the Center’s state appropriation in 2013. The examination was led by a Board of Directors committee, chaired by former GlaxoSmithKline Chairman Bob Ingram, at the request of the General Assembly, and resulted in an addition of $1 million to the Center’s state appropriation.

Prior to joining Wake Forest, Edgeton served in central administration and hospital administration for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He spent the last six years of his tenure with UAB in the School of Medicine, which included terms as assistant dean for resource management and associate dean for administration and finance.

Edgeton received his B.S. degree from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and MPH and MBA degrees from UAB. Edgeton has extensive involvement in professional, community and civic organizations. He lives in Raleigh with his wife. They have two adult children. 

Tony Copeland

Secretary of Commerce, State of North Carolina

Tony Copeland became North Carolina’s Secretary of Commerce in January 2017, named to the post by Governor Roy Cooper and marking a return to the agency for the experienced business executive.

Earlier in his career, Copeland served as an Assistant Commerce Secretary, leading the recruitment of nearly $12 billion in investment and the creation of nearly 100,000 jobs. In this capacity, he worked with numerous international companies in China, Japan, Europe, South Korea and Israel, as well as a variety of domestic companies.

Copeland’s experience spans a wide range of economic development and business leadership roles. During the past decade, as part of a major law firm, Copeland has brought significant new corporate investment into North Carolina from both domestic and international sources. He brings an insider’s knowledge of the ways corporate investment and site decisions are made.

From 1992 to 2003, Copeland served as executive vice president, secretary and general counsel of BTI, a competitive telecommunications company, where he led the company’s growth from $38 million in revenues to more than $250 million. He led the senior executive team that secured $500 million in equity financing and planned, financed and installed more than 5,000 miles of fiber optic cable in the Carolinas and along the eastern seaboard.

A native of Hertford in the northeastern part of the state, Copeland is a graduate of Duke University and the Western Michigan University School of Law.

Aubrey Rothrock

Partner, Squire Patton Boggs

Aubrey Rothrock has extensive experience in managing all aspects of government relations initiatives for large domestic and multinational corporations. His practice includes monitoring and analyzing legislative and regulatory developments; drafting federal legislation, amendments and congressional testimony; and working directly with members of Congress, their staffs, and the Administration to enact or oppose pending legislation.

Ted Lehman

Chief of Staff, The Office of Senator Thom Tillis

bio coming

Pete Pellerito

Senior Policy Advisor, Biotechnology Innovation Organization

bio coming

John Conrad

President and CEO, Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization

John started at iBIO over 12 years ago, shortly after the new formation of iBIO, and has helped build the organization into one of the top state BIO associations. He has been the community lead for 2 BIO conventions in Chicago, developed and released the 2013  “Economic Engine of Biotechnology in Illinois”, and managing editor of the BIOLOGICALQUARTERLY.

John has an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago with a focus on Strategy, and an B.A. from Indiana University. John is passionate about the life sciences community; his mission is to build the connections and resources the community needs to catalyze growth

April Giles

President and CEO, Colorado BioScience Association

April serves at the Colorado Bioscience Association’s President & CEO. April focuses on the cultivation of community partnerships, provides strategic guidance the state’s office of economic development, and leads advocacy on behalf of the industry at both the state and federal levels. 

Additionally, April developed and serves as the President & CEO of the Colorado Bioscience Institute, a 501c3 related entity to the Association, setting strategy for Institute initiatives, and developing partnerships with local and national organizations related to workforce training and STEM programs. 

Prior to joining the CBSA, April held two positions at the University of Colorado over 6 years.  She worked in the Board of Regents Office supporting the nine elected officials and was recruited from that office to the University’s Heath Sciences campus where she had responsibilities involving community relations and organization of many of the Universities external partners.  In this capacity April worked with governmental agencies, professional organizations, the business community, state and federal legislators, media, and donors to the University of Colorado.  

John F.X. Heffernan

Principal, Park Street Strategies, LLC and Consultant, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council

John Heffernan is currently principal at Park Street Strategies, LLC, which he founded in 2014.  He represents a diverse clientele focused on biotechnology and life sciences, as well as other sectors within the innovation economy. He is a seasoned professional in association management, coalition building, government affairs and economic development.  He was formerly a member of the senior management team at MassBio, the largest life sciences trade association in the world, where he oversaw federal and state policy, as well as economic development. He spearheaded efforts to create and maintain a climate in which the life sciences industry can thrive.  He also led an effort to revitalize the Massachusetts Biotech Caucus, which creates a venue to educate legislative staff, elected and appointed officials and other stakeholders on the vital role innovation plays in the local economy and global healthcare.

John is a native of Boston and received a Bachelor of Arts from Fordham University and successfully completed the Emerging Leaders Program at the Center for Collaborative Leadership at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Chris Chung

CEO, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

In 2015, Christopher Chung joined the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) as Chief Executive Officer. Chris brings more than 20 years of state-level economic development experience to his role.
As a public-private partnership, the EDPNC is responsible for a number of economic development functions on behalf of the State of North Carolina, including new business recruitment, existing business support, international trade and export assistance, small business start-up counseling, and tourism, sports, and film promotion. With a staff of more than 60 professionals and an annual operating budget of more than $24 million, the EDPNC is focused on advancing the economic interests of North Carolina’s 100 counties and more than 10 million residents.

Chris previously held various executive and management responsibilities at the Missouri Partnership (2007-2014) and the Ohio Department of Development, now known as JobsOhio (1997-2007).
Chris attended The Ohio State University (OSU), graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a double-major in Japanese and economics. He also completed significant coursework towards a Master’s in Public Policy and Management.

Chris and his wife Emily reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.

David Spratley

Vice President, Business Recruitment, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

bio coming

Woody Hydrick

Managing Principal, Global Location Strategies

Woody provides location advisory consulting services for capital investment projects including new developments, relocations, expansions or consolidations. Throughout his career, he has executed site searches for clients in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia for manufacturing, distribution and headquarters operations representing billions of dollars in capital investments, as well as thousands of jobs.

He also provides economic development consulting services that take the form of industrial site audits, target industry analyses, site competitiveness studies, industrial asset optimization studies, industrial site adaptation and re-use, and coal power plant site re-use studies. He lectures frequently, presenting to statewide economic development, utility, oil & gas, and biotech associations throughout the United States.

He has recently presented to the Northeast US Petrochemicals Conference, the Texas Emissions Credits Conference, and the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA).

Prior to joining Global Location Strategies, Woody was a Managing Director in the Global Business Consulting practice of Cushman & Wakefield, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate companies.

Sarah Raehl

Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting

Sarah is a Senior Manager in Deloitte Consulting’s Real Estate & Location Strategy practice. Sarah has over 13 years of experience advising companies in their facility and location strategy decisions to determine where to locate operations on a global scale to enter new markets, cut costs, and improve access to talent. She focuses on enabling alignment of organizational, human and physical assets with corporate strategies and geographies. Sarah has managed and performed global location strategy projects for numerous corporate clients across industries and functional spectrum, with emphasis in life sciences, consumer products, manufacturing and headquarters operations.

Sarah’s areas of focus include facility and location strategy, location screening/assessment, field due diligence, labor market analysis, labor market interviews, incentive negotiations, economic development strategy, and economic impact modeling.

Sarah holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.



Raleigh Marriott City Center
500 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC 27601

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View discounted rooms at the Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown (next door to the Marriott City Center).

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