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Three-Year Collaborative Partnership between Catawba College and NCRC Cranks Up

May 17, 2017

Category: Academics, Business & Economics, Events, Students

ncrc2017.jpgA three-year partnership between Catawba College’s Ketner School of Business and the Kannapolis-based North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) produced its first fruits in early May. 

That’s when students from a Catawba Information Systems class delivered the first phase of a searchable database they spent the spring semester developing that will help the NCRC and the scientists at its eight university research centers target their business development efforts to companies in need of nutrition research.

While studying formal planning practices, the students, all from the Ketner School of Business and enrolled in Dr. Pam Thompson’s Information Systems Planning class, worked in tandem with NCRC’s Director of Business Development Chris Ervin. They completed the first stage of a larger project that will ultimately provide opportunities for research collaboration and new tools to help identify research and funding partners for the campus.

The students’ presentation was made May 8 to NCRC stakeholders including Mark Spitzer, Vice President of Operations for Castle & Cooke North Carolina; Ervin, a 1983 Catawba alumnus; Jennifer Woodford, Director of Communications and Campus Development; and other representatives from CCNC and NCRC.  Ketner School of Business Dean Jay Abraham also attended. 

The presentation included a demonstration of a custom Salesforce system developed by the students which included information on research centers and institutes, Funding sources, and funding opportunities.  Students designed and built the custom Salesforce database while using formal project planning methodologies to manage the work flow and stakeholder communication.

Catawba students who participated in this project included Rodney Beaty, Russell Brown, Austin Humphries, Crystal Reyes, Brad Smethurst, Jordan Taylor, and Zackary Thompson.

Dean Abraham reported that “the work product was very well received by the management team of NCRC.”  Next steps for the collaborative program include summer internships for a KSOB student and planning for the fall semester project.

About the North Carolina Research Campus
The North Carolina Research Campus, located in Kannapolis, N.C. near Charlotte, is a scientific community of eight universities, the David H. Murdock Research Institute, global companies and entrepreneurs that shares a mission of improving human health through nutrition and exercise. Research and development focus on safer, more nutritious crops, healthier foods and precision nutrition. Learn more at

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