PCDC Sees Bio Science Opportunities

4 Oct 2016

Involvement in a new biosciences trade organization could lead to potential business prospects for Phelps County.

PCDC recently joined Bio Nebraska to build relationships with companies working in biosciences.

“This is more exploratory on our part,” Tillery said. “It’s a good place to make connections. Sometimes, with those connections, you can connect the dots.”

Bio Nebraska was established in 2005. Its mission is to champion biotechnology and advocate for its member organizations to promote academic, industry, and government partnerships to foster the growth of life sciences in Nebraska.

According to its website, Nebraska biotechnology researchers “expand the boundaries of science to benefit mankind by providing better healthcare, enhanced agriculture, and a cleaner and safer environment, hence creating opportunities for economic development within the state.”

The biosciences industry includes agricultural feedstock and chemicals; drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices and equipment; research, testing, and medical laboratories.

Nationally, employment is growing in the biosciences fields, according to Bio Nebraska, and employees in the biosciences sector earn higher wages than other industries.

“This sector represents high impact to economic growth,” according to the website.

PCDC is the first economic development organization in the state to be part of Bio Nebraska, which could be a benefit to the county.

There are currently 72 members of the organization, including companies like Merck Animal Health, Pfizer Inc., Monsanto and Johnson & Johnson, and organizations such as the Nebraska Ethanol Board, Lincoln and Omaha chambers of commerce and the University of Nebraska’s four campuses.

PCDC was featured in the member spotlight section of Bio Nebraska’s September e-newsletter. In the article, Tillery touted the new 134-acre Iron Horse Business & Industry Park and explained what type of industries might find Phelps County appealing for future business opportunities.

Tillery also attended a Bio Nebraska event in mid-September, where he heard a speech by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green about new bioscience collaborations between the Lincoln campus and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Tillery said he made numerous contacts at the meeting, and he plans to foster those relationships so that companies will keep Phelps County on their radar.

Agriculture remains a driver of Phelps County’s economy, Tillery said, and future bioscience projects could support agriculture or help bring other types of industries to the area.

 “This is really important for us to be able to diversify the farm economy so we can flatten out some of the peaks and valleys,” he said.