2015 Summit Speakers


Stephen R. Padgette, Ph.D, MBA

Vice President, R&D Investment Strategy, Growth Ventures Lead, Biologicals Lead, Distinguished Science Fellow
Monsanto Company

After obtaining his B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Steve joined Monsanto in 1984, focusing on the development of enzymes and genes to confer glyphosate-tolerance to crop plants. Steve is co-inventor of the gene which confers the Roundup Ready® (RR) trait, the most widely-used biotechnology trait in agriculture, led the regulatory sciences studies for safety approvals of RR soybean, cotton and canola and co-wrote the successful FDA and USDA regulatory submissions for RR soybean.Steve assumed the role of Vice President, Biotechnology in 1998, and during Steve’s tenure Monsanto Biotechnology strengthened its industry-leading position in the discovery, development and commercialization of crop biotechnology traits in corn, soybean, cotton, canola and other crops. Steve assumed his current role in Monsanto’s Global Strategy Group in 2011 and has responsibility for R&D investment strategies for the company.  This includes responsibility for Monsanto’s corporate venture capital program, Monsanto Growth Ventures, with offices in San Francisco, CA and St. Louis, MO. In addition, Steve leads Monsanto’s Biologicals business efforts, including business and strategy for Monsanto’s new microbial-based BioAg Alliance with Novozymes and the RNA technology BioDirect™. Steve is a member of the Board of Directors of the BioAg Alliance with Novozymes, Preceres, LLC and Nimbus-Ceres LLC and he serves on the External Advisory Boards of the Georgia Institute of Technology Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Steve received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University in 2007.  In his spare time, Steve enjoys snow skiing, music, cars, boating, travel and family.  Steve, his wife Dominique and two of their four children reside in Chesterfield, Missouri.


Dr. Jay B. Labov

Senior Advisor for Education and Communications
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) // National Research Council (NRC) 

ay B. Labov serves as a Senior Advisor for Education and Communications for the National Research Council. He also served for three years as Deputy Director for the NRC’s Center for Education and was the study director and responsible staff officer for the NRC reports, Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (2003); Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools (2002); Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millennium (2000); Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (1999); Serving the Needs of Pre-College Science and Mathematics Education: Impact of a Digital National Library on Teacher Education and Practice (1999); and Developing a Digital National Library for Undergraduate Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education (1998). He has served as Director of the Center for Education’s Committee on Undergraduate Science Education, Committee on Science Education K-12, and the National Academies’ Teacher Advisory Council.

Dr. Labov is currently the co-PI for a multiyear grant from the National Science Foundation to the Center for Education and an NSF grant to offer workshops to grantees of the NSF’s Math/Science Partnership Initiative that will enable them to better understand and implement the recommendations in NRC reports on education. He also currently oversees the NRC’s and National Academy of Science’s efforts to improve the teaching of evolution in the public schools and a recently expanded effort of the National Academies to work more closely with disciplinary and professional societies on education issues.


 Stephen R. Statz, R.Ph., MBA

President, Avera Health

Stephen R. Statz, R.Ph., MBA, is Sr. Vice President of Business Development at Avera Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Prior to joining Avera Health, Steve was the Sr. Vice President of Hospital Operations at Avera McKennan where his responsibilities included all facets of Avera McKennan hospital operations.

Previously, Statz was President of Statz Companies, Inc. a family business with five retail pharmacies and six home medical equipment stores as well as president of Tel-Drug, Inc., a mail-order pharmacy business, which he sold to Cigna Companies in October of 1993. Statz holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Creighton University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Sioux Falls.

Statz is active in a number of professional organizations and currently serves on the following Boards: SD Board of Pharmacy, Southeast Technical Institute Foundation, South Dakota Special Olympics, South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organization Council on Acute Care, South Dakota Biotech Association and First Bank and Trust, NA, as well as serving on several other church and community organizations boards.


Eddie Sullivan, Ph.D.

President & CEO
SAB Biotherapeutics, Inc.

Dr. Eddie Sullivan is President and CEO of SAB Biotherapeutics, a biopharmaceutical development company, in Sioux Falls. He was previously Head of Sanford Applied Biosciences and former CEO and President of Hematech Inc.

Prior to Hematech, Dr. Sullivan worked as the director of a successful human fertility laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona where he was certified as a High Complexity Laboratory Director by the American Board of Bioanalysis. He was also a consultant for an animal diagnostics company in molecular genetics and analytical test development. His research focused on aspects of human and animal embryology and he has worked extensively in the areas of assisted reproductive techniques as well as cloning in animal livestock species with particular interest in applied research.

In his current position with SAB, Dr. Sullivan has been instrumental in building the diversitAb™ system and is leading toward applied commercialization of the first genetically engineered animal made human pharmaceuticals using this unique technology. He has worked with various committees and discussion groups that have focused on animal biotechnology and has actively participated in the discussions for establishing a regulatory framework for this technology.

Dr. Sullivan has served as President and is a founding member of South Dakota Biotech. He also served as Chairman of the Animal Biotech Policy Committee and is a member of the Food and Agriculture Section Governing Board and Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization in Washington DC. 


Dr. Pat Kelly, MD

Vascular Surgeon, Sanford Health

Dr. Patrick Kelly studied Civil Engineering at the University of Wyoming, and before attending medical school he worked as a Structural Engineer with Banner Associates in Brookings, SD. He is a board certified vascular surgeon at Sanford Health and is currently the Medical Director of the Sanford Advanced Aortic Program, Sanford Vascular Services and the Sanford Wound Clinic. 

He has pioneered several surgeries including the first complete endovascular aortic arch aneurysm repair in the world. He advises the FDA and the Society for Vascular Surgeons on clinical trials for complex aneurysm repair and recently published a template which guides vascular surgeons through the process of applying for- and conducting- physician-sponsored investigational device studies.  

Dr. Kelly is an active inventor of medical devices with over 70 issued or pending patents. Most recently Sanford Health and Medtronic, PLC entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the intention of commercializing his technology for repairing thoracoabadominal aortic aneurysms. He also invests in early stage medical device companies and enjoys actively participating in their growth and development. His company, BlueDop medical is expected to achieve CE Mark approval for their innovative Doppler ultrasound product in mid-2016.


 Ron Utecht, Ph.D.

 Chief Scientific Officer  //  Alumend

Dr. Ron Utecht, a former Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at South Dakota State University, invented the light‐activated technology. He used to work part time for a joint venture developing the product. Now he works full time for Alumend.

He traces the roots of NVS back to 1990s and points out that, through the years, other researchers helped develop the product. Work initially was conducted by two researchers from SDSU and two from Baylor Research Institute in Dallas, Texas.


Dr. Barry Dunn

South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences,
South Dakota State University

Barry Dunn serves as South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at South Dakota State University and Director of SDSU Extension. He is an expert in beef production and ranching systems and a member of several professional organizations, including the Society for Range Management, the American Society of Animal Science, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.


 Dr. William Gibbons, Ph.D.

Vice President Operations, Prairie Aquatech
Biology/Microbiology Department, South Dakota State University

Dr. William Gibbons is an industrial microbiologist in the Biology & Microbiology Department at South Dakota State University. His early research in the 1980’s helped contribute to the corn ethanol industry in the United States. His research has since focused on using microbial metabolism to develop value-added products from biomass. 

One of these projects created a process to enhance the protein content of oilseed meals and corn distillers’ grains for use in high value livestock feeds and the aquaculture industry. This led to several patent applications and the formation of a start-up company Prairie AquaTech.


Steve Lewis, MBA

Vice President of Technology and Innovation, Poet

Steve Lewis, Vice President of Technology and Innovation, has been with POET since August 1998. Lewis’s primary focus while at POET has been on continued production advances in dry grind ethanol plants. Lewis has 33 years of experience in industrial biotechnology.

Prior to joining POET, Lewis served as an Applications Specialist at Genencor International in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Lewis received a B.S. in Microbiology from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and a Master of Business Administration from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. He also studied Food Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois.

Lewis currently resides in Sioux Falls, S.D., with his wife and 3 children.


Dr. Robb Winter

Head and Professor, CBE, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

Dr. Winter currently oversees the operation of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at SDSM&T, which includes ~230 undergraduate students, ~40 graduate students, and 12 faculty and staff, budgets and infrastructure.

Management experience: Head, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Site Director, NSF I/UCRC Center for BioEnergy R&D; Interim Director, SD 2010 Center for Bioprocessing Research and Development; Co-Founder and co-Director, Composites and Polymer Engineering Laboratory

Teaching experience: freshmen chemical engineering introduction; core chemical engineering courses and laboratories, polymer technology, pollution control and global and contemporary issues in chemical engineering

Research experience: the relationship between nano-mechanical and chemical phenomena, polymer processing; pollution phenomena; sabbaticals: Sandia National Laboratories, University of Texas - Austin


Tyler Remund, Ph.D.

Director of the Vascular Research Commercialization Group
Sanford Health

Tyler is the Director of the Vascular Research Commercialization Group at Sanford Health.  Their focus is on the areas of complex aneurysm repair and peripheral vascular drug delivery.

They recently announced a commercial licensing agreement with Medtronic who plans to market a stent graft invented by Dr Kelly and that is intended for repairing thoracoabadominal aortic aneurysms.  Before Sanford Research Tyler worked for South Dakota Innovation Partners, a seed stage venture capital group who partnered with University Researchers to commercialize inventions in the areas of biofuels, solar energy, drug delivery, and animal feeds. Tyler grew up in Huron, South Dakota, studied Mechanical Engineering at SDSU and earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at USD. 


Daniel Engebretson, Ph.D.

Chair, Biomedical Engineering
University of South Dakota

Dan Engebretson earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1997 from Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI under the direction of Drs. Daniel Nocera and George Leroi. After graduate school he took the position of Senior Scientist at Dakota Technologies, Inc. in Fargo, ND.  He then accepted the position of Senior Research Specialist at the Avera Research Institute in Sioux Falls, SD. After Avera he joined The University of South Dakota as the Director of the Center for Research and Development of Light-Activated Materials, a position he still holds in addition to his duties as the Chair of Biomedical Engineering and the Director of the Graduate Education and Applied Research Center.   

Dr. Engebretson’s major research interests are the development Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)-based sensors for in vitro diagnostics and targeted drug delivery.  His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and the Department of Transportation.


Lucas Huntimer, Ph.D.

Principal Scientist, Elanco

Lucas Huntimer serves as a Principal Scientist at Elanco. He has 5 years of combined experience in the animal health biologics industry. Lucas holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from South Dakota State University in 2006 as well as a Doctorate of Philosophy in Immunobiology from Iowa State University in 2013.

The focus of Lucas’s research at Iowa State was to explore the mechanisms of how the use of novel surface eroding polyanhydride micro and nanovaccines can enhance cellular and humoral immune responses. His work also focused on the design of new vaccines with the novel micro and nanovaccines. Currently, Lucas works in researching, designing, and developing new vaccines and biologics for bovine, porcine, and companion animal species as well as continuing to develop existing farm animal vaccines and biologics. 

Lucas is an active member of many professional scientific organizations. He is also chair of the Lab Quality Systems team as well as participating in the Continuing Education Committee and Team Health within Novartis Animal Health.


 Adam Hoppe, Ph.D.

Director, South Dakota Research Innovation Center:  The Biochemical Signaling Network Resource (BioSNTR) 

Dr. Hoppe’s research focuses on the biophysical mechanisms of cell-surface receptor signaling governing cell growth and function. These efforts require studying the nanometer-scale organization of biochemical machinery within single living cells. To this end, Dr. Hoppe is developing new imaging technologies to quantify molecular interactions on the surface and inside of living cells.

This information is being used to create mechanistic and mathematical models of signaling pathways. Current efforts are focused on the macrophage colony stimulating factor receptor (MCSFR) and its role in leukemias and inflammatory conditions arising from aberrant MCSFR signaling.  

In addition, Dr. Hoppe is the leader of the newly funded South Dakota Research Innovation Center: The Biochemical Signaling NeTwork Resource (BioSNTR). BioSNTR will create a strong multi-institutional research program in cell signaling and systems biology in both plants and animals. 

BioSNTR will bridge academic and business activities to strengthen biotechnology business in South Dakota.


Rollie Nevins

Chief Operations and Financial Officer, RTI, LLC – RESEARCH TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION

Rollie Nevins is Chief Operating Officer and Business Development Manager for Rural Technologies, Inc. of Brookings, SD. Rural Technologies, Inc. is a leading contract research organization serving the animal health and nutrition industry. Specializing in biologicals for food animals, RTI’s clients include several Fortune 500 companies as well as multi-nationals, mid-size, and start-up bio-tech firms.

Nevins received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Minnesota. His agri-business career began with 10 years as a District Manager for Ralston Purina Co. Over the next 15 years his entrepreneurial efforts resulted in starting and serving as President of three livestock and agronomy supply companies. Upon selling these businesses he started and served as CEO of Supreme Pork, Inc. and RM Layers, LLC.

Nevins has served on boards of several professional and community organizations. He has dedicated a significant amount of volunteer effort to rural economic development including being one of the founders and Chairman of Deuel Area Development, Inc. There he helped lead the establishment of a state-recognized Entrepreneurial Resource Program.