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BIO Alabama executive director – Dr. Rachel Lane – wrapped up her listening campaign in mid-July with a visit to Mobile. The beauty and comradery of the city was evident, from the exquisitely landscaped campus of the University of South Alabama to the warm embraces shared by all members of the BIO AL roundtable.
Left to right | Ashely Lindsey (BIO AL Mobile Ambassador), Michelle Parvinrouh (Executive Director of Innovation Portal), and Rachel Lane (Executive Director of BIO AL) at the Innovation Portal celebrate the Mobile spirit of making good things happen.
Michael Berson of Adams and Reese LLP generously hosted Dr. Lane’s visit with key community leaders: Anitra Belle-Henderson (Executive Director of Communications and External Affairs at City of Mobile), Michael Chambers (Associate Vice President for Research at the University of South Alabama), Todd Greer (Vice President For Academic Affairs at the University of Mobile), Ashley Lindsey (Assistant Professor of Biology and the University of Mobile and BIO Alabama Ambassador), Michelle Parvinrouh (Executive Director at Innovation Portal), and Christina Stimpson (Director of Economic Development at Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce). Notably, this was the only meeting on Dr. Lane’s listening campaign to host a female majority. After the roundtable, Dr. Lane toured the incredible facilities at Innovation Portal. She was also excited to learn that both the University of South Alabama and the University of Mobile have implemented NSF I-Corps programs, a tremendous tool for exploring the commercial potential of scientific discoveries.
According to 2018 workforce data published in the 2020 Bioscience Teconomy report, Mobile is a key player in Alabama’s life science workforce. Alabama has a specialized workforce in Agricultural Feedstock and Industrial Biosciences, meaning that compared with the national average, the state has a significantly greater job concentration for this industry subsector. Mobile is the largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in AL to host a specialized workforce, and the only MSA in the state to land on a “top twenty” list, tailing Madison, WI for total number of employees in this industry subsector. Business Facilities – a key voice in the site selection marketplace – recently recognized Mobile as one of the top five best business environments (population <200,000) in the US, highlighting the distinct potential of this singular city to support bioscience growth. Mobile’s academic R&D capabilities, manufacturing specialty, innovation support, and favorable business environment create a unique microcosm with immense bioscience potential.
The roundtable offered helpful insight into how these exceptional features of Mobile’s bioscience industry could fit into the state’s bioeconomy. Leaders expressed sincere interest in uniting Alabama’s bioscience presence and identifying a clear strategy for positioning the state for industry success.
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