Biography: Charles has been a leader in economic development in NorthCarolina. He served as President and CEO of the Research TriangleRegional partnership for two decades until retiring from the positionin June 2016. During his tenure the partnership received numerousawards internationally and nationally, and was widely known forcutting-edge initiatives including the Triple Helix approach toinnovation and economic development. Before moving to theResearch Triangle Regional Partnership, Charles served as directorof a local economic development agency, county manager, businessowner and community college instructor.Charles has served in leadership roles on numerous Boards andProfessional Associations, including the University Of North CarolinaBoard Of Governors, the East Carolina Board of Visitors, theInternational Economic Council and is a former President of the NorthCarolina Economic Developers Association. Additionally, he and hiswife, Jan, have recently formed Hayes Group Consulting LLC andboth serve as Managing Partners. A native North Carolinian,originally from Norlina, Charles has undergraduate and Master'sdegrees from East Carolina University and is a Vietnam veteran.