September 1, 2020

Susan Shows named GRA president

The Board of Trustees of the Georgia Research Alliance has named Susan Shows as the organization’s fourth president, effective September 1, 2020.

Since 2008, Shows has served as GRA’s senior vice president, managing the Alliance’s $649 million portfolio of investment in talent and technology at Georgia’s leading research universities. In this role, she has been instrumental in helping the universities recruit world-class scientists to Georgia as GRA Eminent Scholars and making strategic investments in lab infrastructure to help the Scholars expand their work.

Shows also manages much of GRA’s financial analytics, guiding the organization’s long-term strategic planning and providing transparency to the Alliance’s partners in state government. She joined GRA in 2001 and shaped the organization’s university-based venture development program, which has been recognized nationally for its innovation.

“Susan has launched or led every one of GRA’s programs, and she has the depth of experience and the network of relationships to guide our skilled team,” says David Ratcliffe, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Her management and leadership have made GRA an exceptionally effective organization, particularly for its small size.”

GRA Trustee Lizanne Thomas praised Shows’ management of GRA’s resources. “As chair of GRA’s audit committee, I’ve worked closely with Susan and have great respect for her fiscal acumen and attention to detail,” says Thomas, partner-in-charge of the southern U.S. region for the law firm Jones Day. “She understands how to get the greatest impact out of state and private investment in the organization, and that ability is crucial to GRA’s success.”

Shows began her career as an industrial engineer at Square D Company in Lexington, Kentucky, and later became part of the company’s start-up team for a new manufacturing facility in North Carolina. Prior to joining GRA in 2001, she worked at Georgia Tech, where she managed collaborations between the university, federal agencies, and industry. She also served as general manager of ATDC, Georgia Tech’s business incubator. 

Shows earned an MBA from Xavier University in Cincinnati and a B.S. in industrial management from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She serves as an advisor to regional and national organizations that support translational research and technology-based economic development. 

“For 30 years, the Georgia Research Alliance has been invaluable in growing research and entrepreneurship at our state’s universities,” says Pete McTier, past president of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and current secretary/treasurer of GRA. “Our university scientists have attracted more research dollars and launched more companies around their inventions because of GRA. Susan has provided a sharp mind and steady hand in that work since joining GRA. She is well qualified to lead GRA.”