Meet the IGEM Council
The 12-member IGEM Council is appointed by the Governor and responsible for vetting IGEM grant proposals to mitigate risk and maximize the return on investment for this publicly-funded grant program. Their work advances the program’s overall goal of economic through investments in technological advancements and innovation.
The IGEM council includes the following individuals from the private sector, public sector and state agencies. Click on the photos below to see each council members’ bio.
To be Announced
Dr. Marianne Walck
Deputy Laboratory Director for Science and Technology and Chief Research Officer, INL
Dr. Marianne Walck provides strategic leadership, direction, and integration for research, science and technology at INL in her role as deputy lab director for cience and Technology and Chief Research Officer.
Prior to joining INL in January 2019, she was vice president of Sandia National Laboratories’ California laboratory and the vice president in charge of Sandia’s Energy and Climate Program. She has more than 30 years of DOE national laboratory technical leadership experience, including technical program leadership, research leadership, and line, personnel, and site management.
Dr. Walck serves on several advisory boards for universities and technical institutes, including the Texas A&M Energy Institute, and is a Senior Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology. She earned Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in geology/physics from Hope College.
She holds memberships in the American Geophysical Union, the Seismological Society of America, the Association for Women Geoscientists, the American Nuclear Society,
and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
CEO, Superior Farms
Rick is the President and CEO of Superior Farms and joined the company in May, 2013. He also previously and continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors for the company.
Superior Farms, founded in 1964 with headquarters in Davis, California, is celebrating its 50th year in business as North America’s largest processor and marketer of lamb. The company is the recognized leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves, providing products and services to customers throughout the United States, Canada, and more than 10 countries. The company has approximately 500 employee-owners at its nationwide network of facilities and offices.
Prior to joining Superior Farms, Rick was the Executive Vice President of Business Development of Agri Beef Co. headquartered in Boise, Idaho. During his 20 years at Agri Beef, the company grew from $150 million to over a $1 billion in sales and he served in a variety of roles. His responsibilities included deploying new opportunities, acquisitions, information technology, marketing, and regulatory and public policy of the company.
Rick is a fifth generation rancher. He graduated with a Bachelors and Master’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University. Currently he is serving on numerous civic and industry boards.
Director, Idaho Commerce
Tom Kealey is the Director of Idaho Commerce. Director Kealy is responsible for leading the state’s economic development efforts, fostering a business-friendly environment to aid in job creation, support existing companies, strengthen communities, and market Idaho domestically and abroad.
Director Kealey received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and B.A. from the University of Washington. He has held numerous senior business roles in Fortune 500 companies and is a long-time Idaho business owner and investor. Director Kealey was appointed by Governor Brad Little in January 2019.
Director Kealey lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife of more than 40 years, Joy. Their three grown sons were raised in Idaho where the family enjoys skiing, fishing, camping, boating, hiking, hunting and all that outdoor Idaho has to offer.
Senator Kelly Anthon
Kelly Arthur Anthon is a seventh generation Idaho native raised on a family farm in Declo, Idaho.
Senator Anthon, a licensed Idaho attorney, attended the University of Idaho’s College of Law where he was elected the College’s student body president and named the College of Law’s 2002 ‘Bistline Scholar’ by the Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Until 2012, Mr. Anthon, practiced law at the Rupert law firm of ‘Robinson, Anthon & Tribe’ where as a partner he focused on municipal law, debt restructuring, and large business reorganization. Mr. Anthon previously served as the appointed City Attorney for the cities of Burley, Rupert, Acequia, and Minidoka, Idaho. At the time of his first appointment, he was the youngest appointed city attorney in the State of Idaho. Mr. Anthon stepped away from his law firm to take the position of City Administrator in Rupert, Idaho.
Anthon’s leadership, the City of Rupert has experienced a historic period of economic growth including new business attraction, residential growth, and an expanding annexed boundary. Fluent in Japanese, Kelly also works as an event coordinator and consultant for Japanese companies.
In 2013, the Idaho Business Review and the Times News named Mr. Anthon one of Idaho’s 40 most accomplished and influential professionals under the age of 40. He currently serves as a board member with the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization (“SIEDO”), as the chair of the South Central Idaho Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, as a board member of the Mini-Cassia Economic Development Association, and as a board member of the Region IV Development Corporation. Mr. Anthon has served as an executive board member of the Idaho Municipal Attorney Association. He has also worked closely with hospitals in both Minidoka and Cassia Counties; he has served two terms as President of the Minidoka Healthcare Foundation and currently holds a seat on the governing board of the Intermountain Healthcare’s Cassia Regional Medical Center. He is a member of his local Rotary club and previously volunteered with the Idaho Department of the American Legion to operate the Gem Boys State program.
In 2014, Mr. Anthon worked on behalf of the City of Rupert with SIEDO and the Idaho Department of Commerce to successfully recruit the Frulact Group – a fruit processing company based in Portugal. The company plans on building a factory in Rupert, Idaho in the coming years; the project represents the first foreign direct investment of its kind in Idaho’s history.
In 2015, Mr. Anthon was appointed by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter to fill a vacancy in the Idaho State Senate where he now serves on the Senate Judiciary & Rules and Education Committees. Senator Anthon was also appointed to represent the Idaho State Senate as a member of the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission.
Mr. Anthon is married to Joelle (Rogers) Anthon from Rupert. Together the couple has five children.
Dr. Christopher Nomura
Vice President for Research and Economic Development, University of Idaho
Dr. Christopher T. Nomura is Vice President for Research and Economic Development and holds an academic appointment as Professor of Biochemistry in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Idaho. Prior to his current role at the University of Idaho, he served as the Vice President for Research and Professor of Biochemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF).
He received his BA in Biology with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he studied immunology and physiology of elephant seals, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology at The Pennsylvania State University for his research on cyanobacterial electron transport proteins and gene regulation. From 2001 to 2006, he worked in the internationally recognized Natural Polymer Chemistry laboratory of Prof. Dr. Yoshiharu Doi at the RIKEN Institute in Japan. Dr. Nomura has a multi-disciplinary research group whose interests span the fields of molecular microbiology, microbial physiology, metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, protein engineering, biochemistry, synthetic chemistry, and polymer chemistry with a focus on understanding gene regulation in bacteria and producing sustainable materials. Throughout his academic career, he has published and co-authored more than 70 original articles in refereed scientific journals and book chapters, and holds 4 U.S. Patents. In 2011, he received the SUNY ESF Exemplary Researcher Award for his contributions to the field of biopolymer production and has received special recognition for his mentorship of student researchers. While at SUNY, Dr. Nomura worked with researchers across the SUNY system through the SUNY Networks of Excellence to foster collaborations between SUNY faculty and industry partners. Dr. Nomura’s research programs have been sponsored by NIH, NSF, DOE, USDA, and NYSERDA.
As Vice President for Research and Economic Development (VPRED) at the University of Idaho, Dr. Nomura leads, highlights and works to advance the research programs and economic impacts of university research by leading initiatives to identify research opportunities and ensure that faculty and staff members have access to the resources needed to compete at a high level for extramural funding, and build external collaborative partnerships. As VPRED, he is the Chief Research Officer of the institution and oversees the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) which is an umbrella for administrative and technical support functions for the research enterprise at the University of Idaho.
Dr. Nancy Glenn
Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Boise State University
Dr. Nancy Glenn serves as Vice President of Research and Economic Development at Boise State University. She is also a Professor in the Department of Geosciences within the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Glenn is passionate about providing opportunities for Boise State’s community and partners to engage in the excitement of knowledge discovery and the research process. She is eager to grow research opportunities for students, faculty, and staff by collaborating with partners across divisions at Boise State and beyond campus. She brings a deep commitment to developing positive relationships, and an entrepreneurial approach to building research, and combining these to help others succeed.
Her various leadership roles, including director, department chair, Federal Relations Liaison, and a joint appointment with the Department of Energy, have provided Dr. Glenn with a strong understanding of how universities and agencies operate across multiple divisions. As the science lead of a statewide project, Dr. Glenn created a faculty mentoring program, boosting academic achievement and retention. She co-developed the interdisciplinary Human-Environment Systems (HES) initiative at Boise State, which includes innovative structures and policies to incentivize and reward faculty to deliver, in partnership, substantive positive impact to the communities in which they work.
Dr. Glenn’s research focuses on imaging spectroscopy and lidar remote sensing of the environment. As a researcher with over 90 peer reviewed publications, Dr. Glenn and her students, along with her colleagues, have developed remote sensing science tools to monitor and improve dryland ecosystems. She has garnered over $30M in external funding for her lab to advance students’ knowledge in remote sensing, data science and engineering, research processes, and communication. Her research has been funded through grants from NASA, National Science Foundation, NOAA, US Department of Defense, US Department of Energy, US Department of Agriculture, and US Department of Interior.
Her national and international engagement includes serving on the editorial board and guest editor of several journals, serving on National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study reviews, and serving on several steering committees for NASA and the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Glenn earned her bachelor’s degree in geological engineering from University of Nevada Reno, her master’s degree in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley, and her PhD in Geo-Engineering from University of Nevada, Reno.
Dr. Martin Blair
Vice President for Research, Idaho State University
Dr. Martin Blair’s serves as Vice President for Research at Idaho State University. His vision-driven leadership at ISU builds and strengthens collaborative relationships with strategic partners in university, industry, government and philanthropic domains. He guides community-based research, training and service initiatives through collaborative strategy development, implementation and evaluation.
Dr. Blair began his career as a special education teacher. Then, spent the next two decades at the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Utah State University as director of numerous state and national research & training initiatives. In 2013, he assumed leadership of the University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities.
In these various roles, Dr. Blair has generated over $35 million to improve the quality of services, supports and policies for individuals with disabilities and their families. He was appointed the Idaho State University Vice President for Research in July 2022.
Idaho House of Representatives
Jeff Ehlers is a 6th generation Idahoan. He grew up in a small town in Eastern Idaho working on his neighbor’s potato farm and later working for his dad’s small business. He has a Bachelors and Master of Accounting from BYU-Provo, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Utah.
At BYU, he was part of the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and at the U of U, he was part of the Lassonde Entrepreneurship Center. He’s been very involved in the Idaho startup community.
He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He has started and sold several of his own businesses and currently runs his own outsourced CFO practice. In 2022, he was elected to the Idaho House of Representatives. He and his wife have 4 children.
Juan Carlos Duque
Managing Director, Galena Capital Partners
Juan Carlos Duque is a Managing Director at Galena Capital Partners, the only FINRA-registered investment bank based in Boise. He has over 25 years of experience in private investments, mergers & acquisitions transactions, and financings spanning a broad range of industries throughout the United States, UK, and Latin America. His professional experience includes work with The Pritzker Organization, the investment team advising business interests of the Pritzker family in Chicago; Darby Emerging Markets Fund, a private equity fund founded by Nicholas Brady; Atlantica Hotels International, the largest privately-held hotel management company in Latin America; the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group; and Capital Workshop, an advisory practice with clients ranging from early-stage ventures to mature enterprises.
Juan Carlos is a graduate of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and pursued a doctoral program in finance at The Fuqua School at Duke University. He is married with two children and has lived in Idaho since 2013.
President, Stelvio Strategies
Damond Watkins was born and raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He earned a BA from the University of Utah, where in his senior year of college, he served as the student body president. He earned an MA from Dartmouth College and served a humanitarian mission in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Damond has a comprehensive background in business management working as an executive for several multi-national, Idaho-based companies in corporate affairs, philanthropy and private equity. He serves on numerous boards and associations including the Northwest Better Business Bureau, where he diligently advances consumer protection causes. As a member of the President’s Commission of White House Fellowships and the Republican National Committee.
He and his wife, Jinger, have four children and reside in Idaho Falls where he enjoys cycling and fly-fishing.