New Ventana CEO commits to region - Tucson Local Media: Editorials

New Ventana CEO commits to region

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Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 3:00 am

Today, Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath and the Oro Valley Town Council, in conjunction with my legislative office, co-hosted a meet and greet reception for Mara Aspinall, the new CEO of Oro Valley's largest bioscience employer, Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.

Mara is a 20-year veteran of Roche Laboratories, which is the parent company of Ventana located in Innovation Park. Roche Laboratories currently employs 1,200 people and has another 500 jobs on the way to the region.

Before relocating to Southern Arizona, Mara lived and worked in Boston for 30 years. She sat on the board of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and worked closely with the mayor and state legislature regarding science and technology issues. Mara considered herself an ambassador for the bioscience industry on the East Coast and is planning to continue that trend here in Oro Valley.

My legislative office, along with the Town of Oro Valley, is working with Ventana and Sanofi (the other large bioscience employer at Innovation Park) to develop a science-based internship for students and high school teachers for our public, charter and private school assets.

Northwest Pima County is becoming a national player in the private sector bioscience industry. Ten years ago, Venture West had the vision and foresight to create Innovation Park to tap into the spin-off companies that were developing out of University of Arizona's science and technology research.

Then, Oro Valley developed its shovel-ready programs to get new companies up and running fast in response to the poor development schedules from other regional governments. My office worked closely to ensure that assets like Basis Charter Schools developed a campus to support this high-tech industry.

Now with Governor Brewer's signing of the economic development bill (HB2001) passed earlier this year by the Arizona State Legislature and championed by the pro-business legislators such as myself at the capitol, we in Northwest Pima County are positioned to reap this economic harvest. All of us must heed the advice of the new CEO at Ventana Medical Systems, Mara Aspinall, and become local ambassadors of our community. Doing that together as "One-Voice-Arizona" will propel our prosperity into a bright future.

Rep. Vic Williams (LD 26) serves the communities of Marana, Oro Valley, Saddlebrooke, Flowing Wells, the Catalina Foothills, Casa Adobes, unincorporated Northwest Pima County and Tucson. You can contact him at or 602-926-5839.



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