Joni Ekstrum, executive directorJoni Ekstrum serves as executive director of South Dakota Biotech. She oversees its advocacy, communication, education, and membership services, representing more than 60 members in industries from food and agriculture to human health and renewable energy.
Since she assumed this role in 2012, Ekstrum has grown the membership and increased gross profit while maintaining and expanding membership benefits. Her collaborative approach has provided connections for networking and led to new business and partnering opportunities for both members and individuals. Her passion for the industry and charismatic personality have helped build relationships with other states and parent organization BIO, legislators, other advocacy groups, venture capital, economic development, and other industry partners.
During her tenure, Ekstrum has made a significant impact on the biotech industry in South Dakota and energized the association. She is a tireless advocate and enthusiastic promoter for the association, its members, and affiliates. She has brought attention to the significant economic impacts of an innovation-driven economy and served as an effective liaison in advocacy issues to keep the progress of biotech moving.
As executive director of South Dakota Biotech, Ekstrum represents the interests and provides input on behalf of the biotech industry on many boards, including:
- Council of State Bioscience Association Board of Directors;
- Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary Board of Directors;
- Sioux Empire Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors;
- South Dakota Development Corporation Board of Directors;
- South Dakota State University Institutional Biosafety Committee
Ekstrum remains active in the business community by attending various events across the state and volunteering as TeamMates mentor and EmBe Women's Leadership Mentor.
Before South Dakota Biotech, Ekstrum served as POET's political action committee administrator. In that role representing one of the world's largest ethanol producers, Ekstrum grew PAC membership from 100 to 700 members, making it the largest PAC in the renewable fuels industry. She also is a veteran of many statewide political campaigns.
Ekstrum has a B.S. in Psychology from South Dakota State University and has three children and two step-children.
Beth Lambeth, associate executive directorBeth Lambeth joined South Dakota Biotech as the associate director in January 2024. Beth is a connector that thrives on creating synergistic partnerships to drive growth within the bioscience industry, fully aligned with South Dakota Biotech's mission to connect leaders, shape the future, and deliver groundbreaking innovations. Beth's experience in business development, strategy, and advocacy empowers organizations to collaborate, innovate, and make an impact.
Beth joins SDBio after working as an Innovation Strategist with Sanford Health. Her first experience in biotech came through her role as the Technology Transfer Officer at the University of South Dakota. Beth has built and directed programs to assist biotech entrepreneurs and to train graduate students on technology commercialization pathways.
Beth has an M.B.A. from the University of South Dakota.