President & CEO, Georgia Research Alliance
Appointed GRA’s third president in September 2018, Russell Allen is an established leader in Georgia’s life sciences industry who built a career on starting new enterprises, unifying different sectors and championing economic growth.
For nearly six years, Allen served as president and CEO of Georgia Bio, the voice for Georgia’s life sciences industry. He engineered and led the strategy that grew membership and deepened member engagement to make the organization a more effective advocate for the industry. During his tenure, Georgia Bio expanded its education and workforce development program, strengthened partnerships between companies and universities and launched the Bio/Med Investor Network to help early-stage companies bridge funding gaps.
Allen began his career selling laboratory equipment after graduating Pepperdine University with a degree in biology. He worked briefly in his home state of Mississippi, then moved to Georgia in 1994. This was in the early days of the Internet, and Allen learned all he could about the emerging technology. In 1996, he launched one of the nation’s first digital marketing and web development agencies, Newton Park, ultimately growing it into one of Atlanta’s top 5 Internet agencies.
Following the dot-com boom, Allen launched another technology marketing firm, iQuotient, with a division dedicated to serving bioscience and healthcare companies. Around the same time, he served on a biotech task force for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. The group’s work laid the foundation for a major new initiative to develop and promote Georgia’s bioscience industry – and in 2002, Allen became the Metro Chamber’s first vice president of an industry-focused area, biosciences.
While at the Metro Chamber, Allen co-founded BioSouth, a unique enterprise that connected the southeastern life science industry with international researchers and companies. Its signature BioFusion conference opened doors to new relationships between the region and the rest of the world.
Allen was recruited in 2006 to lead BioFlorida, the state’s bioscience industry association, and for much of his time there Florida was the nation’s fastest-growing bioscience state. He left Florida in 2013 to head GeorgiaBio.
Allen serves on a dozen boards and industry councils and recently chaired the U.S. Council of State Bioscience Associations. In addition to his undergraduate degree, he holds a certificate in biotech enterprise management from Vanderbilt University.