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Alumni Magazine

From the board

Learn more about the work of the NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors.

Two workers dressed in full lab gear working at an industrial table.
The Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) is a unique, cross-disciplinary instructional center that provides educational and training opportunities to develop skilled professionals for the biomanufacturing industry. It also provides bioprocess development and analytical services to a wide range of customers from academia and industry. Photo by Marc Hall

The NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc. was established in 1944 to aid and promote, by financial assistance and otherwise, engineering education and research at NC State. A board of directors made up of alumni and friends of the College of Engineering works with the Foundation staff and the dean of engineering to set the Foundation’s agenda. The board is led by President Nelson Peeler, Jr. and Vice-President Deborah Young.

Industry Partners Event highlights biomanufacturing’s positive impact

The fifth annual Industry Partners Event, hosted by the NC State Engineering Foundation Board of Directors, emphasized how the Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) has helped position the state at the forefront of the industry, which has brought in new jobs and billions of dollars.

NC Department of Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, an NC State alumna and biotechnology executive, opened the June 2 event as the keynote speaker and noted that more than 8,000 jobs have been created in North Carolina by biomanufacturing companies since 2018.

The event featured four panelists who are helping North Carolina remain a leader in the biomanufacturing space.

Ruben Carbonell, Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and BTEC Distinguished Fellow, and Gary Gilleskie, executive director of BTEC, have helped guide and grow the center, which opened in 2007 with support from the Golden LEAF Foundation and the state legislature.

Chad Henry, corporate vice president / general manager, Novo Nordisk, emphasized the important role that BTEC has in filling a growing demand for biomanufacturing employees in the Triangle. Elice Kitchen-McKinley, a bioprocess engineer at Novartis Gene Therapies, was drawn to biomanufacturing when she saw the impact it has on improving human health, especially after her father was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease. She is one of the many students who minored in biomanufacturing through courses at BTEC and works in the Triangle.

At the heart of the discussion was the way in which biomanufacturing has become an economic driver for North Carolina. Both Pamela Townsend, chair of the Board of Directors’ advocacy committee and moderator of the panel, and Anna Knight, director of development and advocacy committee member, noted there is a need for continued investment in BTEC.

“The purpose of this event is to highlight the value of the College of Engineering to the economy in North Carolina, and the world,” said Townsend. “BTEC is a true collaborative public-private partnership that is now attracting more dollars to the state.”

As more biomanufacturing companies seek to come to North Carolina, public and private investment is essential to grow BTEC’s faculty, staff and lab space, in order to keep up with the increasing demand for educated workers, professional training and development of new manufacturing technologies. While NC State has long been at the forefront, new biomanufacturing centers are growing in other parts of the U.S. and world. BTEC aims to be a collaborator with these new centers, while also continuing to break new ground and draw economic investments to North Carolina.

Get involved

To learn more about board service for the College of Engineering or to nominate someone, contact Sara Seltzer at