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Michigan Bio-based Economy Forum
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Michigan Bio-based Economy Forum

When: October 27, 2016
12:00pm - 7:30pm
Where: Walnut Hills Golf Club
2874 East Lake Lansing Rd
East Lansing, Michigan  48823
United States
Contact: Kate Oesterle

Online registration is closed.
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The Michigan Bio-Based Economy Forum, presented by MichBio, is a first of its kind statewide gathering meant to provide a platform where representatives from industry and academia, as well as NGOs and government, can discuss technology developments, business needs, and opportunities to integrate the various regional bio-based enterprises into a robust growth sector. The forum invites stakeholders from across the entire value chain looking to exchange knowledge and experience with the bio-based products industry.


Online registration is available until Wednesday, October 26, 2016. Attendees may register in-person at the event once online registration has closed.




12:00 p.m.                                                   

1:00 p.m.

Welcoming Remarks
The inaugural Michigan Bio-Based Economy Forum begins with a welcome that provides a backdrop for the event – what’s the case for developing a statewide sector, forming a connected industry community, and fostering innovation and growth with supportive resources.


Stephen Rapundalo, PhD
President & CEO, MichBio


Kali Fox
Regional Director, Office of Senator Debbie Stabenow - U.S. Senate


1:15 p.m.

The Bio-Based Products Marketplace: A Michigan Outlook
The bio-economy is becoming an increasingly important global reality as the world struggles to adequately feed and fuel a growing population. As a result the bio-based product marketplace is developing rapidly in areas of technology innovations, resource efficiency and sustainable life cycle management. Hear Michigan-based industry leaders discuss current trends in supply and demand, as well as the business opportunities and challenges, facing the bio-economy.


Peter Pellerito

Senior Advisor, Federal/State Economic Development Policy & University Relations

Biotechnology Innovation Organization


Tim Colonnese
President and CEO, KTM Industries

Dianne Holman, PE
Managing Partner, Working Bugs LLC

Mark Rudnicki, PhD
Executive Director, Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute
Professor of Practice, Forest Biomaterials, School of Forest Resources & Environmental Sciences, Michigan Technological University


2:00 p.m.

Innovative Bio-Based Technologies: Chemicals, Materials and Energy

Increasing consumer demand for renewable and bio-based products means that academic and industry research is focused keenly on discovering new technologies that are transformative for chemical, materials and energy applications. Hear from scientists describe their pioneering research and innovations that will lead ultimately to technology transfer, new startup ventures and product development.


Patrick Smith, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Michigan State University
Jim Preston
Vice President, Business Development, RheTech, Inc.
Ramani Narayan, PhD
University Distinguished Professor, Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Michigan State University

Vijay Mannari, PhD
Distinguished Professor, School of Engineering Technology, Eastern Michigan University

Robert Kennedy, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer, Vestaron Corporation




3:30 p.m.

Bio-Based Products: Implications for Sustainability and Environment

Products made in part or whole from renewable sources offer a great potential for a long-term shift to a bio-based economy. However, it is simply not a matter that products be made from a non-fossil feedstock base, as sustainable practices, environmental impacts and end-of-life options must be contemplated and addressed. Industry experts will discuss what considerations must be given throughout the product life cycle to ensure sustainability and environmental benefit.

Megann Head
Environmental Engineer Designer, Steelcase   

Jennifer Aurandt, PhD
R&D Program Manager, Valicor


4:15 p.m.

Commercializing and Capitalizing Bio-Based Technologies

Despite the growth in the bio-based products sector, scale up, competitiveness and adoption by end users and brands, no sector has felt the “valley of death” more prominently than the bio-based economy. Why is it so challenging to bring bio-based innovation to market? Panelists will cover the opportunities, challenges, benefits, and risks of commercializing bio-based products.

Lee Walko
Director, Business Development, OmniTech International

Jeff Pavlik
SVP/Managing Director - Capital Markets, GreenStone Farm Credit Services

Pat Morand
President, Open Prairie Ventures

Richard Chylla, PhD
Executive Director, MSU Technologies, Michigan State University


4:45 p.m.

Keynote: Driving a Bio-Based Economy: Policies and Partners Needed

The bio-based economy can be a driver of innovation and a key contributor to Michigan’s economic, environmental and social well-being through the application of biological tools and processes to the production of food, energy, chemicals and materials. What's it going to take to succeed in building a statewide bio-based products sector, particularly as other regions are aggressively developing their own? A government and industry leader will share perspectives on the current state of the global bio-economy and what Michigan must do to compete.


Stephen Rapundalo, PhD
President and CEO, MichBio

Hon. Mark Schweiker
Former Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Senior Vice President, Corporate Development Officer, Renmatix

5:30 p.m.

Networking Reception



Hon. Mark Schweiker
Former Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Senior Vice President, Corporate Development Officer, Renmatix


An accomplished executive and former government leader, Mark Schweiker brings deep experience in guiding fast growing organizations and helping customers integrate new technology into their existing operations. Mark joined Renmatix to drive key initiatives with public and private sector stakeholders across several business areas including: site selection for production facilities, financial partnerships, feedstock procurement, commercial programs, and public affairs. He plays a critical cross-functional role in accelerating corporate development in the United States and abroad.

Lauded as a strong voice and proponent for the re-birth of American manufacturing, especially in the energy and advanced materials industry sector, Mark is a member of the influential U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Mr.Schweiker has held top management positions in both commercial and large government organizations, and concluded his distinguished public service career in 2003, as the 44th Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, Mark served as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and later as President of PRWT Business Process Solutions. He also served as a member of the BioAdvance Board of Directors for eight years, and is currently a member of the Penn State University Smeal College of Business Board of Visitors. Mark is a graduate of Bloomsburg University (BS) and received his MA in management from Rider University.


 MichBio Members  Non-Members
$69  $89
Faculty $39
Students $19


All students, staff, and faculty affiliated with these academic institutions (with a valid email address) are current MichBio members: 

  • Kettering University
  • Lawrence Technological University
  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • University of Michigan
  • Van Andel Institute
  • Wayne State University

Not sure if your company is a member? Review our list of current members here

Forgot your member account information or need to set one up? 
Contact us: 734.527.9150 or



Online registration will close at midnight on October 26; onsite registration will be available on October 27.


Sponsorship Opportunities are available for this event! Maximize your marketing efforts by partnering with MichBio at the Michigan Bio-based Economy Forum. View sponsor levels HERE.


Download event press release HERE.



Thank you to the Michigan Bio-based Economy Forum Sponsors:


Media Sponsor

Creating Value
by delivering business-critical resources & bottom line savings
Building Networks
by connecting Michigan's bio-industry one member at a time
Growing Talent
by creating opportunities that develop people & build organizations
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