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Week 19 – Blast from the Past

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! This weekend allowed me to get caught up on a few work-related things. I know it goes against the Labor Day principle, but such is the life of a small business owner. We began our shortened work week adjusting to changes to our crew. While one person may not be a lot for a big company (a blip on the screen), for a small company, it is a large change. I think one of the strengths of being a small company is being able to adjust to all different situations, from losing a team member and changing financial situations to being productive with limited resources (people and funds) and making it work (homage to our previous blog). Communication is so critical at this time to let people know what is going to happen, listen to their concerns/ideas and take action. Being careful but decisive is important because the company’s progress can become stagnant on bad decisions. I always get a chuckle when I hear from people that it must be easy to run a small business because big companies have more pressure to succeed, bigger worries, tight deadlines, pressure, etc. I would say these folks have never tried to do all that with a lot less in terms of funding and people. I am always in awe at how well our group can rise to different challenges, pushing forward when things are against you. I believe that this is the reason why when people decide to leave here, they are prepared for anything that gets thrown at them.

Case in point. We had a nice visit from Dave Nelson yesterday, a former member of the BioSurfaces family. But not just from Dave but his wife Lianna and their new born son Isaac. To give you some quick background, Dave came to us in 2011 on a recommendation from former team member Syed Ali, who was heading off to medical school through the Air Force (now Dr. Syed Ali and new husband). When I first met Dave, he was your typical engineer stereotype: extremely smart and technically gifted with a quiet but straightforward personality. I was not sure how things would work with Dave since he was pretty different than me on several fronts. The more I got to know Dave, the more I learned what a great person he was and is. I first knew that Dave was going to do well when he was building his first prototype unit with LEGOs (LEGOs are built with great precision so pieces from 30 years ago still fit the current ones). I went by the room he was working in and heard him saying to himself that he could not believe he was getting paid to do this.

Dave left his mark on the company over the 5 years he was here. He would tell you that he failed a lot. I would tell you that his successes helped to drive so many things in BioSurfaces like our NuSpun Vascular Graft. We are using some of the same devices and processes that Dave developed. We were able to fill him in on what progress has been made. It was so awesome for me to watch our current engineer’s faces as he talked about some of the things he worked on while he was here. Dave was now the rock star coming back home! To watch him be able to impart what he learned was truly a fun experience. It was great to see his face as I told him about how the preclinical study is progressing and that two of the grafts were open at 90 days. Once you have been directly involved with developing something, it will always be a part of you.

Beyond what Dave did for us as a business, we have been able to see Dave personally grow too, from seeing him design Lianna’s ring (and tick off every jeweler because of his engineering mind) to his wedding to his first home and now baby. This is the joy of doing what we do. As I said in my last blog, people who are here become your extended family. While Dave works for another company now, he will always hold a special place in our heart. It was a nice reminder this week that it is not goodbye but farewell for now. You never know what the future may hold. The people that you have had the pleasure working with are always part of you and hopefully you are part of them. Going into the trenches together can do that.

As a heads up, the blog will be on hiatus for the next 2 weeks to give you (and me) some time to recharge the batteries. Our next blog will be on September 27th so I am looking forward to updating you then about what has been going on at the company. I am sure there will be a lot to discuss.

Have a great weekend!


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