RENCI taps Georgia Tech for economic development director

David A. Knowles, an executive experienced in economic development, business assistance and strategic planning, will lead economic development programs at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), RENCI Director Dan Reed announced today.

Knowles currently works as business development manager for Georgia Tech’s Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, a division of the university’s Economic Development Institute that provides technical expertise and funding to trade-impacted manufacturers in eight states, including North Carolina. At RENCI, Knowles will develop programs and partnerships that leverage technological resources and expertise to help North Carolina businesses compete and prosper in the knowledge-age economy. He begins his tenure on July 31.

“Global communications have created a truly global economy, and that means North Carolina companies compete not only with companies in Virginia or the Midwest, but with those in China, Korea, and India,” said Reed. “David understands the needs of our region and the realities of the new global marketplace, and he is very aware of the role of emerging technologies and innovation in maintaining global competitiveness. He will be an important ingredient in our efforts to revitalize North Carolina’s business sector and workforce through innovative partnerships.”

At the Economic Development Institute, Knowles’ main focus has been on creating new outreach efforts through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Center and on establishing relationships with trade associations, economic development authorities and chambers of commerce. Before his work at Georgia Tech, Knowles was vice president of operations for Interra International, Inc., an international food trading company, where he managed international logistics, export documentation, and service contract negotiations and monitored U.S. and international regulatory issues. He was also chief operating officer of International Trade Management, Inc., an Atlanta area firm that develops transactional software for Fortune 500 food producers. His sales, operations, and business development work have taken him around the world, including Russia, Eastern and Western Europe, the Caribbean and Asia.

“RENCI is a great opportunity for me to combine my practical business experience and my knowledge of emerging technologies and their important role in maintaining a competitive advantage,” said Knowles. “I look forward to creating some truly innovative partnerships between the North Carolina academic research community and the state’s large and small businesses.”