Brad Halvorsen of the Flinn Foundation is the Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year

A leader, who through decades of service has made a significant impact on developing Arizona’s bioscience sector, Brad Halvorsen is being honored as the 2023 Jon W. McGarity Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year.  Arizona’s life science community will gather to honor  Halvorsen at the AZBio Awards on September 27, 2023.

Brad Halvorsen

“For over three decades, Brad Halvorsen has used his skills and talents to improve the quality of life in Arizona,” stated Joan Koerber-Walker, President & CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association. “Brad leads by example and inspires others to come together to achieve individual and shared goals.  Programs he has supported and led have helped to drive the growth of our life science industry, helped bioscience  entrepreneurs to move their projects forward, provided educational opportunities for Arizona scholars, inspired community members to become civic leaders, and more.”

Charting the Path to Growth

In 2002, the Flinn Foundation, a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization that had historically focused on health care and biomedical research, led the creation of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap: a long-term strategic plan and statewide collaboration to bring Arizona to bioscience prosperity. The plan aimed to strengthen and diversify the state’s economic base while offering Arizonans first access to the latest health care innovations. The Roadmap was updated in 2014 with the goal of Arizona becoming globally competitive and a national leader in select areas of the biosciences by 2025.

Brad Halvorsen had become the Flinn Foundation’s first communications officer in 1989 after serving as a press aide and campaign press secretary to U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini. In 2002, he embraced the challenge of informing Arizonans about the promise of the biosciences and the Roadmap, both new concepts to most Arizonans. For the next decade, the heart of his responsibilities was giving voice to the state’s progress toward the Roadmap’s goals, as he led Flinn’s collection and dissemination of performance data and annual convenings of state leaders to build momentum.

In 2015, Brad was appointed Executive Vice President of the Foundation, a role he still holds. He supports President & CEO Tammy McLeod, Ph.D., in leading the directions and operations of the Foundation overall and has provided strategic leadership for several of the Foundation’s initiatives, including oversight of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap and its Steering Committee, the Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program, and the Flinn Scholars Program.

“Inside the Flinn Foundation, Brad is a champion of his colleagues, making all of us better at what we do, and his wealth of experience is vital to setting direction for our grantmaking and programs and anticipating the consequences of actions we want to take,” said Dr. McLeod. “He applies the same insight to Flinn’s work out in the community, especially as we foster collaborations across organizations in the biosciences to benefit the whole state.”

Brad’s leadership in guiding the Foundation’s programs has strengthened countless organizations, companies, and individuals. The Roadmap, now the longest-running statewide plan of its kind, continues to bolster the decision-making of cornerstone institutions, executives, and policymakers committed to the rapid growth of Arizona’s bioscience sector. The Entrepreneurship Program that Brad has overseen now counts 60 early-stage companies among its participants, with 90% remaining in business or being acquired.

Meanwhile, the Flinn Scholars Program, entering its 39th year, has created life-changing opportunities for over 700 Arizona students who have earned full-ride merit scholarships through a partnership with Arizona’s three state universities. Many of these Flinn Scholars have chosen careers here in Arizona in the biosciences, health care, and entrepreneurship.

“For over 34 years Brad has demonstrated incredible leadership to our bioscience community,” shared  Russ Yelton, President of  Yelton and Associates.  “From supporting the Bioscience Roadmap to leading the Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program to encouraging the Flinn Scholars Program Brad’s fingerprints have enriched many different groups across the state.  The impact of his work is multi-generational and his leadership has resulted in impacts across the entire state.”

A leader, who through decades of service has made a significant impact on developing Arizona’s bioscience sector, Brad Halvorsen is being honored as the 2023 Jon W. McGarity Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year.

About The Arizona Bioindustry Association, Inc. (AZBio)

For 20 years, the Arizona Bioindustry Association has supported life science innovation and life science innovators in Arizona. A key component in Arizona’s life science ecosystem, AZBio is the only statewide organization exclusively focused on Arizona’s bioscience and medical technology industry. AZBio membership includes patient advocacy organizations, life science innovators, educators, healthcare partners, and leading business organizations. AZBio and its members work to advance health innovation and to ensure that the value delivered by our community’s life-changing and lifesaving innovations benefits people in Arizona and around the world. For more information on AZBio, visit For more information on the AZBio Awards, visit

AZBio Media Contact:
Joan Koerber-Walker 480-332-9636

Posted in AZBio News.