Following a nationwide search that began in November, local nonprofit BioMed SA announced Friday the appointment of Heather Hanson, a 20-year veteran of the medical device industry, as its new president.
Hanson will take over for founding President Ann Stevens, who announced her retirement after 14 years of working to promote and grow San Antonio’s health care and bioscience sector to compete at national and international levels through strategic, data-backed initiatives.
The change in leadership comes as the organization gears up to implement a new industry action plan that calls for a focus on research for diabetes, cancer, neurological disorders, infectious diseases, and the area of trauma, wound healing, and regenerative medicine.
Stevens, who will remain an active part of the organization’s board of directors, said the industry action plan is the “apex of all the work BioMed SA has done” and is necessary for San Antonio’s health care and biosciences sectors to get to the next level.
Hanson told the Rivard Report that the details of the plan’s rollout have yet to be laid out, but it will begin with a survey of the industry sector to ensure the plan is in sync with the strengths of San Antonio’s health care and bioscience industry. Bioscience and health care in 2017 generated between $30 billion and $40 billion in economic impact and employed one in every six workers in the city, according to the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s most recent biennial study.
“I think San Antonio is positioned quite well to take a big step forward in growth, and we are going add programming to highlight” the strengths of local organizations, Hanson said. “Everything we do will be designed to help companies that are here grow their business and their talent.”
Hanson holds 24 U.S. patents for a variety of medical technologies and has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University.
“I have worked on the manufacturing line, in research and design, and understand the ins and outs of the industry” and what it takes to create new products and manage big projects, Hanson said.
In her first year, Hanson is tasked with establishing a task force to identify and address barriers to clinical trials in San Antonio and developing an asset-mapping database for the industry.
BioMed SA’s board of directors also recently elected Ann Beal Salamone as its chair. She succeeds Walt Downing, executive vice president and COO of Southwest Research Institute, who now serves as an ex officio board member. Salamone also chairs the board of directors at Rochal Industries, a research and development firm focused on innovations in wound healing.
“The COVID-19 crisis has illuminated the essential role that BioMed SA plays in our industry, and we have lofty goals for the future to help further support and grow our ecosystem,” Salamone said in a news release. “Heather’s depth of experience, leadership capabilities and long-time presence in San Antonio will help us get there, and we are thrilled to have her take the leadership reins.”