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The 336 | Venture Cafe Blog

December 5, 2017 | Innovation + Financial Services: Four Questions with Allegacy Federal Credit Union

The Triad is home to thriving life sciences firms, but it’s also got a rich heritage in financial services including the headquarters for Allegacy Federal Credit Union. Tucked just off Stratford Road, their campus features a waterfall, local artists and resident geese and their commitment to supporting the local economy runs strong.

Allegacy serves more than 700 businesses across North Carolina, and like other financial services institutions, they’re retooling their offerings to reflect technology, the community and the new realities of today’s customers. We sat down with Tracy Myers, VP Business and Community Development, to discuss the future of fintech, and what’s happening right now in the Triad.

Q: What is Allegacy’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship here in the Triad? What are some examples?  

A: Our AllHealth Wellness Account rewards members for their active lifestyle. Our AllHealth Lite product offers small businesses an economical option to offer their employees a wellness plan. Healthcare Financial Advising is an innovative product that helps show people how much their health risk factors could cost them in healthcare costs in retirement. Our Interactive Teller Machines allow independent transactions like traditional ATM’s with added functionality of cashing checks and talking to a live person when needed.

Q: How do you think the financial services industry will change in the next 5 years?  

A: I think we’ll see more electronic options with a personal touch and products that combine financial services and financial education customized for the individual’s lifestyle.

Q: What are you most excited about right now that’s happening in the Triad?  

A: We are excited that the Triad is committed to expanding efforts in healthcare, education and biotech and we are thrilled that we are here to adapt and grow with those changes.

Q: Finish this sentence: In 10 years, Winston Salem will be….

A: The hub for cutting edge healthcare. Though technology will be at the forefront of how transactions are completed in many business sectors, Winston Salem will still retain its personable small town feel while harboring the technology of much larger cities. We will continue to be an integral part of the Triad and partner with the other Triad cities as well as Charlotte and the Triangle to create a place where the businesses of the future want to call home.

Thanks to Allegacy for being our Lead Sponsor for Biotech Night. We appreciate your support and community involvement!

June 16 2017 | Three Questions with NC Biotechnology Center

As we count down to Biotech Night @ Venture Café on June 22, we reached out to Nancy Johnston, executive director of the NC Biotechnology Center here in the Piedmont Triad for some context.

Here are some important things to know for us non-scientists:

  • You don’t have to have a PhD to be interested in biotechnology. It impacts anyone who wears a fitness device, gets a flu shot, eats vegetables that are more resistant to pests, or is interested in cleaner energy.
  • Biotech means good jobs. There are more than 650 companies here in NC, employing 63,000 workers and creating $86 billion in annual economic activity.
  • Right here in the Piedmont, there are 74 companies with nearly 9500 workers.

Q: Nancy, what distinguishes our region from other biotech hubs in the state?

A: In our 12-county region, we are diverse and continue to gain traction with new entrepreneurial advancements and existing company growth. There is no single story that defines the success of the Triad, but more of a sum of all parts from our growing cluster of biotech companies, the strength of our academic research institutions and the value of our research park and innovation communities. There are many reasons to be proud of our contributions to the state. Alamance County leads the nation’s small metro regions in research, testing and medical labs. We have the second highest concentration of Ag biotech companies. And we’re home to The Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering, an academic collaboration between NC A&T and UNC Greensboro, which also houses the only Zeiss Helium Ion Microscope in the southeastern United States as part of its Nanomanufacturing Consortium. And so much more…

Q: What’s new around our region when it comes to biotech?

A: Well, the region just attracted 400 high level attendees from across the state and beyond to celebrate biotechnology excellence at Triad BioNight 2017 with Keynote Speaker, Dave King, Chairman and CEO of LabCorp. The energy and enthusiasm of our advisory committee and key leaders have provided momentum for advancing innovation and job growth. And, right now there’s a lot of activity happening from the new pharmacy school at High Point University to the new Center of Excellence in Biotechnology at Alamance Community College. Workforce training here is among the most established in the country with the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce at Forsyth Tech and continues to push new boundaries. The FDA just approved a device created by Cook Medical that helps newborns avoid surgery from esophageal birth defects. And the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) is leading a $20 million effort to apply advanced manufacturing to regenerative medicine. Regional innovation can be discovered in areas such as Ag Biotech, nanobiotechnology, diagnostics, regenerative medicine, biopharmaceuticals and medical devices. Just to name a few…

Q: What’s the most surprising thing about biotech here in the Piedmont to non-scientists?

A: People just don’t realize how much biotechnology touches their daily lives. For example, if you or a loved one have benefited from healthcare innovations to help treat, manage, or even cure disease, you have experienced the value of clinical trials conducted in our area. You are more than likely using products with oils extracted from novel crops made here. Or if you have a dog, chances are you’ve given your pet a pharmaceutical that was researched and developed here. If you’ve been to the NC Zoo, you’ve been to one of the hubs for animal science and horticulture in our state. Basically, biotechnology provides solutions to help heal, fuel and feed our community and the world. Biotechnology innovation can be found most everywhere and our region is one of the strongest in the state. In fact, we’re the second largest behind Research Triangle Park.

Join us to learn the stories behind the discoveries and the brains behind the business at Biotech Night @ VentureCafeWS on June 22. Thanks to the Piedmont Triad office of the NC Biotechnology Center for being our Lead Sponsor, and to NK Patent Law and the Greater Gift Initiative for their partnership.

See you at Biotech Night @ Venture Café at the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter!  Click here to check out the detailed schedule!