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First 60 Days for the Launch Director of NCSU’s Plant Sciences Initiative

First 60 Days for the Launch Director of NCSU’s Plant Sciences Initiative


Stephen Briggs is just about 60 days on the job as the launch director of the NC State College of Ag and Life Sciences Plant Sciences Initiative.  Briggs explains his role in the PSI project:

“My role here as launch director, is to get those parties working together, as well as to understand the challenges that are coming and get some research projects designed around there.  Also, to get a building built here on the Centennial Campus at NC State that will house all of this collaboration efforts.

“We do have some projects underway here where researchers are working together, either faculty working with private industry, or faculty working here together on some of those grand challenges that are going to absolutely be game changers in the face of agriculture as we  move forward.”

Now, it’s been said that your position is a timed position, if you will.  You expect to be in place three to five years.

“Yes.  Three to four to five years will be the timeframe, and that’s my job to lay the groundwork to pave the way for the Plant Sciences Initiative to be a sustaining program long after I leave.  So, part of my job is to get that framework laid, and towards the end of my tenure here, I will select a true executive director that will run this center.”

Let’s talk about what you’re working on first.

“The first sixty days here I’ve come into the University and talked to the faculty and staff that have invested their time and energies thus far into this project, to talking to grower associations to talking to our government officials, trying to get their ideas.  So, I’ve been meeting with a lot of those key parties and interests, and trying to get a collective vision from all those different groups.  Also, trying to understand some of the research projects that are ongoing here at the University.  The other part, is also starting again working with our foundation colleagues here, and understand the path forward for continued fundraising.  I want to make sure that people, our taxpayers and everybody involved know that we have some great things going on here.  So, that’s kind of my role here, is to let everyone know that there’s some tremendous research going on here, currently.”

Image: NC State University'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.