Innovate Iowa

David Norton brings Innovation message to Iowa
Johnson & Johnson Group Chairman joined by business and innovation leaders in Des Moines

David Norton, Company Group Chairman at Johnson & Johnson, headlined an "Innovate Iowa" breakfast event in Des Moines on February 9. The event provided an opportunity for Mr. Norton and Iowa business, academic and economic development leaders to discuss strategies for growing the biopharmaceutical and life sciences sector. Media on the day included WHO-AM Newsradio, the Des Moines Register, and AP. The breakfast gathering drew approximately 100 attendees. A recap of the day's activities follows.

A pre-event reception offered Mr. Norton the chance to mingle with Innovate Iowa co-chairs and policy leaders, including:

 - Doug Reichardt, Chairman of Innovate Iowa
 - Doug Getter, Executive Director, Iowa Biotechnology Association
 - Ambassador Ken Quinn, World Food Prize President
 - Ric Jurgens, Chairman and CEO, HyVee; 2010 President, Food Marketing Institute (FMI)
 - Robert Riley, Iowa Department of Economic Development Board Member
 - Karen Merrick, Deputy Director, Iowa Department of Economic Development
 - Eliot Smith, President, Iowa Business Council

Action Item: Mr. Jurgens and Mr. Reichardt offered to host a planning meeting of area business leaders to discuss next steps for Innovate Iowa. Mr. Norton suggested that Innovate Iowa hold planning meetings on the campuses of Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.

The event began with comments from Jeannete Larkin, Publisher of Des Moines Business Record, who offered a brief welcome on behalf of the publication (a media partner). Doug Getter of the Iowa Biotechnology Association outlined the Innovate Iowa concept and discussed how the program was a direct result of Congressman Gephardt's November 2009 forum on medical innovation in Des Moines. Doug Reichardt, Chair of Innovate Iowa, provided remarks that connected wellness, prevention and overall community health with innovation and job creation. Mr. Norton gave the keynote address, providing guidance to the group on how to make Iowa a leader in research, discovery and innovation. He stressed the critical linkages between public and private sector communication and cooperation, and the central role academic institutions play in the development of a life sciences hub.

Q and A with Audience and Panel Members:
 - David Norton, Johnson & Johnson
 - Doug Getter, Iowa Biotechnology Association
 - Doug Reichardt, Innovate Iowa
 - Ric Jurgens, HyVee

Congressman Boswell and Chief of Staff Sally Bowzer met with Mr. Norton following the AP interview. Mr. Norton outlined the importance of protecting and promoting innovation in Iowa and across America. He also talked in detail about the important role agriculture can play in future treatments and discoveries.

Action Item: Congressman Boswell asked for another detailed briefing later this Spring and would like to stay in touch.  Iowa staff suggested that he join Innovate Iowa officials at a public/media event this Spring at Kemin Industries in Des Moines.

Mr. Norton was also able to meet with Kevin Condon, Special Assistant to Senator Tom Harkin for Economic Development.

Mr. Norton and Mr. Reichardt participated in a recorded interview with WHO-AM radio via telephone. News Director Jim Boyd moderated the call.

Doug Reichardt, Doug Getter and David Norton participated in a media interview at the Des Moines AP Bureau. Business Reporter David Pitt conducted the interview. Mr. Getter provided background on the project, while Mr. Reichardt connected innovation directly to job creation. Mr. Norton provided a global perspective on why research, education and job creation partnerships are essential, and outlined efforts to encourage and promote investment through sound public policy.

David Norton and Doug Reichardt met with Des Moines Register Business Editor and Columnist Dave Elbert to discuss Innovate Iowa. Doug outlined the need for job creation efforts to more closely synthesize their efforts with health, agricultural and education activities. Mr. Norton briefed Elbert on the approach leading companies like Johnson and Johnson take in seeking new research partners.

Des Moines Register
2/10: Business Study Goal: Encourage innovation, create jobs (pdf)
WHO Radio
2/9: Innovate Iowa Launched (pdf)
2/9: Innovate Iowa - Full Audio (mp3)
Innovate Iowa
David Norton, providing the keynote address.
Innovate Iowa
Pre-event reception with Doug Reichardt, Chairman of Innovate Iowa.
Innovate Iowa
The Innovate Iowa breakfast drew nearly 100 area business professionals.
Innovate Iowa
David Norton speaks with Kevin Condon from Senator Harkin's office.
Innovate Iowa
Meeting with Representative Boswell.