Chapman Named as Executive Director

Published Friday, August 31, 2018

Chapman Named as Executive Director of the University of the Virgin Islands Research Technology Park

The Research Technology Park Board is excited to announce Peter H. Chapman as the new Executive Director of the Research and Technology Park (RTPark) of the University of the Virgin Islands. The announcement follows an intensive international executive search by The PACE Group.

“Mr. Chapman was a clear choice to take the RTPark to the next level in growth and development,” said Edward Thomas, Chairman of the RTPark Board. “His national and international experience, knowledge of economic and community development, and his ability to manage and lead were the reasons we selected him from several great candidates.”   

Chapman comes to the RTPark from the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), where he served as Executive Vice President for Business Development. In this role, he led the execution of a sector-based strategy to encourage larger domestic and foreign companies to locate and expand operations in Detroit. An accomplished economic and community re-development strategist and practitioner, Chapman holds over 20 years of executive leadership experience in several other U.S. markets including Boston, Nashville, Denver, and Virginia. He has conceptualized and implemented a diverse array of award-winning and nationally-recognized projects and initiatives during this time. Among other successes, he re-energized and expanded DEGC’s business development function by establishing a high-performing team that facilitated approximately 4,600 new jobs through the attraction of companies such as Tata Technologies, Google, and Microsoft.    

Immediately prior to joining DEGC in 2016, Chapman served for eight years in cabinet-level municipal government leadership positions in Virginia’s urban cities, primarily as Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development in Richmond. There he built and directed a team whose business expansion and retention efforts targeted global healthcare and pharmaceutical firms which helped to substantially advance the revitalization of that city’s central business district. Additionally, Chapman crafted and led key elements of Richmond’s anti-poverty initiative such as the East End Transformation and the Center for Workforce Innovation. He also spearheaded Richmond’s successful bid to secure the 2015 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Road Cycling Championship, which attracted 450,000 visitors and achieved a $86 million regional economic impact. Chapman’s time in Virginia was also distinguished by an intense two-year stint in Norfolk, where he served as executive director and deputy city manager (a dual role) of the Economic Development Authority. His efforts to expand and diversify the local economy resulted in the attraction of nearly 3,000 new financial services jobs. He also established an award-winning loan program—the Global Initiatives Fund—to support manufacturers engaged in overseas export activities.

Chapman also previously led the portfolio of economic and community development agencies for the City of Denver, Colorado, where he was responsible for a cumulative annual budget of $150 million, and approximately 400 employees. During his tenure, he advanced urban re-investment initiatives such as the nationally-recognized Mariposa transit-oriented mixed-income housing redevelopment and the $1.5 billion 970-unit Uptown Project. Both projects helped to expand the footprint of Denver’s downtown. He also served as the architect of an ambitious plan to strengthen the city’s infrastructure of economic development finance programs, which resulted in the city’s first allocation of federal New Markets Tax Credits, and the establishment of Denver’s first comprehensively-focused Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). 

Earlier in his career, Chapman served in the economic and community development practice group at a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based global consulting firm, Abt Associates. During this time he authored or co-authored several well-regarded studies on urban revitalization for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and several national foundations. 

Chapman holds a Master of Public Policy from Tufts University. He also completed Graduate Studies in real estate finance and political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Wesleyan University. A New York City native with family ties to the Caribbean, he is an avid cyclist and runner, and a perennial student of urban history and policy.

Chapman and his wife Gail are the proud parents of two kids, Evan and Alana. 

“I am truly honored to have been selected to serve as the Executive Director for the Research and Technology Park,” Chapman said. “The RTP is a unique and vitally important institutional mechanism for attracting investment to the Virgin Islands, and I am excited about working collaboratively with the Board, the leadership of UVI, and other key stakeholders to advance the economic growth of the territory”. 

Dr. David Hall, President of the University of the Virgin Islands indicated that “Peter Chapman’s background and expertise provides compelling evidence that the RTPark will continue to make a significant and defining contribution to the growth and enhancement of the University.”  

Chapman will assume his new role on September 5, 2018.

Client Testimonials

In January 2012 my business was underway as a Tech Park entity. It has been a wonderful seven years. The Tech Park has always been supportive, easy to do business with, and is making a positive impact on the islands. The Tech Park organization is professional and efficient. They have created a friendly business environment that has been a pleasure to work within and a great experience overall. I would encourage any eligible entity to consider joining us in the Tech Park.

Louise Stapleton, LNL Publishing

We have been part of the RT-Park program for almost three years now.  The application process was straight forward and we had plenty of dialogue and feedback prior to our approval.  My only regret is we didn’t do this sooner.  It is satisfying  knowing that we are partners with UVI and enabling the education of the next generation .  We also love living in the USVI.  People are warm and welcoming and the pace of life is amazing healthy.  Most days it feels like a working vacation.

Andy Hemmert, President , HRMT, LLC

Our firm, The RainTree Group, came into the UVI RT Park program in 2018.  We didn't have much experience in the USVI and followed the advice of the wonderful RT Park staff and other RT Park tenants.  The application process was transparent and straightforward.   The simple concept of the Park is mutual benefit - your company gets some tax incentives that allows you to grow your business more quickly and the USVI and UVI gets additional tax base, employment opportunities, and scholarships for deserving students.  The business environment and life in the USVI is slower paces and less stressful as the mainland, and without question the biggest business hurdle is communications, so find an office location where you have investigated the broadband options. Come and join us, you won't regret it!

James Salter, VosCom dba The RainTree Group

There are many unique treasures to living here. I’ve discovered a passion for mountain biking. My children have learned to sail. With a small community, you get to know people quickly. We found they went out of their way to make us feel welcome. When considering the move, a top concern was the children’s education. We found a quality school our kids love, with a dedicated faculty. In fairness there is an adjustment period. You learn to navigate island life, master shipping logistics, get to know a new culture, and take in some of the most beautiful ocean views in the world.

David Thompson, Exigo