Corridor founding board member named to chair statewide education initiative

Chris NelsonFounding Cultivation Corridor board member and Kemin Industries President and CEO, Dr. Chris Nelson, has accepted appointment as Governor’s STEM Advisory Council co-chair alongside Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. The following appeared in a press release from the Office of the Governor.

Governor’s STEM Advisory Council announces new co-chair

Kemin Industries President and CEO Dr. Chris Nelson will serve as co-chair of the Iowa Governor’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Advisory Council starting this month. Appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad, Nelson succeeds Vermeer CEO and Chair of the Board Mary Andringa, who completed her two-year term as STEM Council co-chair in May.

In 2013, STEMconnector named Nelson as one of the top 100 CEO leaders in STEM at the U.S. News & World Report’s STEM Solutions Summit. STEM education is important to Nelson as Kemin is a bioscience leader in the Cultivation Corridor, manufacturing and distributing approximately 500 specialty ingredients for the global feed and food industries as well as the health, nutrition, and beauty markets.

“I established the STEM Council in 2011 with the goal of inspiring our next generation of innovators who can take full advantage of the great careers waiting for them across Iowa,” said Governor Branstad. “Kemin is one of our state’s outstanding career destinations, and Dr. Nelson is one of our most inspiring STEM leaders. I am grateful that he is willing to co-lead the STEM Council alongside Lt. Governor Reynolds.”

“Kemin and Dr. Nelson have been outstanding partners to the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council since the beginning,” said Lt. Governor Reynolds. “So, it is a natural expansion of that partnership to invite Dr. Nelson to co-chair the STEM Council. His global perspective, STEM expertise and leadership skills will help us take Iowa STEM to new heights.”

In 1980, Nelson began his career with Kemin as Director of Research and Development. Since 1993, he has served as President and CEO of the global nutritional ingredient company that specializes in improving human and animal health through molecular innovations. Under his leadership, the company has more than quadrupled in size and now employs nearly 2,000 people, operating internationally in more than 90 countries with manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Singapore, South Africa and the United States. Nelson received his undergraduate training at Northwestern University and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Washington State University. He is the holder of 15 patents and has authored numerous peer-reviewed, published research studies.

“There is an increasingly global need for preparing students to become skilled in STEM subjects. The challenges presented by the scale and pace of change throughout the world calls for new innovative solutions from the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” says Nelson. “I’m proud to personally further support the advancement of STEM in Iowa schools.”

Outside of his role at Kemin, Nelson serves on the board of a leading international corporation, the National Institutes of Health Technical Advisory Committee, National Forum for Agricultural Executives Council, the Des Moines Symphony and the Des Moines Community Foundation among others. He continues to have a passion for science education and serves on the Board of the Science Center of Iowa where he helped lead a successful development effort for the construction of the $62 million Science Center.

About the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council

Established in July 2011 via Governor’s Executive Order, the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is a public-private partnership of educators, companies and Iowa students and families addressing policies and programs designed to improve Iowa’s educational system focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The STEM Council works to engage and prepare students for a career-ready workforce path, regain our State’s historic leadership position in education and provide a vital competitive economic advantage now, and for the future, to ensure that every Iowa student has access to world-class STEM education opportunities. The 47-member STEM Council is chaired by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Kemin Industries President and CEO Dr. Chris Nelson. For more information, visit

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