This month, Peter Abair officially began his role as Executive Director of the MassBioEd Foundation, MassBio’s sister organization with a mission to engage science teachers, inspire students to pursue STEM, and guide tomorrow’s life sciences workforce. We sat down with Pete to talk about his vision for the future of MassBioEd.
Q: Why did you decide to apply for the Executive Director position at MassBioEd?
A: I served as director of economic development for nine years at MassBio. This brought me into contact often with MassBioEd and led to several significant collaborations on education and training issues. When Lance Hartford informed me that he was moving on, I immediately pursued the position. MassBioEd has always been in the vanguard of the STEM education movement. Knowing firsthand how important life sciences education and workforce development is to companies considering location to or expansion in Massachusetts, I recognized the critical role that MassBioEd plays and wanted to be part of it.
Q: How do you think your former role at MassBio (as well as your many years spent in government) will help shape your impact at MassBioEd?
A: I’ve found, both at MassBio and in my past government experience, that you become a valued partner when you are able to master information and present it in a helpful manner to stakeholders. One way to advance the position of Massachusetts as a premier global center for biopharmaceutical research and commercialization, is by demystifying the pathway from the classroom to the workplace. We will be able to do that because we’ll master the information needed to be an effective, trusted guide for educators, students, and industry in growing a workforce that seeks to meet unmet medical needs globally.
Q: What is your vision for MassBioEd?
A: At its core, MassBioEd is about engaging teachers, inspiring students and guiding the workforce of tomorrow in this incredible life sciences industry. In BioTeach, we have the best-in-class program that provides critical, lab-based training to public high schools teachers, who, in turn, inspire students across the state to pursue studies in science. Through the establishment of our upcoming job trends and forecasting program, we will be able to effectively guide educators and trainers in the development of curricula that enables graduates to have the skills needed to work in the life sciences. Industry will benefit greatly by having a trusted source for information about workforce.
Q: Where do you see the organization in 10 years?
A: Fundamentally, our focus is and will be in science classrooms throughout Massachusetts. The value of exposing students to lessons in biotechnology is self-evident. As they are now, our lab-based educational programs will be providing teachers and students with instruction that is current with the biotechnology field. We will also be the essential resource – to educators and industry alike – for information on job-trends and skills requirements for careers in the industry.
Support MassBioEd and Pete in his new role at MassBio’s 21st Annual Golf Classic to benefit MassBioEd on September 11th at the Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth, MA! All proceeds support the MassBioEd and their mission to inspire students to pursue STEM.