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About the Innovation Quarter

One of the historic smokestacks from the renovated R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company factory.

The Roots of Innovation

The roots of the Innovation Quarter lie within a partnership formed by city, county and state governments, 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 the congregation of people and ideas.

Peer into the Past

Winston-Salem, NC’s long-standing culture of innovation has existed since the Moravians settled here. It continued with the manufacturing boom in the early 20th century, signaled by the exponential growth of companies like R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Hanesbrands. As Winston-Salem transitioned from “Camel City” to “the City of Arts and Innovation” at the end of the 20th century, the focus on innovation changed from tobacco to technology.

The iQ of Today

The vision for a research park district in Winston-Salem emerged from the community. Innovation Quarter, as it is today, grew from that seed, led by Wake Forest Health Sciences in partnership with city, county and state governments, local businesses, developers and community members. All who participated in its development shared a vision of creating a thriving downtown that would sustain the region and beyond.

These partnerships have also shaped the evolution of the Innovation Quarter and set it on the path toward what it is becoming—a high-tech ecosystem that serves business, academic and societal needs.

A Shared Vision for the Future

Building an innovation district takes a city. Today’s Innovation Quarter is the result of a partnership among many public and private entities in and around Winston-Salem—but this is only the beginning.

Since 2012, 1.7 million square feet of mixed-use space has been completed, integrating new construction with revitalized historic buildings. And this is only the beginning. Totaling 330+ acres, the Innovation Quarter has more development to come, and you could be part of the next 2.4 million square feet.

Meet Innovation Quarter Leadership

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.

Julie Freischlag is the Chief Executive Officer of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and the Dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Julie A. Freischlag, MD, FACS, FRCSEd(Hon), DFSVS

Chief Executive Officer, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist
Dean, Wake Forest School of Medicine

Julie A. Freischlag is the chief executive officer of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. Her leadership includes overseeing 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 Jr. is the Senior Vice President of Academic Administration and Operations and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, as well as the Executive Vice Dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine..

Terry Hales Jr., MBA, CPA

Senior Vice President, Academic Administration and Operations, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist
Executive Vice Dean, Wake Forest School of Medicine

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 rejoined the Innovation Quarter team to lead planning for the development phase and the 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.

Graydon Pleasants is the Innovation Quarter's Head of Real Estate Development.

Graydon Pleasants

Head of Real Estate Development

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 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 serves in various community leadership positions and with numerous economic development professional organizations in Winston-Salem.

Jason Kaplan is the Associate Vice President of Innovation Quarter Operations and Wake Forest School of Medicine Academic Resources.

Jason Kaplan, MUP

Associate Vice President, Innovation Quarter Operations and Wake Forest School of Medicine Academic Resources

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 subsequent phases of development.

James Patterson is the Innovation Quarter's Director of Marketing and Communications.

James Patterson

Director, Marketing & Communications

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 has served on the board of directors of several Winston-Salem nonprofits, including the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods and Leadership Winston-Salem.

Lindsey Schwab

Lindsey Schwab

Director, Community Relations

Innovation Quarter and is responsible for facilitating and managing key academic, entrepreneurial and community partnerships as well as supporting the iQ’s economic development strategy. Schwab joined the team in 2012 to implement placemaking best practices within the newly redeveloped Innovation Quarter as a means of engaging with the broader community. Prior to joining the iQ, she worked as the events manager for a B2B human capital management software firm. Schwab believes in the power of inclusive innovation through intentional collaboration and has served on the board for several Winston-Salem nonprofits, including the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and Agile City. In addition, Lindsey is an active member of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of Forsyth County.