Tech Parks Arizona continues to grow as it recently appointed former Association of University Research Parks CEO to take the lead.
Carol Stewart was recently named associate vice president of Tech Parks Arizona- University of Arizona. Before moving into her new role, Stewart served as CEO of the Association of University Research Parks.
“She has more than 20 years of experience working with research parks, technology commercialization, business incubation, governmental relations and business development,” according to a press release.
As AVP, she will oversee the UA Tech Park at Rita Road and continue development of the UA Tech Park at The Bridges.
With her tech park expertise, Stewart has clear priorities as she settles into her new position.
Stewart plans to focus on strengthening the internal team at Tech Parks Arizona in her first three months as associate vice president.
“So, really doing an assessment, looking at where we’re moving to and making sure that we have the strongest team possible,” Stewart said. “It already is an amazing team, but sometimes you have to reassess it for where you’re going.”
She will also prioritize maintaining a relationship with stakeholders and the community. To do so, Tech Parks Arizona hosts neighborhood meetings.
“We just want to bring everybody up to speed and give them comfort that all the projects are moving forward,” Stewart said.
In addition to maintaining a relationship with stakeholders and the community, Tech Parks Arizona welcomes those with a business background to mentor, advise and participate.
“Research parks themselves are a technology playground. Corporations big and small have the opportunity to co-locate with startups and collaborate with university researchers and spin-off companies,” Stewart said. “It already is that place where government, industry and academia work together.”
Tech and research parks bring industries of various types and sizes into a space and allow for collaboration, learning and new opportunities.
If someone with a business background wants to get involved, “there’s always an opportunity to work closely with the startups and companies [and] with startup founders to help them launch a new company, scale a new company.”
She added, “Typically mentorship and the advisory roles are free of charge up front, but sometimes it leads to strong relationships long-term as these companies become successful. And that’s why business professionals do jump in.”
The UA Tech Park at Rita Road is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
“It’s the year of celebration for its 25th anniversary and it’s a major milestone in any tech park’s history in North America,” Stewart said. “There’s a handful of parks that have met that milestone, so it is definitely a celebration and we’re going to be celebrating with the partners, clients and companies that have been on this journey with us.”
The UA Tech Park at Rita Road is about 15 miles from the UA campus, so much of the work and collaboration that occurs there is with researchers and corporations. Due to the formality of the participants, the interactions are more scheduled and purposeful.
The developing UA Tech Park at The Bridges is in closer proximity to the university.
“At the Bridges, we see it being a little more off-the-cuff and a little more collision-oriented because there’s going to be transportation back and forth between The Bridges and the campus,” Stewart explained.