The leadership of the Innovation Quarter is comprised of public and private enterprise leaders of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Together, they guide the ecosystem and real estate development that makes this place one of the fastest-growing urban innovation districts in the United States.
The roots of the Innovation Quarter lie with a partnership formed by city, county and state government, local businesses, developers and community members and a strategic partnership between Wake Forest Baptist Health and real estate and development partner Wexford Science & Technology. Together, these entities share the same passion for encouraging greater collaboration, connectivity, and congregation of people and ideas.
Julie A. Freischlag is the chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. Wake Forest Baptist Health includes a growing, multi-hospital health system and physician network, the state-of-the-art and highly competitive Wake Forest School of Medicine, and the school’s technology transfer and commercialization arm, Wake Forest Innovations. As CEO and dean, she has the overall responsibility for the health system’s clinical, academic and innovation enterprises and its annual operating budget of $3 billion. Previously, Freischlag was vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis.
Terry Hales leads the team responsible for growing the Innovation Quarter. Hales was heavily involved in creating the initial master plan for the Innovation Quarter, then called the Piedmont Triad Research Park, from 2002-2012. In February 2018, he re-joined the Innovation Quarter team to lead planning for the next phase of development and creation of strategies for a sustainable innovation ecosystem. Hales first joined Wake Forest School of Medicine in 1996 with a background in finance, including accounting positions with both public accounting and industry. Since then, he has held evolving roles within the institution, including assistant dean for finance, vice president for financial planning and chief financial officer, Wake Forest University Health Sciences and vice chief officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He is currently senior vice president of academic administration and operations and executive vice dean.
Pleasants leads site development and infrastructure for the Innovation Quarter. He was the co-founder of Meridian Realty Group in 1986, and by 1990, Meridian was the top commercial brokerage firm in Winston-Salem. After divesting his interest in Meridian, he formed and managed Forsyth Partners Brokerage, which became Carter of the Carolinas, a partnership with Carter of Atlanta. This company became the first full-service commercial real estate provider in the area with offices in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. Pleasants also later helped form Magnolia Partners, developer for One West Fourth Street, a 430,000-square-foot, Class A office building in downtown Winston-Salem. He now owns Pleasants Properties and also serves in various community leadership positions and with numerous economic development professional organizations in Winston-Salem.
With a career spanning more than 20 years in clinical research, innovation, technology and strategic engagement, Dr. Shen has held a variety of leadership positions involving program design and development, strategic planning, and corporate operations. Dr. Shen earned her PharmD at the University of Southern California in 1998. She completed her post-doctoral research fellowship with Rutgers University, New Jersey. During her post-doctoral fellowship, she completed her clinical training at the National Cancer Institute, NIH. In 2019, Dr. Shen was named Head of Innovation Sector Development for the Innovation Quarter. In this role, she works to establish, build and guide critical focus around specific areas of assets to drive transformative innovation. Dr. Shen serves as a mentor and/or board member within the innovation ecosystem such as Winston Starts, Center for Creative Economy and Venture Cafe.
Kaplan joined Wake Forest School of Medicine in 2012, focused primarily on academic resource support to faculty researchers and educators along with staff and students. With a passion for urban planning and design, Kaplan joined the Innovation Quarter in May 2018 to lead the operations team in real estate and property management, parking, leasing support, capital project implementation, event support and Innovation Quarter mapping and data resources. Current projects include a GIS mapping study to inventory the entire Innovation Quarter ecology and landscape and master planning for the next phases of development.
James Patterson has led the marketing and communications efforts on behalf of the Innovation Quarter since 2015. He is responsible for all external communications, media relations, content marketing, branding and digital strategy. Patterson has provided integrated marketing strategy and direction on behalf of many national nonprofits and government organizations, including AARP Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Education. A tireless advocate for his local community, he currently sits on the board of directors of several Winston-Salem nonprofits, including the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods and Leadership Winston-Salem.
Discover what makes the Innovation Quarter a spot for everyone. Learn about the vision that turned the former tobacco district into a knowledge community and meet the variety of real-life people—entrepreneurs, students and artists—who call this place home. Explore all the Innovation Quarter has to offer and see what the future looks like here—with you in it.
Whether you’re an established company or a recent start-up, the Innovation Quarter is a place for you to thrive. From developmental space and work space to suit all sizes, to living space and recreational amenities for you and your employees, the Innovation Quarter provides the resources your company needs to grow.