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2017 Awards

2017 Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology

Sponsored by The Rosalind Franklin Society

Each year this award is given to an outstanding woman in the industrial biotechnology sector who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the biobased economy and biotech innovation.

Vonnie Estes is a biotech industry veteran and currently an independent business consultant. She was most recently Vice President of Business Development at Caribou Biosciences, leading the company’s partnerships and business development activities in agricultural and industrial biotechnology. Prior to joining Caribou Biosciences, Vonnie Estes served as Managing Director for Granbio, where she oversaw the company’s continued expansion and growth across North America and was responsible for identifying and licensing new technologies, overseeing large capital investments and raising brand awareness.

Past Franklin Award Recipients

  • Anna Rath, President & CEO, Nexsteppe, Inc.
  • Jennifer Holmgren, CEO, LanzaTech
  • Dr. Debbie Yaver, Director of Expression Technology, Genomics and Bioinformatics



2017 George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology

Sponsored by IowaBio

This award was created to recognize significant contributions by individuals in the field of industrial biotechnology and its application in biological engineering, environmental science, biorefining, and biobased products. 

Jeff Broin is a distinguished innovator, entrepreneur and leader in the industrial biotechnology industry, and ranks among the most influential people in agriculture as well. His privately held, integrated business model handles the design and construction, management, marketing, commodity trading and research and development for all 28 biorefineries. He has used industrial biotechnology to create robust value chains and is most proud of his contribution to the agriculture segment in the United States and abroad. Biofuels have created a market for agricultural products, which have rejuvenated rural America. Each biorefinery contributes an average of $200 million annually to its local community, and POET purchases over 550 million bushels of grain annually from over 20,000 farmers.

Past Carver Award Recipients

  • Dr. J. Craig Venter, Co-Founder of Synthetic Genomics and Executive Chairman of Human Longevity
  • Jonathan Wolfson, CEO & Co-Founder, Solazyme
  • Ellen Kullman, CEO & Chair of the Board, DuPont - View her acceptance speech here
  • Dr. Jay Keasling, Hubbard Howe Jr.Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley 
  • Steen Riisgaard, President and CEO of Novozymes
  • Feike Sijbesma, CEO, DSM
  • Dr. Greg Stephanopoulos,  Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT
  • Charles O. Holliday, Jr.,  CEO & Chair of the Board, DuPont
  • Patrick Gruber, CEO, Gevo, Inc

2017 BIO Leadership and Legacy Award in Industrial Biotechnology Recipient

Sponsored by BIO

This award is presented to an individual who has shown exemplary leadership and who has dedicated a significant portion of their career to advancing industrial biotechnology and growing the biobased economy.

During his 30-year career, Dr. Surgeoner has been a dedicated leader who works tirelessly to promote initiatives and champion causes that are important to the well-being of the province of Ontario and its citizens. Dr. Surgeoner is a strong advocate for the Canadian Biobased Economy, Canadian agriculture, advancing sustainability, and the opportunities Canada has in a global marketplace.


Past recipients include:

  • Dr. Ganesh Kishore, Managing Partner, Spruce Capital Partners