CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The first chief executive officer and executive director of the West Virginia Regional Technology Park is resigning, a year and a half after he accepted the job.
Phil Halstead's last day at the South Charleston tech park will be Feb. 25.
Halstead, who is leaving to "pursue other interests," will stay long enough to see the completion of several project reports, according to a news release. The state Higher Education Policy Commission, which oversees the park, will help with operations while the park's board of directors searches for a permanent replacement.
In the meantime, James King will serve as an interim replacement and will manage the tech park's day-to-day operations.
King is the HEPC's director of design and planning, and was the commission's liaison with the tech park. The HEPC acquired the 258-acre park through a donation of land and facilities from Dow Chemical.
Halstead said in the news release that he is optimistic about the tech park's future.
"During my time leading the tech park, it has been very clear to me that the residents of the Kanawha Valley and the state of West Virginia understand the importance and role of the tech park in revitalizing the chemical industry that once flourished this area," Halstead said in the release. "[I] will be forever grateful for the opportunity to play a vital role in the beginning stages of the tech park's rebirth."
Halstead would not comment when contacted by the Gazette Wednesday evening.
He started at the tech park on Sept. 1, 2011. At the time, he told the Gazette he felt lucky to be part of what he called "one of the top economic development projects in the whole United States, not just West Virginia."
South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said Wednesday he was surprised to hear Halstead was resigning, but he is certain the tech park's employees "will keep it running."
"I got to know Phil very well and I was shocked to hear he was resigning. I'm sorry to see him leave, but I wish him well," Mullens said. "I have all the confidence in the world in [HEPC] Chancellor Paul Hill. I know he's still committed to making the tech park succeed."