An Interview with Chris Bolzan, GMGI Chief Operating Officer

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I have a background rooted in finance and management applied over the past 25+ years in business, education and entrepreneurial environments. Most recently, I was the Director of Career Education at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. I have Board experiences primarily in education including service as the Chair of the Tri-Town School Union and on Wesleyan University’s President’s Council. I’ve worked in the U.S. and abroad, but for the past 18 years my husband, Tony, and I have called the North Shore home.

When did you first hear about GMGI?

Five years ago, Jim Ellard of New England BioLabs shared with me news of the development of the Academy and the Institute, and introduced me to the team. I have a long-held passion for helping young people launch careers in STEM fields. Last Fall I volunteered to coordinate and train the students and NEB scientist mentors who support them, which gave me a chance to work more closely with the organization. I was thrilled when the COO opportunity opened up – and for the chance to come on full-time and apply my business skills and background to GMGI’s mission.

What enticed you to be part of the GMGI team?

I have been following the GMGI story closely and am incredibly impressed and energized by its early achievements on all three fronts: the establishment of the stunning research facility in Gloucester Harbor; the success of the Academy in attracting, training and graduating three classes of local students; and the work to date to catalyze Cape Ann’s blue economy. The deep talent and commitment of the Board of Directors as well as the staff is incredible, and I am honored to be a part of the team.

How do you think your past experiences will help in your new position as COO of GMGI? Are there certain parts of the GMGI mission that you’re most excited to execute?

The COO role touches all three aspects of GMGI’s strategy and the diversity of experiences I have had across industries in leadership functions will enable me to add value as thought partner and manager. Guiding the Academy team to build a talent pipeline that fills a workforce need and encourages biotech development on the North Shore weaves together deep interests and networks of mine that connect individuals with opportunities. I am thrilled at the prospect of working with the research scientists to innovate and move science discoveries forward toward applications for human health and fisheries management.

How do you see GMGI shaping the Gloucester economic landscape?

GMGI’s thoughtful mission offers a groundbreaking model to innovate in Gloucester while honoring the city’s maritime tradition. This strategic approach has achieved amazing, early success, with local students landing professional opportunities in North Shore biotech firms -- and new companies taking notice. The incredible support of citizens, state and community leaders played a big part building this momentum, and it is an exciting time to join the journey.

Our mission is to conduct world-class marine biotechnology research which expands the regional economy.

Gloucester Marine
Genomics Institute

417 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Gloucester Biotechnology

55 Blackburn Center
Gloucester, MA 01930

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