Dale Wahlstrom, a veteran booster of the Minnesota medical industry, is retiring as president and CEO of St. Louis Park-based LifeScience Alley and its subsidiary, the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota.
The nonprofit organization’s Shaye Mandle, currently executive vice president and chief operating officer, will succeed Wahlstrom on May 1.
Wahlstrom, 62, told Twin Cities Business that he’s primarily stepping down for personal reasons and wants more flexibility to spend time with his grandchildren: “My family is pretty much living in New York City now,” Wahlstrom said. “I just need to be able to spend more time there.”
Wahlstrom founded the BioBusiness Alliance in 2004 and led the organization’s strategic alliance with LifeScience Alley in 2010. Since the combination of the two groups, Wahlstrom has served as joint president and CEO. The BioBusiness Alliance became a subsidiary of LifeScience Alley in 2012, but is governed by a separate board.
“There’s a great team here that can pick it up and run with it,” Wahlstrom said. “It’s in a good spot right now.”
Wahlstrom said that he has no specific plans, but will continue to remain involved in the industry, including wrapping up work on some projects for the LifeScience Alley board. He said that in the future he might do a combination of volunteer and consulting work.
“I don’t intend to retire, I intend to slow down and continue to work projects and do whatever I can,” Wahlstrom said. “I have no formal plans.”
The organization was founded as Medical Alley in 1984. In 2005, Medical Alley merged with MNBIO, the state chapter of the national Biotechnology Industry Organization. The LifeScience Alley name was unveiled in 2006.
Wahlstrom joked that Wednesday’s announcement marked the second time he’s retired. He retired from Fridley-based Medtronic, Inc., in 2006 after a 24-year career at the med-tech giant.
Mandle joined LifeScience Alley in 2011 as vice president of government and affiliate relations and was named to his current post in 2013. He previously served as the executive director of the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis.
The LifeScience Alley trade association has more than 680 members that employ more than 300,000 Minnesotans.
In 2011, Twin Cities Business named Wahlstrom one of “200 Minnesotans You Should Know”. He was also quoted in a recent TCB feature story about the current state of Minnesota's med-tech industry.