The Research Technology Park Board has chosen Peter H. Chapman as the new executive director of the Research and Technology Park (RTPark) of the University of the Virgin Islands. The announcement follows an intensive international executive search by The PACE Group.
“Mr. Chapman was a clear choice to take the RTPark to the next level in growth and development,” said Edward Thomas, chairman of the RTPark Board. “His national and international experience, knowledge of economic and community development, and his ability to manage and lead were the reasons we selected him from several great candidates.”
Chapman comes to the RTPark from the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), where he served as executive vice president for business development. In this role, he led the execution of a sector-based strategy to encourage larger domestic and foreign companies to locate and expand operations in Detroit.
An accomplished economic and community re-development strategist and practitioner, Chapman holds over 20 years of executive leadership experience in several other U.S. markets, including Boston, Nashville, Denver and Virginia. He has conceptualized and implemented a diverse array of award-winning and nationally-recognized projects and initiatives. Among other successes, he re-energized and expanded DEGC’s business development function by establishing a high-performing team that facilitated approximately 4,600 new jobs through the attraction of companies such as Tata Technologies, Google and Microsoft.
Immediately prior to joining DEGC in 2016, Chapman served for eight years in cabinet-level municipal government leadership positions in Virginia’s urban cities, primarily as deputy mayor for planning and economic development in Richmond. There he built and directed a team whose business expansion and retention efforts targeted global healthcare and pharmaceutical firms, which helped to substantially advance the revitalization of that city’s central business district.
Additionally, he crafted and led key elements of Richmond’s anti-poverty initiative such as the East End Transformation and the Center for Workforce Innovation. He also spearheaded Richmond’s successful bid to secure the 2015 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Road Cycling Championship, which attracted 450,000 visitors and achieved an $86 million regional economic impact. Chapman’s time in Virginia was also distinguished by an intense two-year stint in Norfolk, where he served as executive director and deputy city manager (a dual role) of the Economic Development Authority. His efforts to expand and diversify the local economy resulted in the attraction of nearly 3,000 new financial services jobs. He also established an award-winning loan program—the Global Initiatives Fund—to support manufacturers engaged in overseas export activities.
Also, Chapman previously led the portfolio of economic and community development agencies for Denver, Colorado, where he was responsible for a cumulative annual budget of $150 million and approximately 400 employees. During his tenure, he advanced urban re-investment initiatives such as the nationally-recognized Mariposa transit-oriented, mixed-income housing redevelopment and the $1.5 billion 970-unit Uptown Project. Both projects helped to expand the footprint of Denver’s downtown. He also served as the architect of an ambitious plan to strengthen the city’s infrastructure of economic development finance programs, which resulted in the city’s first allocation of federal New Markets Tax Credits and the establishment of Denver’s first comprehensively-focused Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
Earlier in his career, he served in the economic and community development practice group at a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based global consulting firm, Abt Associates. During that time, he authored or co-authored several well-regarded studies on urban revitalization for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and several national foundations.
Chapman holds a Master of Public Policy from Tufts University. He also completed graduate studies in real estate finance and political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Wesleyan University. A New York City native with family ties to the Caribbean, he is an avid cyclist and runner, and a perennial student of urban history and policy. Chapman and his wife, Gail, are the proud parents of two kids, Evan and Alana.
“I am truly honored to have been selected to serve as the executive director for the Research and Technology Park,” Chapman said. “The RTPark is a unique and vitally important institutional mechanism for attracting investment to the Virgin Islands, and I am excited about working collaboratively with the board, the leadership of UVI and other key stakeholders to advance the economic growth of the territory.”
Dr. David Hall, president of UVI said, “Peter Chapman’s background and expertise provides compelling evidence that the RTPark will continue to make a significant and defining contribution to the growth and enhancement of the university.”
Chapman will assume his new role on Sept. 5.