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Patrick Springer, Published May 09 2013

Former local EDC head Walters new VP of strategy at Aldevron

FARGO – Brian Walters, who once headed the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp., has been named vice president of strategy for Aldevron, a local biotechnology firm.

Walters was president of the development group from 2002 until he was recruited to lead an economic development commission in Orlando, Fla., in 2010.

During his tenure in Fargo-Moorhead, Walters identified biotechnology and the life sciences as an emerging growth area to target for economic and job growth.

Michael Chambers, president and chief executive officer of Aldevron, said Thursday that Walters will help steer the firm’s rapid growth in areas including vaccines and cancer therapies in tandem with research partners.

“Aldevron is going through some incredible growth right now,” Chambers said.

The firm, which provides custom laboratory services for research labs and vaccine developers using plasmid DNA materials, is expanding its space in Fargo.

Aldevron has been looking at the former Woodrow Wilson school near downtown. Original plans called for 33,000 square feet, but now plans call for 56,000 square feet, Chambers said.

“It’s gotten a lot bigger than we originally intended,” he said.

The Fargo-based firm employs 84, with other locations in Madison, Wis., and Germany; 54 employees are in Fargo.

Staffing in Fargo easily could double, exceeding 100, in the first phase of Aldevron’s expansion, Chambers said. He hopes remodeling and construction could begin next year.

“With all these things, we need some help with strategy,” Aldevron said, referring to Walters’ new position. His role will be “really to help define the path for this next phase,” including new products, making the company better for employees and clients, and working with university partners, Chambers said.

A native of Lignite, N.D., Walters said he is looking forward to returning to the area with his wife and two children. “Ultimately, this is home for me,” he said.

Walters, who officially starts his new position June 1, said he is looking forward to joining the firm, working from inside a company in the biotech sector he once helped to try to grow.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to be a part of something that’s building something great,” he said, adding that Aldevron is very well respected in the biotechnology and vaccine industries.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522