Joseph Panetta , President & CEO and Member, Biocom California Board of Directors

Joseph Panetta is President and CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of Biocom California, California’s largest and most-experienced leader and advocate for the life science industry. Biocom California works on behalf of over 1,400 members to drive public policy, build an enviable network of industry leaders, create access to capital development, introduce cutting-edge STEM education programs, and create robust value-driven purchasing programs. As President and CEO, he leads an experienced professional staff of almost 50, with offices located in San Diego, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. Together with a 60-member Board of Directors, he leads initiatives that help members produce novel solutions that improve the human condition.

Mr. Panetta oversees several subsidiaries of Biocom California, including a Purchasing Group that provides more than $150 million in products and services savings to members. He is co-founder of the Biocom California Political Action Committee, the Biocom California Institute for education and workforce development, and chairman of the California Biotechnology Foundation, a joint initiative to inform legislators and the media about the state’s life science sector. In 2014, Mr. Panetta was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown to the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, which serves as the governing and oversight board for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and is responsible for providing grant funding under the $3 billion California Stem Cell Initiative. He is past chairman of the Council of State Bioscience Associations (CSBA) and founding chairman of the State Medical Technology Alliance (SMTA).

Mr. Panetta holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from LeMoyne College, and a Master of Public Health degree in industrial and environmental health from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a graduate of the Brookings Institution Program for Executives and the Harvard Program on Negotiation. Mr. Panetta brings a depth of experience to his role, having worked in policy in Washington, D.C. and in regulatory affairs in the life science industry before joining Biocom California in 1999. He holds a Certificate in Executive Leadership from Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C and a Certificate in Negotiation Techniques from Harvard/Tufts Executive Program.

Mr. Panetta serves on the boards of directors of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and CONNECT. He is a past chairman of the board of the San Diego Workforce Partnership. Mr. Panetta is a member of advisory boards of the Pharmacy School at UC San Diego, the Engineering school at San Diego State University, the College of Science and Mathematics at Cal State University San Marcos, and the National University School of Business and Management. He has received the following awards: The LEAD San Diego Visionary Awards: Ronald Kendrick Memorial Award for Regional Collaboration; the American Academy of Pharmaceutical Physicians Special Recognition Award; the CONNECT Distinguished Contribution Award for Life Science Innovation; and the Association of Pan Asian Communities Annual Leadership award, among others.


Jennifer Landress , Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Jennifer Landress, an experienced executive with more than 15 years of experience in budget management, membership, marketing and event development and execution, is the Sr. VP and Chief Operating Officer for Biocom California. Prior to this she held the position of Vice President of Corporate Relations.

Jennifer oversees the budget, management and goals development for the organization. Additionally, she leads the organization’s marketing and events departments to identify opportunities for increased visibility for California life science companies as well as the expansion of the California life science community. She is also responsible for Capital Development, Board management, Strategic Planning and the International initiative.

Prior to her employment at Biocom California, she was Director of Operations for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the world’s largest biotechnology organization with more than 1,400 members worldwide.

Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Bucknell University and is a Certified Meeting Professional. She resides in San Diego with her husband, Bo, and three children.


Jimmy Jackson , Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer

Jimmy Jackson is the Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer for Biocom California. In this role, he oversees government affairs, policy development and policy-related programming for Biocom California. In his time at Biocom California, the scope of the government affairs department has expanded tremendously, now having significant presences at the federal, state and local levels.

Prior to Biocom California, Jackson served as staff to the California Legislature for fourteen years; the last seven years as the Chief of Staff for State Senator Dede Alpert (retired), former Chair of the California State Senate Appropriations Committee, overseeing operation of her offices in both San Diego and Sacramento. Jackson was the staff person responsible for several bills which became law, including SB 148 of 1998 (insurance coverage for medical foods and formulas used in treatment of PKU), SB 1360 of 1997 (rights of families of murder victims), and SB 1855 of 2004 (disclosures for homeowners insurance policies). He has also participated in compromise language negotiations on many pieces of legislation since joining Biocom California.

Jackson has also been active in the community. He has served as a volunteer for the American Red Cross, and is a past winner of the Cabrillo Award, the highest volunteer honor of the San Diego Chapter of the Red Cross. He has also served as Chair of the Board of both the Children’s PKU Network (a national non-profit) and the Crime Victims Fund (a local non-profit).


Rick Fultz , Chief Business Development Officer, Biocom California and Managing Director, Biocom California Purchasing Group

In his role as Chief Business Officer, Rick leads Biocom California’s membership, sponsorship and fundraising efforts, growth and partnering initiatives, overall business development and serves on the senior leadership team for the organization. In addition to his role within Biocom California, he has overall responsibility for leading the Biocom California Purchasing Group team. Rick’s team is responsible for all aspects of contract administration, member education, and business development for the Purchasing Group.

Prior to his time at Biocom California, Rick has led for profit and non-profit sales and development efforts with similar success and has served as an Executive Director for a local non-profit. Rick has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from New England College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Delaware. He spends his off time with his wife chasing around their three hyperactive children. He also spends his time injuring himself in all kinds of athletic activities and living out his unfulfilled professional sports dreams by coaching his kids in various sports.


Julie Ames , Vice President, Corporate Communications

As Vice President of Corporate Communications, Julie is responsible for developing communications strategies and programs to drive awareness surrounding Biocom California’s strategic priorities.

Prior to joining Biocom California, Ms. Ames most recently served as president and founder of the Cambridge Group, where she engaged in solving communications, leadership and public policy problems for a range of organizations, including corporations, governments and non-profit organizations. Prior to that, she served as executive director of global public relations at Life Technologies, which has since been acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific, and earlier, she was director of corporate communications for CancerVax Corporation, where she led, among other programs, all communications elements of the company’s initial public offering. Earlier in her career, Ms. Ames served as vice president at Hill & Knowlton and financial services director at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Ms. Ames is active on the board of the Mira Costa College Foundation and is co-chair of the Athena Life Science Interest Group. Past boards include the San Diego Symphony Advisory Board, the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Alumni Executive Council. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the TWIN award (The Women in Industry Leadership) and Military Spouse of the Year from the Military Spouse Business and Professional Network, and was a finalist in the BioFusion IR/PR award and the San Diego Women Who Mean Business awards.

Ms. Ames earned her masters in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. in economics from the University of Virginia.


Karmin Noar , Executive Director, Biocom California Institute

Karmin oversees strategies, programs and staff and drive initiatives focused on STEM education and workforce development. Her priorities include serving job seekers and employers as well as leveraging community partnerships to prepare the emerging workforce talent and advance the incumbent workers of the life science industry.

Noar has more than a decade of volunteer and work experience in the nonprofit sector, working on issues from public health and education to youth and workforce development. A leader in education and workforce development fields in San Diego, Noar is experienced in building partnerships to provide employers with a highly skilled workforce and expanding access to careers in San Diego’s priority sectors for underrepresented individuals.

Noar holds two bachelor’s degrees in political science and ethnic studies from the University of California, San Diego and a master’s degree in education from Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education & Psychology.


Michelle Nemits , Executive Director, Bay Area

As Executive Director of Biocom California’s South San Francisco office, Michelle is responsible for building the framework for enabling the creation of a strong, well-connected life science community in the Bay Area. She leads Biocom California’s programming and benefits efforts and helps raise awareness of the region’s innovations and accomplishments.

Michelle has spent over 20 years in Bay Area life science sales, marketing and business development. She has held leadership roles at a large lab supply distributor and at a biotech tools startup, which fostered her broad view of the Bay Area market, its challenges and its opportunities.

Personal Interests:

  • Cooking
  • Yoga
  • Family time

Stephanie Hsieh , Executive Director, Los Angeles

As Executive Director of the Los Angeles office, Stephanie is at the leading edge of transforming the greater Los Angeles area into a premier life science hub, devising and executing on impactful strategies and initiatives for ensuring growth and sustainability for our members and the industry generally.

Stephanie has spent almost 30 years in biotech, most recently as CEO of an immune-oncology start-up in the Los Angeles area. She holds B.A. in biochemistry from Wellesley College, a J.D. from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.