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Week 4 – Reflections

Hope all is going well.  I want to start out this week’s blog by saying a big thank you for continuing to follow our journey.  I have quite a few people (many more than I expected) that will let me know that they are following the company and what we are working on.  It is truly a blessing that can sometimes get overlooked.  I try to take stock and reflect, but it is hard sometimes when you are in the grind and trying to keep things moving forward when it seems like every obstacle in the world is being thrown at you.  You can understand when a sports announcer asks a potential Hall of Fame athlete (e.g. Tom Brady or more recently Caitlin Clark) right after they accomplish something, they say they haven’t thought about it. The grind can really get you down at some points, and this comes from the eternal optimist. 

I try to relay to you that not everything here is roses and rainbows, although I am sure that sometimes it may come off that I am being dramatic or negative.  You are truly getting my thoughts in real time.  As I mentioned when I started this blog, I always want to be upfront with you.  There are so many factors and stresses that go into being a small business owner.  As the company grows, those factors continue to expand.  Tina and I are not getting any younger so it can be overwhelming.  Fortunately, we have a great relationship and that really helps.  As we approach 21 years on April 26th (I remember going to register the company with the town), it is important for me to take time to think that we have been our own bosses for 21 years.  Not many people get to that in their lifetime.  Even if the company fails tomorrow, we can never lose sight of that fact.  This “experiment” should be considered a success.  As Cam pointed out in his #FactualFriday two weeks ago, almost 80% of companies typically fail within 20 years.  Truly amazing that 2 scientists with no business training were able to get to this point.  I always think about how much we’ve learned since that little march to Town Hall 21 years ago.  As Tina and I like to say (based on a quote from the movie Valentine’s Day), full of hope, full of promise, ignorant of reality.

Reflecting on the business reminded me of a situation that happened a few weeks ago.  Our good friend Mauricio visited the company.  To give you some background, I first met Mauricio over 35 years ago when we were both working at, then, Deaconess Hospital in the Vascular Surgery Research Lab.  I was just starting my career and Mauricio, who is a plastic surgeon by training, was in the early stages of his academic surgical career.  When I first met him, I knew that this was a person that would somehow be in my (and Tina’s) life for a long time.  Anyone who is lucky enough to meet him is immediately taken by his kindness, generosity and intellect (not in any order here).  We hit it off immediately.  We “unofficially” formed a team, with him taking the lead on the surgical side and me on the basic research side.  We would collaborate to write grants and manuscripts for the head of the department as well as for other companies.  We both believe in communication, doing things the right way and doing them on-time so it made working together a breeze.  We did this for over 13 years until we started BioSurfaces in 2003. 

Even though I left, we have continued to find ways to work together as I have always respected his talents.  Flash forward to a few weeks ago, Mauricio (who is treated like a celebrity by the BioSurfaces team) came to visit to discuss a current program we are working on together.  This program, which is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, focuses on using our Bio-Spun™ Cell Chamber to deliver pancreatic islet cells into the body.  These are the cells in your body that produce insulin, which is the signal to all cells to take in the nutrients from a meal or snack you just ate.  If these cells do not work well, you would be considered diabetic and would require insulin injections.  This chamber is being developed to serve as a “biofactory” that would regulate your blood sugar. 

Mauricio came into my office and our team started a zoom meeting to discuss the current data and path forward for the next studies.  As I mentioned, this is a time for reflection and at that moment, I was thinking about these two younger men meeting for the first time at Deaconess Hospital not knowing that 35 years later, we would be still closely working together.  And better yet, the best of friends.  Although we are slightly grayer and not as spry as we used to be (speaking for myself here), I could not help but smile as the meeting progressed knowing that my good friend of so many years and I still have that passion for science and helping people.  We are forever grateful for this friendship!

I hope this blog today reminds you to take a moment or two to reflect about things in your life, to recognize the challenges, appreciate the opportunities and successes and acknowledge some of the great people in your life that help you achieve your goals.  We are still running the race and I don’t know where or how it will end.  I only know that I am glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of this race.                    



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