Arthur Salido tapped to lead community, economic, innovation outreach efforts

Arthur Salido, associate professor of chemistry and director of Western Carolina University’s bid for reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, has been selected to oversee WCU’s community, economic and innovation outreach efforts.

Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar announced Salido’s appointment as executive director for community and economic engagement and innovation Wednesday, April 26. The appointment is effective May 15, although Salido will continue to wrap up his duties with the SACSCOC reaffirmation of accreditation process.

Arthur Salido has a unique set of skills and experiences that will enable him to effectively leverage the university’s academic resources – the brainpower of our faculty and students – to help meet the needs of the external community,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “He possesses both the academic credentials and the business acumen to guide WCU’s efforts in lending its expertise to help lead the way in improving the prospects for community engagement, economic development and innovation throughout Western North Carolina.”

Arthur Salido

In his new role, Salido will work to create partnerships that link university, nonprofit, government and industry resources to address community and economic development needs primarily in the 16 westernmost counties served by WCU through its Cullowhee campus, Cherokee Center and Asheville area instructional site at Biltmore Park. He will focus both on activities designed to boost WCU’s role as a resource for community engagement and on strategies to foster its efforts in regional economic development.

Among his responsibilities is a charge to develop WCU, through its Millennial Initiative and other innovation and engagement efforts, into a national model for building, in a rural environment, public-private partnerships that are integrated into the university mission and that support community and economic development.

As a resident of WNC for nearly a dozen years, Salido said his new position aligns perfectly with his personal and professional passions for efforts that help close the loop between kindergarten through 12th-grade schools, higher education and career opportunities.

“Serving in this capacity will be a great privilege and an extraordinary opportunity to bridge connections that affect the university through innovative learning, research, engagement and economic development partnerships,” he said. “I consider this to be a critical time in WCU’s history to seek strategic, collaborative approaches to educating and engaging students and faculty in ways that include and benefit external stakeholders and our regional community.”

Salido has served as a consultant for several WNC biotechnology and brewing companies, and as a member of several industry and education advocacy boards. He said those experience should assist him in his new position.

“As a business consultant, I collaborate to solve technical, product development and strategy issues. I have developed a solid network of external business and professional contacts who have resources to support education through partnerships, apprenticeships, funding and learning opportunities,” he said.

Salido is filling a vacancy created by the retirement last December of Tony Johnson, who had served as director of millennial initiatives at WCU since August 2013. Upon Johnson’s retirement, university leaders revised the position to expand its responsibilities beyond the Millennial Initiative, a comprehensive regional economic development strategy designed to enable WCU to engage in public-private partnerships that enhance educational opportunities for students and increase the ability of faculty to conduct research, while also promoting regional development.

The university has shifted to the Division of Administration and Finance responsibility for working on brick-and-mortar and infrastructure issues with potential Millennial Initiative builders and developers, including those for projects on the 344-acre West Campus. That move is designed to enable the executive director for community and economic engagement and innovation to focus more on identifying private- and public-sector partners and the possible commercialization of faculty and student scholarly activity.

Salido joined the WCU faculty in 2006. While a faculty member, he earned a master’s degree in business administration from WCU in 2011. He previously was chief chemist at Botanipharm LLC, a North Carolina-based company that develops botanical medicines using biologically standardized, forest-grown goldenseal, from 2002 until 2006.

He also has taught at Mercer University and the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School, and has worked as a chemist for the Charlotte Utilities Division and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. He was a visiting assistant professor of chemistry at WCU from 2000 until 2002.

Salido earned his doctoral degree in analytical chemistry from Wake Forest University in 1999 and his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Vanderbilt University in 1994.

His appointment follows a national search led by a campus committee chaired by Kevan Frazier, executive director for WCU’s programs at Biltmore Park