RICHMOND, VA – Virginia’s outgoing deputy secretary of commerce and trade has been named to lead the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park on an interim basis while a national search is conducted to replace the park’s retiring president and chief executive officer.
The two boards that oversee the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park, a 34-acre site of offices and laboratories in downtown Richmond, announced Tuesday that Carrie Roth has been named interim executive director of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park Authority and interim CEO and president of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park.
The appointment is effective today.
Roth has been Gov. Bob McDonnell’s deputy secretary of commerce and trade since 2010. She will serve temporarily as the park’s director while a five-member transition committee conducts a national search to fill the permanent position being vacated by Robert T. Skunda, the park’s president and chief executive officer since 1997.
Skunda announced this year that he would step down Dec. 31. He will continue to have an advisory role as the park’s president emeritus.
Roth, 40, said Tuesday she hopes to be considered for the permanent job. In the meantime, Roth said she will be working with the park’s authority and corporate boards to develop a strategic vision plan.
“Life sciences is one of the core industry sectors of the commonwealth,” she said. “It is imperative to continue to build on its strength, not only in the Richmond region but the entire commonwealth.”
Roth grew up in Chesterfield County and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University.
She has worked for 20 years in government, for nonprofit organizations and in the private sector. As deputy secretary of commerce and trade, Roth oversaw policy development and implementation and economic development project management.
In a statement released Tuesday, the BioTech Park boards credited Roth with helping lead an effort before the Virginia General Assembly to provide more than $113 million in new economic development funding — including more than $57 million to support Virginia’s innovation economy.
The research park has more than 60 tenant companies, research institutes and public agencies occupying 1.3 million square feet and employing more than 2,700 people. The park has the capacity to develop an additional 250,000 to 500,000 square feet within its original master-planned area between North Third and North 10th streets, and north of East Leigh Street.
Major offices and laboratories in the park include Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. and Altria Group Inc.’s Center for Research and Technology. The park also is home to the United Network for Organ Sharing and the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services.
A number of smaller biotechnology and life science companies also have offices and laboratory space in the park. Those include companies from Israel, the United Kingdom and China, and the park has housed French, German and Scandinavian companies.
“Carrie is a dedicated leader in our commonwealth,” Michael Rao, chairman of the park’s corporate and authority boards and VCU president, said in a statement.
“Her extensive experience in public policy creation and implementation, economic growth, business recruitment and development, and her close connections throughout the commonwealth and beyond will serve her well as she leads our mission to solidify Central Virginia as a destination for innovation,” he said.