Mr. R. Don Elsey
Class of 1971
Career Pathway: Business, Management, Marketing & Technology
After his graduation from MSU in 1978, Don Elsey accepted a position with IBM. From 1978 to 1987, he held a series of increasingly responsible financial analysis positions at IBM manufacturing locations, division headquarters and group headquarters. His early positions were in the areas of personnel management, strategic and tactical planning and cost accounting.
Beginning in 1987, he was promoted to new positions at IBM. In June of that year, he became a financial service manager at a key manufacturing and development facility in Rochester, New York.
In April 1989, he was named a corporate measurement coordinator in Armonk, New York. He was promoted again in November to the division of special bids, where he worked out of IBM’s national service division office in Franklin Lakes, New York. In June 1991 he became IBM’s division manager of business analysis, and a year later, he was named corporate manager of business evaluation.
Mr. Elsey left IBM in 1998 to join Applera, a genomics and sequencing company, and then he joined IGEN in 2000. For five years, he was the director of finance and administration for IGEN International Incorporated, a biotechnology company, and its successor, BioVeris Corporation. During that time, he was instrumentally involved with IGEN’s sale to Roche Diagnostics.
In 2005, Mr. Elsey joined his current employer, Emergent BioSolutions – EBS on the New York Stock Exchange – as vice president of finance and treasurer. EBS is a biopharmaceutical company based in Rockville, Maryland, that develops, manufactures and commercializes immune-related biologics, vaccines and biotherapeutics. Currently, its BioThrax vaccine is the only FDA-licensed vaccine available for pre-exposure protection against anthrax infections. Emergent’s development pipeline includes programs focused on anthrax, botulism, tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis B and chlamydia.
Mr. Elsey was instrumental in Emergent’s initial public offering (IPO) process. Shortly after joining Emergent BioSolutions, he spent an entire year making certain that all of the company’s accounting systems were current and met the requirements necessary to take the company public. He was also responsible for meeting all the NYSE requirements, formulating executive boards and committees and compliance programs. Under his direction, EBS became the number one performing equity in the United States on any exchange in 2008.
Since 2010, he has been a member of both the MdBio Foundation, a charitable and educational organization with a focus on supporting the bioscience community in Maryland, and an independent director of the compensation and audit committee of Regene Rx Biopharmaceuticals Incorporated – RGN on the NYSE Amex.
In 2009, Washington Smart CEO magazine named Mr. Elsey as one of the top CFOs in the greater Washington area. He was chosen for his dedication and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the financial integrity of his company, Emergent BioSolutions.
Mr. Elsey’s sister, Lynn Elsey Thompson, a counselor at the high school, is also a GHS graduate, as are his niece Angie (Thompson) Cucco and nephews Max Thompson and Forrest Thompson.