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Fort Dodge has presence at giant tech gathering

Official says this area is where ideas will become products

-Submitted photo
Among those representing Iowa at the BIO International Convention this week in San Diego, California, were, from left, Kiley Miller, communications and economic development director for Alliant Energy; Mark Laurenzo, business development manager for the Iowa Economic Development Authority; Austin Korns, economic development director for Greater Iowa City Inc.; and Jefferson Fosbender, economic development director for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.

The Fort Dodge region is an ideal place for biotech innovators to begin turning their ideas into products, according to a local economic development leader.

“We are so well positioned to grow and become a place where biotech can find a home,” said Jefferson Fosbender, the economic development director of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.

That was the message he promoted this week during a huge international gathering dedicated to biotechnology.

Fosbender was among about 19,000 attendees at the BIO International Convention in San Diego, California.

BIO stands for Biotech Innovation Organization

“The mission of this group is essentially to heal, fuel and feed the world,” he said.

The convention took place in the San Diego Convention Center, which Fosbender said would span the length of Central Avenue from the City Square to 12th Street.

Finding out what kinds of biotech innovations could be nearing the manufacturing stage was one of his major objectives at the convention. He said breakthroughs could occur in labs anywhere, but the finished products will be made in places like Fort Dodge and Webster County.

According to Fosbender, there are a lot of small startups that are “vetting these technologies.” Their next step, he said, will be finding a way and a place to transition into production.

“Once these technologies are developed, we are going to be the ones that will manufacture the products,” he said.

Networking and learning from experts was his other major objective at the convention.

“It was just awesome to hear from the brightest minds on the planet and biggest tech presences on the face of the Earth,” Fosbender said.

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