The Heartland region shares a common life sciences economy, including human, animal and plant health. The Heartland Civic Collaborative leverages this unique mutual asset, allowing further regional collaboration and competitive opportunities.

As a first step, a task force of life sciences leadership from all four participating metros identified the need to create a regional database of life sciences assets. Rubin Brown, a leading professional consulting firm, conducted a life sciences asset survey and worked to inventory and map the assets of the region.

Heartland Civic Collaborative Life Sciences Asset Mapping Project

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Eleven life sciences and business organizations in the Heartland region collectively funded this work. Together, these organizations will analyze how our region can enhance collaboration in research and development, as well as how to collectively market the region as a life sciences hub.

Top priority areas include:

  • Research and development, and peer review process
  • Biomedical research and data analytics
  • Commercialization of biotechnology
  • Renewable and alternative forms of energy

Life Sciences Work Group Members

Dedicated work group members help drive the mission and goals of the Heartland Civic Collaborative. Their efforts lead to the continued success and global competitiveness of the Heartland region.

  • Michael Dixon – Co-Convener (Omaha)
  • Evan Kharash – Co-Convener (St. Louis)
  • Jay Byers (Des Moines)
  • Rob Duncan (University of Missouri)
  • Keith Gary (Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute)
  • Kelly Gillespie – Missouri Bio
  • Joe Hrdlicka – Iowa Bio
  • Phil Kozera – Nebraska Bio
  • Dennis Ridenour – Kansas Bio
  • Don Rubin (St. Louis)
  • John Spertus (Kansas City)

Core Initiatives

The Heartland Civic Collaborative serves as the regional voice of the Des Moines, Kansas City, Omaha and St. Louis metros. As one mega-region, we build momentum through targeted civic initiatives and drive strategic, coordinated actions toward common goals. We focus on four main areas that provide mutually beneficial opportunities to the Heartland. These areas leverage our proven successes and deep roots. They include: Transportation, Federal Advocacy, Life Sciences and Entrepreneurship & Human Capital.

Learn More


The transportation industry thrives in the Heartland. The Heartland Civic Collaborative works to harness this competitive edge by developing a multi-modal, integrated transportation vision for the region.

Federal Advocacy

Federal Advocacy

Our shared federal advocacy agenda highlights the collective voice of the Heartland region. Together we drive greater action than any one state or metro could accomplish alone.

Life Sciences

Life Sciences

Through the Heartland Civic Collaborative, participating metros leverage existing regional strengths in human, animal and plant health.

Entrepreneurship & Human Capital

Entrepreneurship & Human Capital

The Heartland Civic Collaborative enhances the movement of ideas in entrepreneurship and human capital. Through the development of sustainable strategies, these areas continue to play an increasingly important role in the success of the Heartland.