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Cobb assumes NCCAR command

JACKSON – The North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR) has a new face at its helm.

Recently, Simon Cobb was selected as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for NCCAR. Previously, Cobb has been linked to the project through Lotus Engineering, Inc., which he served as Director of North Carolina Operations for 22 years.

The announcement was made by Northampton County Director of Economic Development Gary Brown during a recent meeting of the Board of the Northampton County Commissioners.

In his new position, Cobb is responsible for development of all business activities, including personnel, as well as facility management, testing services and related educational and research programs. The role requires a multi-disciplinary combination of experience, education and skills in organizational and business management, engineering, finance and marketing.

“NCCAR provides an excellent means for transitioning research and development to real-world product applications for the automotive industry,” said Cobb in a press release. “I’m looking forward to joining the management team and taking a larger role in what is a very exciting project.”

The NCCAR board of directors began the COO search in August of last year, intent on finding the right individual for the job.

Cobb will begin his work with NCCAR on April 1.

Meanwhile, Brown gave an update on the progress of the project.

Project engineers and architects completed construction design and are finalizing construction documents in anticipation of construction bidding in the next few weeks. Construction at NCCAR is scheduled to be well underway by June 2008 and the site is planned to be fully operational by September 2009.

Brown said bids for the construction of an access road, approved by the commissioners in November, will go out April 1.

During Brown’s presentation, the commissioners asked about construction on the site and about signage going up nearby.

“Our citizens are really, really banking on that project,” said Virginia Spruill (D-2nd). “We are looking to get this project up and running as quickly as possible.”

Brown explained there were 17 permit agencies that had to be dealt with before permits were issued for certain

of the project.

NCCAR is an independent, non-profit center designed for research, testing and development demands of the automotive industry.  State sponsorship and affiliation with North Carolina’s university and community college systems are also involved in the project.

Phase one of the project includes 3.5 mile riding and handling course, operations, engineering and client garages, vehicle dynamics area and a security kiosk.