ICAR Set to Help Upstate Compete


September 10, 2008

By Kelly VanLeeuwen – Tribune-Times

Along the U.S. 276 corridor, grading crews are clearing ground for the St. Francis hospital campus and the Millennium Apartments complex.

About four and a half years ago, on the same stretch of highway, Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) was in the same shape, according to executive director Bob Geolas, who spoke at a Greater Mauldin Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon on the ICAR site Sept. 3.

“There was nothing here,” he said. Since then, there has been “substantial progress in a very short time.”

Geolas called the vision set for the complex at that time “bold and provocative,” then added “it’s meant to be. We’re not interested in being second best. (Already we’ve) surpassed about 70 percent of our peers and 134 of the nation’s (top) research parks.”

The research park, a mix of university and business, is meant to focus on program-driven initiatives, instead of simply building and leasing real estate, Geolas said.

It is also meant to allow the Upstate to compete on a global stage, he said.

Instead of losing the Upstate’s young technologically-minded students to companies overseas with amenities, it is meant to attract them.

Instead of isolating business from research, it is meant to co-mingle them, he said, as well as promote partnerships with the surrounding businesses, groups and city governments.



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