The Arizona BioIndustry Association (AZBio), the state’s bioscience trade group, has hired Joan Koerber-Walker as its new president and CEO. Koerber-Walker is the founder of CorePurpose Inc., a business consulting firm, and previously served as CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association and as an executive at electronics distributor Avnet Inc. She has also served on the boards of RiboMed Biotechnologies Inc. and the Arizona Technology Council. Koerber-Walker has already begun her new role.
Since leaving Avnet in 2002, Koerber-Walker has also served on the board of trustees of the National Small Business Association, and has served as chairman of the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation, host of the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences. She has also held an executive-in-residence role at Callaman Ventures, an early-stage investment firm based in Phoenix. AZBio officials said such experiences make Koerber-Walker a strong match for the organization’s needs.
“The board was in unanimous agreement that Joan has the right combination of experience, skills, and talent needed to support our organization and our members as together we grow,” said Christine McAuliffe, AZBio’s board chair.
“Joan brings to us great experience working with large and small business throughout our state and a passion for success,” said Jack Dean, who helped guide the search for a new CEO.
Koerber-Walker assumes the role vacated at the end of 2010 by Robert Green, founder of Tucson-based Integrated Biomolecule Corp., who had led AZBio on an interim basis for more than a year.
One of Koerber-Walker’s immediate responsibilities is preparing for AZBio Expo 2011, the organization’s annual conference, which will be held May 6 at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa in Chandler. She will also help assemble Arizona’s delegation to Washington, D.C. at the end of June for the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s International Convention, the largest annual bioscience conference in the world. AZBio is Arizona’s recognized state-level affiliate for BIO.
Among Koerber-Walker’s ongoing tasks will be further expanding AZBio’s membership roster, which has recently grown to some 300 members, including small startups and more established firms, as well as service providers and educational institutions. Also within her purview will be legislative advocacy on behalf of members.
“Throughout my career, I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with great people and great organizations to achieve goals that others might have thought were difficult or even impossible,” Koerber-Walker said. “I am looking forward to asking our bioscience community what they need to get the job done and with their help and support using AZBio as a catalyst to help them make things happen.”
According to a February report by Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, the biosciences in Arizona boasts a workforce exceeding 90,000, a figure that rose 32 percent between 2002 and 2009. Average annual wages in 2009 topped $57,000, more than 35 percent higher than the overall private sector.
For more information:
“Arizona BioIndustry hires Koerber-Walker,” Phoenix Business Journal, 03/23/2011
“Catalyst for Growth – AZBio moves forward with new CEO and an aggressive agenda,” AZBio news release, 03/23/2011