Roy Park Jr. Enhances Family Commitment to BTI
Many aspects of daily life at BTI have changed since the 1980s—presidents have come and gone, faculty have joined and retired and research programs have changed and evolved—but for most of the last 32 years, the BTI board has included a member of the Park family.
Roy H. Park Jr., president of Park Outdoor Advertising and Triad Foundation Inc., is a highly dedicated and influential member of the BTI board of directors, like his father before him. Roy H. Park, the founder of Park Communications, joined the board in 1984 after an invitation from then-president Roy Young. The senior Park served on dozens of boards, but his directorship on the BTI board was the only one he retained until his death in 1993.
To continue his father’s legacy, at the request of his mother, Roy Park Jr. joined the BTI board in 1995 and for 21 years has brought his extensive experience in communications, business, and nonprofit work to the board. His board commitment, including numerous committee memberships and serving as the board’s vice chair, coupled with the Triad Foundation’s grant program, constitute invaluable contributions to BTI’s innovative research.
“My father came off of a farm in North Carolina, which indoctrinated him on the use of plants for food, clothing and medicine. Research at BTI ties it all together,” said Park.
After leaving the farm, the senior Park worked his way through a journalism degree at North Carolina State University. He did public relations work for the N.C. Cotton Growers Association and wrote for agricultural trade magazines before moving to Ithaca, N.Y. to run the advertising agency for the Grange League Federation, which later became Agway. He subsequently partnered with food expert and gourmet Duncan Hines to create Hines-Park Foods, and its cake mix line continues today. After Proctor and Gamble purchased the successful food franchise, Park began buying television and radio stations, then newspapers, to create his media empire, Park Communications.
The younger Park also honors his father’s legacy as president and chairman of Triad Foundation, Inc., which he operates with his wife, Tetlow Parham Park, his daughter, Elizabeth Park Fowler and his son, Roy H. Park III. The foundation supports innovative, high-risk, high-reward research that, among other things, uses plant science to improve human health through the Plants and Human Health grant program at BTI.
“The impact of the Park family on BTI’s success can scarcely be overstated. When support is directed towards innovative new ideas, the ultimate result can be life-changing discoveries,” said BTI President David Stern. “The Triad Foundation has an impressive record of opening new research directions by funding high-risk, high-reward approaches.”
The Triad Foundation has given more than 3,000 grants during the last 13 years to programs locally, and in North Carolina and Florida, promoting youth development, health and human services, animal welfare and marine and tropical ecology. It provides 50 fellowships for masters and doctoral students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism, where Park earned his journalism degree in 1961. Notably, he recently received the University of North Carolina’s Davie Award, the highest honor its board of trustees can bestow. The Triad Foundation also provides 50 fellowships each year to students at the Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management, where Park earned his MBA in 1963.
Park then held several positions with the ad agencies J. Walter Thompson Co. in New York and Kincaid Advertising in North Carolina before joining his father’s media conglomerate in 1971. He managed and later bought the outdoor advertising division from his father, and is now the president and chairman of Park Outdoor Advertising of New York, Inc.
Besides an enduring interest in communications and philanthropy, the Parks’ property houses an orchard, beehives, fish ponds, flower and vegetable gardens and two greenhouses, one of which contains the former BTI orchid collection.
The generous support of BTI by the Park family has left an indelible mark on BTI, from its laboratories to its boardroom. Members of the BTI community look forward to partnering with the Park family to inspire advances in plant science and human health for years to come.