CHARLOTTE, N.C.-- In his career spanning six decades, Norris Tolson has earned some distinguished titles. Executive. Representative. Secretary. President and CEO. Tuesday night, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center president and CEO added one more: North Carolina Business Hall of Fame Laureate. Tolson joined Alan E. Gant Jr., president and CEO of Glen Raven, Inc., and Stephen P. Zelnak Jr., chairman of the board of Martin Marietta Materials and chairman and majority owner of ZP Enterprises, in receiving the honor.
“This year’s laureates are business heroes for the next generation to look up to and have made outstanding contributions in defining and reshaping the North Carolina business landscape,” said North Carolina Chamber President and CEO Lew Ebert.
“On behalf of the statewide business community, I would like to thank the 2013 inductees for the example they have set for our young entrepreneurs in a time when focus, dedication and fortitude is required.”
The awards are a joint presentation of the Chamber and Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas. Since the honor was established in 1988, 103 laureates have been selected by a panel of business and community leaders for their significant contributions to building and defining the North Carolina business landscape.
Tolson has led the Biotechnology Center for six years, strengthening the Center’s job creation and economic development activities. The state leads top biotech clusters in employment growth over the past decade, increasing jobs by 23.5 percent.
Prior to coming to the Biotech Center, Tolson served North Carolina governors in three cabinet positions: secretary of revenue, secretary of transportation and secretary of commerce. He served two terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives after retiring from 28 years of service to E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. With DuPont, he held various domestic and international research, marketing and sales responsibilities.
An Edgecombe County native, Tolson graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor's degree in crop science and agribusiness in 1962. He also served in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps from 1963 to 1965. (Full bio)
The Hall of Fame is a roster of leaders whose contributions boosted North Carolina’s growth. Past honorees include William, Thomas and John Belk, Peggy Kirk Bell, George H.V. Cecil, Boyd L. George, Governor James B. Hunt Jr., Leon Levine, Hugh McColl, J. Gregory Poole Jr., Jerry Richardson, Charlie and Ed Shelton, Temple Sloan, Bruton Smith, Allen Tate and Joan Zimmerman.
NCBiotech is a private, non-profit corporation supported by the N.C. General Assembly. Its mission is to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina by supporting biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy statewide.