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Heidi Nebel and Chris Nelson Named 2022 Iowa Biotech Leaders of the Year

Heidi Nebel and Chris Nelson Named 2022 Iowa Biotech Leaders of the Year

DES MOINES, IA (March 4, 2022) – The Iowa Biotechnology Association (IowaBio) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2022 Biotech Leader Award: Heidi S. Nebel, J.D., Managing Partner and Chair of the Biotechnology and Chemical Practice Group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC, and Dr. Christopher E. Nelson, President and CEO of Kemin Industries. Due to their outstanding contributions to Iowa’s biotech industry, Heidi Nebel and Chris Nelson were selected to receive the prestigious award from a pool of nominees reviewed by a panel of industry experts. The award was presented to both individuals during the Iowa Biotech Showcase & Conference on March 1-2, 2022, in Ankeny, Iowa.

The Biotech Leader Award is given to an individual(s) who has demonstrated leadership within their organization and across the industry, an ability to bring innovative biotechnology products and services to the marketplace, and a commitment to advocate on behalf of Iowa’s life science sectors. The 2022 selection committee was proud to recognize both of this year’s awardees for their tremendous contributions to the biotech industry, which impact Iowa, the nation, and our world.

Heidi Nebel has more than 30 years of experience in the legal industry supporting biotechnology, through applications such as agricultural innovations, vaccine technologies, and plant patents. She is a thought leader in the field of agricultural biotechnology, as evidenced by her international reputation as a preeminent authority on plant biotechnology. Heidi was recently appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to hold a seat on the prestigious United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent Public Advisory Committee, where she serves as a strong representative for Iowa’s biotechnology community on the national stage. She is the first woman to be Managing Partner of McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC, a well-known Des Moines-area law firm that specializes in intellectual property.

Dr. Chris Nelson is president and CEO of Kemin Industries, a global nutritional ingredient company specializing in improving human and animal health through molecular innovations. Under his leadership over nearly 30 years, Kemin Industries has quadrupled in size to operate more than 18 manufacturing facilities on six continents, with business operations in more than 90 countries. With annual revenue exceeding $1 billion, Kemin Industries is dedicated to its vision of sustainability transforming the quality of life for 80% of the world’s population. Dr. Nelson has done tremendous work to advance STEM education across the state of Iowa, all while running a global animal and human health company that has been critical to making Iowa a leader in innovation on the global stage.

“We are thrilled to recognize not only one, but two outstanding individuals for the 2022 Iowa Biotech Leader Award," said IowaBio Executive Director, Jessica Hyland. "You’d be hard-pressed to find two leaders who have done more than Heidi Nebel and Chris Nelson to represent and promote Iowa’s biotech industry on a national and global stage. Their significant efforts to set Iowa on a trajectory of continued growth in the biotechnology industry will be recognized for years to come. We are proud to name both Heidi and Chris as the 2022 Biotech Leaders of the Year.”

About IowaBio

Since 1994, the Iowa Biotechnology Association (IowaBio) has provided benefits and services to promote the interests and growth of the life sciences industries in Iowa. IowaBio is a non-profit, membership-based organization with a diversified membership including industry companies from all segments of biotechnology, universities & colleges, state & federal associations, as well as numerous service and support companies. The Association seeks to promote the success and growth of biotech-based businesses in Iowa. For more information, please visit 

About the Iowa Biotech Showcase & Conference

The Iowa Biotech Showcase & Conference is a two-day conference held every spring featuring a startup pitch competition, industry-specific and collaboration-focused breakout sessions, legislative update, keynote presentation, and networking features. IBSC brings together innovators, investors, biotech leaders, and support vendors, and provides top-notch information and content to Iowa’s diverse biotech industry.

This is the sixth year the award has been included as part of IowaBio’s annual showcase and conference. This year’s award was sponsored and presented by America’s Cultivation Corridor. America's Cultivation Corridor accelerates agtech and bioscience startups by connecting them to the global resources, talent, and capital of Iowa.


Additional Info

Media Contact : Melanie Brown, 515-327-9156

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