Another Top SCRA Executive to Depart

April 20, 2012

Investigative Reports

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LeavingAnother high-ranking S.C. Research Authority executive is leaving the state agency.

Rick Self, president of SCRA Applied R&D, until recently known as Advanced Technology Institute, is retiring, officials noted at a Research Authority board meeting Thursday.

Self has been president of SCRA Applied R&D, SCRA’s largest division, for more than a decade.

It’s unclear when Self will take leave from the agency. Attempts to reach him Thursday afternoon were unsuccessful.

When Self bids SCRA adieu, he will join several other key SCRA executives who have exited the high-paying organization over the past two years.

Among the two most recent to depart: Dave McNamara and John Gregg.

McNamara, formerly a senior vice president and director of SCRA affiliate SC Launch, recently left “to pursue other options,” while Gregg, who had been a senior executive vice president, retired in February to “spend more time with his family,” according to company and media reports.

Self, like many other Research Authority executives, has been handsomely compensated for his efforts with SCRA.

In fiscal 2010, Self earned a salary of $201,578 and received a bonus of $85,504, according to information The Nerve secured through an S.C. Freedom of Information Act request. The 2010 information was the most recent available.

In 2009, Self earned $189,000 and took home an $89,373 bonus; while in 2008, he earned the same base salary and a bonus of $76,424, records show.

Self’s retirement was noted at the beginning of the agency’s regularly scheduled executive committee meeting Thursday in Columbia. At the urging of Chairman Marco Cavazzoni, SCRA Chief Executive Bill Mahoney congratulated Self on his impending departure.

Since June 2010, at least nine of 12 key executives have left or are planning to leave the organization, according to a comparison of Internal Revenue Service documents and the state salary database.

The Research Authority is a state-created and state-controlled technology and real estate development and management organization.

It does not receive direct state appropriations, but it has received government largesse over the years. Upon its creation, the General Assembly gave the agency approximately 1,400 acres of undeveloped land, estimated at that time to be worth $10.7 million, and $500,000. Since then SCRA has received other land grants, as well.

The Research Authority is exempt from income, sales and property taxes under its enabling legislation.

SCRA Applied R&D works with the government and defense industries to identify and develop technology.

The division was created in 1998, when the SCRA board separated what was then called Advanced Technology Institute, or ATI, into a separate non-profit private corporation.

The move was made to enable ATI to get funding for some projects that SCRA couldn’t get as a public organization, according to a 2005 review of the Research Authority by the Legislative Audit Council.

ATI achieved record revenues during fiscal 2011, which ended June 30, 2011, according to an SCRA press release. However, the Research Authority did not break out the division’s revenue figures.

Reach Dietrich at (803) 779-5022 ext. 110, or kevin@thenerve.org.