WCU College of Business speaker series kicks off Aug. 29

Pharmaceutical executive to kick off WCU College of Business speaker series Aug. 29

CULLOWHEE – Roland Johnson, chairman, chief executive officer and founder of Piedmont Pharmaceuticals of Greensboro, will launch the “Insights and Reflections” speaker series sponsored by Western Carolina University’s College of Business.

The talk, part of a College of Business fall semester kick-off event that also will include a special presentation to a longtime supporter of the college and a cookout for students and faculty, will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, in Room 101 of the Forsyth Building at WCU. It is open free of charge.

“Insights and Reflections” is a series of talks covering topics such as secrets to success, formation of critical thought, methods of achievement and similar processes meant to advance students’ thinking as they progress through their college experience.

A 1976 graduate of WCU, Johnson has 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He was one of a small team that formed the animal health division within Ciba-Geigy, now known as Novartis Animal Health, where he was instrumental in designing and implementing strategies, structures and operating systems that contributed to the division’s success.

In 1996, he raised $10 million to launch a new animal health company, Blue Ridge Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to IDEXX Laboratories in 1998. In 2001, he founded Piedmont Pharmaceuticals to invent, patent and develop human and veterinary pharmaceuticals.

Johnson received the Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence from the Triad Advisory Committee of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in 2005, and was a regional finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2007 and 2009. He has been a participant in the Piedmont Triad Entrepreneurial Network’s Life Sciences Executive Roundtable and serves on the board of directors of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation and the Western Carolina University Foundation.

For more information, call the College of Business at 828-227-7412.


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