Forsyth Tech Moves Into 525@Vine

by Daniel Schere

Forsyth Tech is expanding its small business, corporate training and biotechnology programs to downtown Winston-Salem’s Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

College and business leaders gathered in the 525@Vine building Wednesday morning for the official dedication of a 24,000-square foot section of the building that will house the college’s small business center, training center for RJ Reynolds, BB&T Biotechonology Program and Wells Fargo Nanotechnology program.

College President Dr. Gary Green said they began the process of trying to build a downtown facility in 2005 with their Momentum Capital Campaign.

“Over a period of five years, we were involved in fundraising in our community and got tremendous support from our business community in Winston-Salem as well as from individual donors in the community to support us being here,” he said.

Green called the innovation quarter “The most exciting economic development initiative in Winston-Salem,” and said he hopes the environment encourages young people to become involved in business and industry.

“When you’re down here, you’re constantly in partnership and relationship with other companies that are growing and developing and having a lot of energy,” he said.

Jennifer Coulombe, the college’s Dean of Business and Industry Services, said a number of large employers will be partnering with institutions like Herbalife and Caterpillar that have expanded or moved to the Triad.

“More than anything, it brands us as the arm of the college that serves business and industry,” she said. “A lot of folks are familiar with Forsyth Tech in terms of the curriculum side or the two year degree or the transfer programs, but this really helps to give us the identity as the arm that serves business.”

Coulombe said she hopes the program will be able to display services they can provide to potential companies that are considering moving here.

“The community college in any community, but specifically in Forsyth and Stokes County is really an integral part of recruitment and retention in a business strategy so we do plan to continue to be a major player in the economic development arena,” she said.