2018 Featured Speakers

Opening Plenary (Monday, October 16)

North Carolina Welcoming Remarks

  • Steve Vacendak, Executive Director, NC Beautiful

Steve Vacendak began his basketball career at Duke University in 1962, and in 1966 was named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, as well as MVP of the ACC tournament. During Vacendak's career, the Blue Devils were 72-14 on the hardwood. They finished second and third in the nation during his playing career, and he was captain of the 1966 team. In 1986, Vacendak was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame, and in 1999 he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. In March of 2011 Steve was selected as a Legend of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball, and in 2017 Steve was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

Following graduation from Duke, Vacendak played three seasons in the American Basketball Association with teams in Miami and Pittsburgh; and while at Pittsburgh, the Pipers won the first American Basketball Association championship.

The Scranton, Pennsylvania native coached at Greensboro College during the 1979-80 campaign. Before coaching at Greensboro College, he worked as East Coast Regional Manager in sales and marketing for Converse Rubber Company.

From 1980-1985, Vacendak was Associate Athletic Director at Duke University, where he handled the daily administrative duties of the Athletic Director's Office and was instrumental in the hiring of Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Steve Vacendak completed eleven years at Winthrop University as Director of Athletics, and served in the dual role of Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach from 1986 through 1992.

Steve also served two years as chairman of the board of directors of the York County (SC) Boys and Girls Club. Since 2000 he has been a member of the Advancement Council of the College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University and in 2009 and 2010 served as its chairman. In addition Steve also serves on the Board of Directors of Theatre Raleigh.

Currently Steve is the Executive Director of NC Beautiful, a private non-profit organization dedicated to raising the awareness and appreciation of our natural beauty and resources and the importance of environmental stewardship through its various education programs.

Keynote Speaker

  • Scott Levitan, President and CEO, Research Triangle Foundation of NC


Scott Levitan headshotScott Levitan
President and CEO
Research Triangle Foundation of NC

Scott Levitan was hired in August 2017 to lead the Research Triangle Foundation as its President and CEO. He has over 30 years of experience working in mixed-use development, with an emphasis on university-related research parks.

Prior to his current role, Scott was the Vice President of Forest City Realty Trust and Development Director for the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins and the New East Baltimore Community. There, he oversaw a $1.5 billion initiative directly adjacent to The Johns Hopkins University medical campus that includes life science research and office space, residential, retail, a new public park and a community school. Prior to that, he was the Executive Director of Real Estate Development for Georgia Institute of Technology, where he oversaw all real estate planning and development activities for the Institute. During his tenure, he oversaw the development of Technology Square, a 1.6 million-square-foot institutionally sponsored but privatized development initiative in Midtown Atlanta.

Scott holds a master’s degree in urban design from Harvard University, a master’s in conservation studies from the University of York in York, England, and a bachelor’s in architecture from Louisiana State University. He is active in a number of real estate industry organizations, including the Association of University Research Parks, where he has served on its Board and taught an annual “BioParks 101” seminar.


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