Our Team

The WBBA Team proudly serves more than 600 member organizations who are critical partners in realizing our mission. Our dedicated and collaborative team is focused on providing innovative and timely educational events, targeted networking programs, “one voice” policy support, commercialization consulting to emerging life sciences companies, scientists and entrepreneurs, and a consortium of buying power through our business solutions program.

Chris Rivera - President & CEO
chris@washbio.org | 206.456.9562

WBBA President since January, 2009, Chris Rivera has developed the organization’s strategic direction to support the growth of life sciences in Washington state, one of Washington state’s largest and fastest growing economic industries.  Since Mr. Rivera took over leadership at the WBBA, the organization has mentored nearly 200 new life science start-up companies, facilitated hundreds of one-on-one meetings between WBBA members and potential investors and partners, and also co-founded WINGS – Washington’s Medical Technology angel network.  Combined, these efforts have directly led to the import of significant investment and collaboration from outside of Washington.  

Since 2009, Mr. Rivera has also been appointed to several leadership positions, including; the Governor’s Higher Education Task Force, the Washington Global Health Funding Commission, and was Chairman for the national Council of State Bioscience Associations.  He was appointed to Governor elect, Jay Inslee’s Transition Committee, and was appointed by the Mayor and City Council to Seattle’s first Economic Development Commission.

Prior to the WBBA, Mr. Rivera spent more than 25 years in numerous leadership roles in the biotechnology industry, including Founder and CEO of Hyperion Therapeutics, as well as SVP at Tercica and Genzyme, amongst other leadership positions in the life science industry.  He holds a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; a bachelor degree from Northwestern Oklahoma State University; and studied marketing and management at the Albers Graduate School of Business and Economics at Seattle University.

Blythe Price - Business Development Manager
blythe@washbio.org | 206.456.9569

 Blythe joined the WBBA team in February 2013 as Business Development Manager.  She has a background in communications, marketing, sales and public relations. She earned her Communications and Journalism degree at Eastern Washington University. 

Ms. Price came to WBBA from the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce where she served as Communications Manager. She specialized in media communications, social media management, website development and maintenance, campaign marketing, event coordination, sponsorship recruitment and project management. During her time with the Gig Harbor Chamber, she aided in founding the Gig Harbor Chamber Young Professionals as well as a mentoring program for High School Students within the Peninsula School District.

Christiana DelloRusso  - Vice President, Commercialization
christiana@washbio.org | 206.456.9560

Christiana DelloRusso joined WBBA in January 2011, and assists early stage companies and scientist-entrepreneurs with strategy and fundraising to successfully commercialize their research and discoveries. She is also the Managing Director of WINGS, the Washington Medical Technology Angel Network.

Dr. DelloRusso spent 15 years at the research bench, studying human respiratory and neuro-physiology, gene therapy of muscular dystrophy, tumor cell biology and cancer angiogenesis. Prior to joining WBBA, she was an independent grants consultant in Cambridge, MA, working with local biotechnology companies on federal funding programs, and was Project Manager at the Boston-based, non-profit organization Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (WEST). Additionally, she started, grew and sold her own small business between 2007 and 2009.

Dr. DelloRusso received her PhD in physiology from the University of Michigan, and completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington and Harvard Medical School/Children's Hospital Boston.

Darcy Ellsperman- Associate Director, Events
darcy@washbio.org | 206.456.9570

Darcy Ellsperman joined WBBA in December of 2009 as the Event Manager and is responsible for the execution of all WBBA events -  including educational programming, WBBA Signature events, (e.g. Life Science Innovation Northwest), and all social and membership-centric events.  Ms. Ellsperman has a strong background in hospitality and event planning and has been working in the field for more than 13 years. 

Ms. Ellsperman spent five years at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center in Redmond working in an event planning capacity, and before joining WBBA, managed all private events at a fine dining restaurant with locations in Seattle and Bellevue.

Ms. Ellsperman holds a BA in Communications from the University of Washington.

Melissa Keough - Executive Assistant to Chris Rivera
execasst@washbio.org | 206.456.9568

Melissa Keough joined WBBA in May of 2013 as the Executive Assistant to Chris Rivera and is responsible for managing the president's calendar and the office at large, ensuring that everything is running smoothly for the benefit of WBBA members and staff.  Ms. Keough has a strong background in communications and a consistent record of enthusisam for her work.

Before joining WBBA, Ms. Keough worked as the grants administrator and office manager at Insilicos and as an executive assistant for Cisco Systems' Seattle location.

Dennis J. Kroft - Vice President, Marketing and Membership
dennis@washbio.org | 206.456.9565

Dennis Kroft joined WBBA in January 2012 as Director of Marketing and Membership.  Mr. Kroft is responsible for the strategic marketing efforts for the WBBA, as well as the direction and management of membership development, recruitment and retention. Additionally, he will lead WBBA’s messaging and communication strategy, membership benefits/affinity programs, member publications, web site and promotion, including event sponsorships.

Before joining WBBA, Mr. Kroft was Marketing Principal for the Princeton, NJ-based science & technology group of HDR, a global architectural and engineering firm where he dealt with firms such as Pfizer, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Quest Diagnostics and Daiichi Sankyo. Prior to HDR, Mr. Kroft held senior leadership roles in corporate sales and marketing for global and regional professional services firms.

Mr. Kroft brings a long history of trade and service organization involvement in the areas of event planning and membership recruitment with groups that include the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers (ISPE) and the U.S. Green Building Council – New Jersey (USGBC-NJ).

Mr. Kroft holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey.

Brady Ryan - Commercialization Associate
brady@washbio.org | 206.456.9571

Brady first joined WBBA in June 2012 as a Commercialization Intern for the WBBA and Project Intern for WINGS, the Washington Medical Technology Angel Network.  In August, after a successful internship, he became WBBA's full-time Commercialization Associate. Brady works with the Commercialization Team to support life science innovators realize successful product launches and funding endeavors. 

Brady graduated from Willamette University in Salem, OR in May, 2012, with a degree in biology. He is very excited to contribute to the success of the life sciences in the Pacific Northwest. 

Patti Tenney - Senior Director, Public Affairs
patti@washbio.org | 206.456.9566

Patti Tenney joined WBBA in 2003 as Director, Public Affairs. She has worked in various capacities in external and internal communications, public relations, community relations and advocacy at Providence Everett Medical Center, The Casey Family Program, United Way of King County, and Children’s Home Society of Washington. She charted new ground in each of those organizations as the first person to hold those jobs.

Ms. Tenney graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in the comparative history of ideas from the University of Washington and earned her master's degree in policy studies from the University of Washington, Bothell.

Christopher (Chris) Porter - Life Sciences Commercialization Consultant
chrisporter@washbio.org | 206.456.9560

Chris Porter joined WBBA in March 2011 as Commercialization Consultant, and has had a successful 34-year career in the medical-device and biotechnology industry. He has been influential in introducing over 30 medical products and is the holder of 41 US patents. He has served in a variety of positions (CEO, General Manager, top technical and top manufacturing positions) in both major corporations (3M, Johnson and Johnson, and Pfizer) and early stage medical companies. These experiences have given him an excellent overview on how to start, value, finance, organize and lead a successful medical products business. He has been an important part of creating in excess of $2.0-billion dollars in shareholder value. Dr. Porter is and has been a CEO and/or board member of numerous public and private companies. He has founded, invented products for, and/or contributed heavily to the success of numerous medical-device companies and started three divisions within major corporations. He is an experienced and successful fundraiser including: venture financing, corporate partnerships, out-licensing, acquisitions (both buyer and seller) and IPOs. He has conducted “due diligence” for several venture firms and has made a number of investments in early stage companies.

At present, Dr. Porter runs Medical Genesis, a consulting firm and medical device incubator. He is also devoting most of his efforts towards assisting early-stage companies by mentoring and participating in entrepreneurial education and technology transfer at Seattle U and UW. He serves on multiple boards and screening committees and is also very active in several non-profits. Dr. Porter received his Ph.D. in Chemical and Material Engineering from the University of Utah.

Kathleen Poston - Vice President, Administration
kathleen@washbio.org | 206.456.9564

Kathleen Poston joined WBBA in 2004 as Director, Administration. She has more than 15 years of non-profit experience and expertise in database administration, event planning and organizational management.

Ms. Poston previously worked at Melby, Cameron & Hull, an association management company where she was Assistant Director for the Washington Society of Association Executives, Northwest Florists Association and Office Manager.

 

Megan Jeffrey - Communications Manager
megan@washbio.org | 206.456.9572

Megan Jeffrey joined WBBA in February 2013 as Communications Manager. Throughout her educational and professional career she has completed projects for a wide array of organizations including the University Of Washington School Of Drama, The Land Conservancy, and the Growing Together Initiative. She brings to the WBBA a strong background in digital communications platforms and production management.

Before joining WBBA, Ms. Jeffrey served as a Marketing Coordinator and Social Media adviser for Interior Architects. She maintained and supported the organization's active presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media channels. She also generated deadline-oriented content for HubPages.com and Flip the Media. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a Master in Communications from the University of Washington.


 The WBBA on Twitter

The following staff are using WBBA's Twitter account (@washbio). When one of these staff members posts a tweet, they will sign it with their initials. Any unsigned tweets are sent by WBBA's Communications Manager, Megan Jeffrey. 

-BR Brady Ryan - Commercialization Associate
-CDR Christiana DelloRusso - Vice President, Commercialization
-CER Chris Rivera - President
-BP Blythe Price - Business Development Manager
-DE Darcy Ellsperman - Associate Director, Events
-DK Dennis Kroft - Vice President, Marketing and Membership
-PD or -PMD
Patti Tenney - Senior Director, Public Affairs

 

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