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Ex-RTP leader leaving Orange County development post

Posted June 23, 2011

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— Orange County officials said Thursday that Gary Shope, a former vice president for the Research Triangle Foundation, will step down in mid-July as the county's interim economic development director.

Shope was named to the post in February. He has taken a private-sector job.

"We will miss Gary’s efforts, but his work has provided a solid foundation for our future economic development plans and we will build on the momentum he created," Steve Yuhasz, vice chairman of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement.

During Shope's tenure, AKG of America, which makes heat exchanges, selected its Mebane site over a site in South Dakota for an expansion. Officials said he played a major role in coordinating efforts for the expansion.

"Gary certainly is to be commended for his role in bringing life to the county’s economic development efforts. He has been a bright star, and his leadership will be missed,” Orange County Manager Frank Clifton said in a statement. “Gary has done a great job of establishing Orange County’s emerging role as an economic development-ready community."

There was no word on when Orange County would name a permanent successor.

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