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San Antonio bioscience group picks new chairman for first time in six years
January 19, 2017

Walt Downing has been elected as the new chairman of BioMed SA.

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

BioMed SA, the organization tasked with promoting and growing this region's bioscience industry, has elected Walt Downing as its first new chairman in six years.

Downing, who is executive vice president and chief operating officer for Southwest Research Institute, has served on BioMed SA's board for four years. Last year, he was vice chairman of the nonprofit industry group.

Downing succeeds long-time bioscience industry leader Kenneth Trevett, the executive director of the Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio, who had been chairman of BioMed SA since 2011.

Downing said the local health care and bioscience sector's economic impact on San Antonio, assessed at $37 billion in 2015, has doubled in each of the last two decades. He said that stakeholders could try and accelerate the pace of growth with expanded collaboration and more resources.

Increasing BioMed SA's revenue had been one of Trevett's top priorities during his final year as chairman. He told me in February 2016 that the organization's annual budget was about $550,000, which is a fraction of the funding other cities have dedicated toward building their bioscience assets.

Ann Stevens, who will remain president of BioMed SA, said San Antonio has made significant strides over the last several months, exposing its bioscience talent and technology to more of the world. The onus will be on BioMed SA leaders and others in the city to continue to maximize that increased exposure.

"We must continue to build on these ... activities and consciously leverage our unique assets," she said.

One of BioMed SA's leaders who will be tasked with such efforts is Ann Beal Salamone, president of Rochal Industries, who was elected vice chairwoman.

Meanwhile, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez will continue as treasurer of BioMed SA.

Also, the organization created an ex officio seat for Trevett, who will continue to serve on the board.

 

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