Michigan Biosciences Day at the Capitol: New Format a Success
Friday, May 27, 2016
Posted by: Kate Oesterle
Bio-industry leaders gathered in Lansing on May 19th to advance a State Competitiveness Agenda for growing Michigan's bio-industry. It was all part of the Michigan Biosciences Day at the Capitol hosted by MichBio. This year’s format was a change from prior years. Instead of company displays in the Capitol Rotunda hallways, the Biosciences Day focused on maximizing direct interactions with decision-makers.
The Michigan Bio-Industry Roadmap for Success, a recently released statewide strategic plan that lays out a vision for economic growth, sustainability and competitiveness, served as the foundation for the Competitiveness Agenda and Biosciences Day generally. Legislators were briefed on the Roadmap, including its key priorities and actions:
- Developing a favorable business climate with value-based policies and resources;
- Enhancing Michigan’s risk-capital market for company growth;
- Implementing consistent economic development and branding initiatives specific to the bio-industry;
- Seeking greater support to develop skilled talent and workforce;
- A long-term legislative commitment to move a growth agenda.
The Biosciences Day began with a networking breakfast at Government Consulting Services, Inc. (GCSI), where representatives from the Ash Stevens, Esperion Therapeutics, Global Clinical Connections, MSU Technologies, SRI International, Tetra Discovery, and University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer, gathered for an orientation on the planned activities. This was followed by 22 separate and direct meetings throughout the day with key legislative offices pre-arranged by MichBio. In each case, a packet that included the Roadmap, Competitiveness Agenda, bio-industry sectors infographic, Roadmap presentation, and a BIO Legislative Best Practices in Economic Development monograph, was left behind for review.
In addition, another 15 legislators and/or staff attended a lunch ‘meet-n-greet’ back at the GCSI functions space. Industry leaders expounded on Michigan’s bioscience economy and policies needed to improve competitiveness, all in a casual atmosphere. MichBio dropped legislative packets at all remaining legislative offices that didn’t have the opportunity to drop by during lunch or otherwise meet directly. In total, Biosciences Day participants interacted with 52 legislators, or over a third of the legislature.
Stephen Rapundalo, MichBio CEO, and Loretta Cipkus Dubray, CEO of Global Clinical Connections, presented before the House Workforce and Talent Development Committee (made up of 15 legislators). They called for developing new programs and resources in public-private partnership to ensure a trained and skilled bioscience talent pool needed to keep Michigan’s bio-industry competitive. Both fielded a lengthy series of questions from Committee members; in all they were afforded 40 min of the Committee’s time.
A planned presentation before the Senate Economic Development & International Investment Committee was cancelled at the last minute. CEO Mark Gurney (Tetra Discovery), Executive Chairman Roger Newton (Esperion Therapeutics) and Brian Hamilton (Michigan Accelerator Fund-1), along with MichBio’s Rapundalo, were to speak before that legislative body. The opportunity will be rescheduled to a future date and MichBio will put out a general membership call for those interested in presenting.
The Biosciences Day at the Capitol would not have been possible without the engagement and support of the Michigan Biosciences Legislative Caucus, a bipartisan, bicameral body formed in 2007 whose membership is open to any legislator interested in Michigan’s bio-industry. Current co-chairs Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-26), Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-18), Rep. Sam Singh (D-69) and Rep. Jim Tedder (R-43) attended the lunch ‘meet-n-greet’. The Biosciences Caucus uses education, communication, and outreach as tools to discuss, promote, and formulate potential policies to help grow the state’s bio-industry.
Plans are already in the works to schedule a legislative ‘happy hour’ reception sometime in fall 2016 that would give MichBio members an opportunity to interact with legislators and policymakers. For more information on how you can engage with MichBio’s advocacy efforts, please contact Stephen Rapundalo at firstname.lastname@example.org.