Week 26 – Getting Up to Speed
This week brought a lot of changes, from new people joining the group to making all kind of modifications around the place to adjust to the new norm. We first welcomed Dr. Jayashree Chakravarty to the research team. Jayashree brings a strong background in biomaterial development and characterization using background in bioengineering and biotechnology. This will fit well with what we are trying to accomplish in the various areas we are currently investigating. She comes into a great team that has made significant strides on both the research and manufacturing fronts.
The hardest thing about coming into the company is understanding all of the programs we have ongoing, in the pipeline, or ones that are just beginning to be discussed. People look from the outside thinking what could this company possibly be capable of achieving. It’s a relatively small group of people so they must only have a couple of areas they are pursuing. Right? Not so much. My biggest concern when someone new starts (and this means anyone who comes into the company) is to not overwhelm them with everything we have going on. I have literally seen panic on people’s faces when I review all of the areas we are working on. As I have relayed to everyone that has joined our group, the goal is to get yourself acclimated by observing, listening and asking questions. Once this process occurs, the overwhelming feeling disappears and the possibilities begin to become clear to them. It is a consistent pattern, but it’s one that needs to happen.
Getting the company’s space ready to accommodate for the new folks can also be daunting. As we discussed in the last blog, we have begun building out our clean space. We made such great ground, but more needs to be done to finalize the space. We are also up to 11 people on the team. The group has grown a lot since our inception in 2003, when I only had to worry about myself. The growth has driven the need for space optimization, both at the office front and in the laboratory. We don’t have a facilities manager that handles all of the facility changes. As an entrepreneur, you learn to wear many hats. When we moved to our current location, we had so much empty space with the thought that we would need it someday. Someday has arrived! The office space need is easier to adjust. We need to make sure that we redesign the current office spaces so everyone has sufficient area to work, followed by procuring the required furniture. While this does not seem like a big deal, it is a time-consuming endeavor. That being said, it is important to get this right so every member of the team has a place to flourish. WB Mason (non-solicited plug) really becomes a partner in the process and is always glad to see us coming into their showroom. We will have all of the offices completed next week so we’ll be able to check this off of the list.
The second part of the preparation process focused on the lab. Getting this right is even more critical than the office space because work flow can be affected by a disorganized space. This re-organization gets a little more complicated when you start to add equipment and run out of bench space. You may not know this but scientists are the worst pack rats. We always think that if we get rid of something, we’ll need it 3 years from now. Science is not like any other job in that you may be working in one research program and use a specific technique/procedure. Once you are finished, you may not use that technique again for some time. This is one of the reasons for scientist preparing detailed notebooks. We may have to go back and repeat this test. You can see why this would result in being a pack rat. Adding new people and equipment forces us to go against everything we hold close to our heart. A necessary evil. This week allowed us to really assess what we have, get rid of some things, store others and restore/organize bench space. With our group also bringing back the company’s ability to evaluate the body’s cells with our materials, this organization process is important. After a lot of shuffling and planning, I am glad to say that the lab is ready to roll! It’s like a new space all over again.
During all of this shuffling, we have still continued to make progress on the research, manufacturing and marketing fronts. This is a credit to the team who works so well together. We have also been preparing for our trip to Washington DC tomorrow to present to a potential strategic partner, meeting with different organizations from Massachusetts to find different options to fund our manufacturing program and beginning discussions with companies that have been reaching out. All of this makes for a busy week. No other way I would want it. It keeps me off of the streets. Here’s to more progress!
Hope you have a great weekend!