[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Steven has over 20 years of nanotechnology experience beginning with his graduate work at Rice University where he discovered a method of fabricating gold nanoshells. This discovery led to the formation of Nanospectra Biosciences where the gold nanoshells are in clinical trials as a cancer therapy. In 2004 he founded nanoComposix to accelerate the commercialization of products based on precisely engineered and highly characterized nanoparticles. Steven has 10 issued patents and over 40 papers in the area of nanotechnology.

What is nanotechnology? 

Nanotechnology is the study and the application of really small things. What's exciting about nanotechnology is that it's not just about making things smaller, it’s that at the nanoscale materials are different, allowing for the production of products with amazing new properties.

How did nanotechnology become your passion?

When I graduated from university in Canada, Rice University had one of the first nanotechnology degree programs, so it was an opportunity to explore something that was new and different. I spent five years in an exciting and innovative lab that used lasers and surface science tools to explore the fundamental properties of nanomaterials and their applications. The materials we were studying had novel and unusual properties and I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to create useful products. After graduating from Rice, I went to a small company here in San Diego, learned how to leverage government grants and different small business programs to fund commercialization projects and then started nanoComposix 15 years ago.

What is nanoComposix’ primary mission?

The primary mission of nanoComposix is to help people leverage the unique and important properties of nanomaterials into commercial products. We've had many successes and failures so that we can help our customers determine if they have a good idea. If so, we can help guide them through the process of completing the research and development, make the materials in a consistent and reliable way, and importantly, scale up production to make the particles at a cost point that's going to be commercially viable. Once these tasks are complete, the materials can be integrated into a final product that will have a high probability of commercial success.

Who are your main customers?

Our customers are from both the R&D community (universities, government labs, corporate research) and companies that want to bring a nano-enabled material to market. By using our particles as building blocks they don’t have to make all of the different component nanoparticles themselves; we can provide precisely engineered particles in terms of size, shape and surface and, most importantly, we extensively characterize them. Once they have that combination of particles and information, they can create something new with their ideas.

What kind of innovation are your products bringing to the market? 

A lot of our products take advantage of the unusual properties of gold and silver at the nanoscale.  Very small particles of gold and silver act as nanoscale antennas – they strongly interact with light.  The color of these particles is a function of their size and shape.  Small gold spheres will be ruby red in color like a glass of wine.  Small silver spheres will be bright yellow.

One example where these particles are used is in lateral flow assays. The most common example of this is a drug store based pregnancy test.  In this test, you will typically see one or two red lines.  If you see two lines you’re pregnant.  If you just see one line then you’re not.  The red color comes from 40 nm diameter gold nanoparticles with an antibody attached to the particle surface.  It’s probably the most common nanotechnology application that nobody knew was nano. We’re developing a wide range of lateral flow tests for applications that range from early cancer detection to diagnosis of neglected tropical diseases.  For example, we're making a test for military use to see if a soldier has been exposed to a dangerous chemical in the field.  This test looks at heart, liver and kidney biomarkers to see if the solider needs medical attention. Other nanoparticle applications that we’re currently helping with include topical therapeutics for the treatment of acne, photothermal treatments of cancer, and cures for common allergies.

Where do we use nanotechnology in our everyday lives, and are not even aware of it? 

Many televisions incorporate nanoparticles into their screens to produce more vibrant colors.  The increased color depth of reds, blues and greens is made possible by quantum dot nanoparticles. Computer chips and electronics include various nanotechnologies that range from the processors themselves to the adhesives and other components used to build electronics.  In the medical space, nanomedicine allows for the precision delivery of drugs to certain organs and the controlled release of drugs over time to reduce the frequency of doctor’s visits.

How could nanotechnology serve us even better? What are some future uses? 

Personal, immediate, inexpensive home based diagnostic tests are rapidly being developed.  For example, if you have chest pain it could be a muscle cramp or a precursor to something more serious, perhaps a heart attack. Typically, you would have to find a clinic, get a blood test and wait a couple of days to hear an answer,  but if you have a test in your bathroom that costs just a couple dollars, you can take a saliva sample, apply it to the test, and, in a few minutes, get a result that can be analyzed and interpreted by your cell phone.  Bringing inexpensive, quantitative, quick and easy to perform tests into the home is going to revolutionize how we diagnose and treat disease.

Another example is our work with Drugs and Diagnostics for Tropical Diseases (DDTD.org) on coendemic diseases that can be treated with an inexpensive drug. The problem is that if you're infected with multiple diseases at the same time and you take the drug, you can have severe consequences. If there was a simple test that determined which diseases you were infected with and what drug to safely take, then there is an $1 solution to solving an array of horrific diseases.  DDTD has delivered tens of thousands of tests to Africa, and they're being evaluated in clinical trials to understand how to use these diagnostics to finally address loiasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), lymphatic  filariasis, buruli ulcer and other diseases that don't belong in this century and should be eradicated.

We’re also working with a company that has developed a novel acne treatment.  They apply nanoparticles that strongly absorb light to the skin and use a massager to send the particles into the acne lesion.  When you shine a laser on the skin, the laser penetrates through the skin, gets absorbed by the particles, and heats the particles. This local heating is a non-chemical way of damaging or ablating cells.  For the acne treatment, if the number of cells in the sebaceous gland (which is responsible for oil production) can be reduced, your acne lesion will clear.

There's a compliment to the acne technology in the cancer space. Instead using radiation and chemotherapy that have harmful side effects, nanoparticles can be injected to the tumor sites and irradiated with a laser.  Just heat (no chemicals) ablate the cancer cells and prostate cancer patients are walking out of the clinic the same day with no side effects. Nanoparticles are also useful for delivering drugs.  Chemotherapy is a sledgehammer approach to cancer. Let's poison ourselves just to the limit that we can stand, and then hopefully it gets the tumor. It would be so much better if we could send the chemical that we want right to the tumor location, reduce the dose by a factor of 10, have all the side effects go away, and still have effective treatment. That's the promise, and while it takes a long time to safely bring it to market, many nano enabled therapies will soon be available.

If lateral flow tests are simple and not costly, how come their use is not more common?

Lateral flow tests aren't new. They've been around for 20 years.  Our innovation was to develop more sensitive reporter particles that allow for lateral flow tests to be more widely used.  We went back and re-engineered the particle, so instead of gold spheres, we made a nanoshell which is like a golden eggshell; a glass core that is coated with a very thin shell of gold.  By controlling the size of the core and the thickness of the shell, we can create different colors and increase the sensitivity of diagnostic tests.  Combining mobile cell phone technology with these new, high sensitivity tests offers the promise of a quantitative diagnostic laboratory in your home.

What was your biggest breakthrough in commercializing nanotechnology?

Our breakthrough is the ability to produce nanoparticles with exquisite control over their size, shape, and surface at a commercially viable price.  Rods, shells, cubes, plate, and wire shaped nanoparticles with different surfaces are provided to innovators and inventors so that they can modify, combine, and augment the materials for use in commercial applications.  We are also focused on reducing cost.  Gold and silver nanoparticles have special properties but these materials are expensive.  Our challenge is to find a balance between function, price, performance and scalability in order to get to commercial markets.  We’ve had a lot of success achieving this balance in medical device and nanomedicine markets.

What is your next challenge?

It's been 15 years since we started the company, but a lot of that work has been foundational to build a library of nanomaterials, develop relationships and scale manufacturing.  Our next step is to leverage these capabilities to bring more high impact nano-enabled products to market.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="20px"][grve_callout title="Tech Spotlight Interviews" heading_tag="h4" button_text="Learn More" button_link="url:http%3A%2F%2Finfo.managedsolution.com%2Fc-level-interview-registration|||"]IT is a journey, not a destination. We want to hear about YOUR journey!
Are you a technology innovator or enthusiast?
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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lillian Maestas has more than twenty-five years hands-on experience in software engineering, project development, management and business development. She has led large software projects in integrated product team environments and has managed design and development of advanced commercial and military information systems.

Knowledge Made Solutions Inc was founded in 2008 in San Diego, CA. It is a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) providing high quality Engineering Services to the US Government and Commercial Contractors. They specialize in Software and System Engineering Services and related disciplines including Software Application Development, Hardware Software Integration, Technical Project Management, Test Engineering, Quality Assurance, Configuration Management, Information Assurance and Technical Writing.

Your interest in computer science goes back into your college days. What sparked the interest?

I was a typical student in high school, I didn't know what I wanted to do for a career. I sought the advice of my student counselor and she said, “Well, you're good at math, what about computer science?” I said, “What's that?” She said, “Well, it's a new field that's just starting,” and “Since you're good at math, I think it can be a good fit for you.” So, I said, “Okay.”

It was challenging in several ways. One, my computer science classes had only two or three females to start, and then after four, five weeks they would drop out, and I'd be the only female. Where in high school I predominately studied with females, I had the challenge to ask the males if I could join their study group. As well the professors were all male. Two, the subject itself was a challenge, but I just kept at it, because I found it interesting. This is when the computers, they call them the mainframes, were large and you would write your program on punch cards. Each statement of your program would be on a card so you ended up with a stack of cards for the entire program. I remember I put the card deck in my car and while driving home I braked too fast, and the cards went flying. I had to retype the program to get the cards in the right order. This meant I had to find a time slot opening in the lab to retype the program. I learned quickly to put a rubber band around my cards.

What made you stay in computer science?

Directly out of college I worked for General Dynamics in a field service position in Nevada developing software, again I was the only female on this project. We were tracking military exercises and we'd replay the results of their exercises of who killed who in a debrief center. I did the software development for that. We also tracked the first launch of the Tomahawk cruise missile. They launched it off the coast in the Pacific and it made its way all the way to Tonopah Test Range where we were working, and hit its target right on. I found doing the software development for this exciting and fun.

How you support women in STEM?

Since I do business development and also look for the resources to fill positions for Knowledge Made Solutions I definitely look for and support hiring women that are qualified.

I'm also a volunteer and STEM Chair with NDIA, National Defense Industrial Association. About 10 years ago, we recognized the shortage in the STEM educated workforce, both male and female and got involved doing outreach to students to get them interested in STEM and IT. In the beginning I noticed only males showing up to our outreach events, that's when one of my goals became to get girls to attend and for the Cyber cup event to get an all girls team. And we made it happen in one year.

What opportunities are there for women in cyber security?

There are many opportunities for women, many are technical but there's many other aspects to the cybersecurity field, so you don't necessarily have to be an engineer designing hardware, circuits or software. For example, behavioral analyst who determine why and what drives hackers are needed to provide this information to others who can put technical controls in place to monitor for suspicious behaviors based on patterns. Or lawyers, who are knowledgeable in cybersecurity policies. I'm definitely seeing more women entering this field, I see them at Cybersecurity meetings, and I love the encouragement from our male colleagues in supporting women. I see a lot of that, which is awesome.

What is the mission of Knowledge Made Solutions? 

We're a veteran owned small business that provides engineering and high-tech services to the Department of Defense. Our mission is to provide excellent engineering in software, systems engineering, and cybersecurity.

How do you contribute to that mission? 

I look for opportunities that are good fit for the company, meaning IT and engineering tasks where our experience and expertise can provide best of breed solutions and services. I also look at teaming relationships with other companies where we can complement their team with our expertise or they complement us.

How have cyber-attacks changed over time?

Going back to the 80s and the 90s, the cyber incidences were not very frequent. Now we're hearing about significant attacks every month, actually cyber security incidences are happening every minute. That's the big difference that I've seen. Also, hackers now want a ransom for return of your information. It’s not so much that they want that information, but knowing you do they hold it up for ransom. Where early on hackers actually wanted the secret or proprietary information they stole, such as designs, algorithms, etc.

How will cyber-attacks evolve in the future?

Medical devices are an interesting area. What's the purpose to hack into somebody's medical device? Probably not to get secrets, but to do harm if you don't pay them.

What are 3 steps every company should take to protect themselves against cyber-attacks? 

The first one is to do an assessment of your IT and your data. Know what you have. Step two, determine what controls are needed. You need to start setting your priorities, putting more controls in place is good, but you might not be able to do it all at once. So you prioritize. Third step is the awareness. A lot of breaches happen because employees are not aware that their actions open up ways for hackers to get in.

What is SoCal Cyber Cup?

SoCal Cyber Cup is a Cybersecurity challenge for middle school and high school students. They get paired with a mentor from DOD industry and government to work on different cybersecurity challenges for 6 months. The kids are exposed to threats and vulnerabilities and work with the latest technologies to find, remove and recover within what we call a cyber range. A safe place that won’t create real problems while they learn. This year we had the Cyber Range in the cloud. This also allows us to reach a larger group of kids. We've had kids return for all four of their high school years to participate in the cyber cup challenge and after they come back as mentors and sponsors. We’ve also seen several kids get very good positions at local companies based on the experience and knowledge they gained through the cyber cup challenge.


What is your next challenge?

I want to see more kids from underserved areas get involved in STEM and the SoCal Cyber Cup to show them the opportunity this filed offers for their future. Recently NDIA is participating in a program called “STEM in your backyard", we go out to schools in underserved areas and talk to kids about STEM. Our goal is to have 50% of teams from these areas at our next SoCal Cyber Cup.


Read more interviews like this: https://managedsolut.wpengine.com/category/c-level-interviews/[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="20px"][grve_callout title="Tech Spotlight Interviews" heading_tag="h4" button_text="Learn More" button_link="url:http%3A%2F%2Finfo.managedsolution.com%2Fc-level-interview-registration|||"]IT is a journey, not a destination. We want to hear about YOUR journey!
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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]San Diego, CA, April 3, 2019. The Women in Technology Network San Diego hosted a golfing event for their members to help them brush up on their golfing skills. They spent the afternoon working on their swing and testing their newly gained skills in a putting and virtual Closest-to-the-Pin Contest at GOLFTEC San Diego.

Jennifer Benedict, Enterprise Account Executive at Managed Solution and Co-Chair of the WIT Network San Diego, said: “We organized this event because business happens on the golf course and women are often left out. That’s why we wanted our members to work on their golfing skills, so they can feel empowered and be a part of the game.”

Suzanne LaTour, President and Owner of the GOLFTEC franchise for the San Diego Region, who sponsored the event, encouraged women to golf and join their colleagues on the golf course no matter their experience.

There were 4 GOLFTEC PGA instructors who were helpful in analyzing swings with their video technology and helped to adjust posture, foot placement, and overall swings. They graciously had a lot of patience with the beginners and even helped some more experienced golfers to perfect and get the most of their swing. Most of all, it was a fun afternoon filled with networking, gaining new golfing skills, and meeting new members so that next time women in tech are invited to a golf game, they’ll gladly accept the invitation.

The Women in Technology Network is a community of professionals across the world that believe in making it easier for women to imagine, begin, and develop a career in IT. There are over 80 chapters in over 40 countries that provide a vast and varied network of events, contacts, and opportunities. The San Diego Chapter is co-chaired by Tina Rountree, Director of Sales at Managed Solution and Jennifer Benedict, Enterprise Account Executive at Managed Solution.[/vc_column_text][grve_gallery ids="31123,31120,31121,31122,31124,31125,31126,31127" hide_image_title="yes" hide_image_caption="yes" image_popup_size="large"][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]San Diego, CA, January 24, 2019. The Managed Solution team and their special guests spent an inspirational day at Women’s Day presented by Farmers Insurance. Women’s Day is an inspiring afternoon of personal and career development and compelling discussion followed by a fun and relaxing networking opportunity on the 18th green. This year’s speakers were Jessica Mendoza, ESPN MLB Analyst & Two-Time Olympic Medalist, Courtney Conlogue, Professional Surfer & 2018 Vans US Open of Surfing Champion, and Sophie Goldschmidt, CEO at World Surf League.

Managed Solution is a strong supporter of women in technology and women in business, showcasing that by 50% female leadership and leading The Women in Technology Network San Diego chapter.

Tina Rountree, Co-Chair of the WIT Network San Diego Chapter, stated, “It was a great day spent among other women who are inspired and inspiring in their personal and professional lives. There clearly is a connection between motivation, business drive and sports. Stories like this fill me up with energy to do even better.”

The Women in Technology Network is a community of professionals across the world that believe in making it easier for women to imagine, begin, and develop a career in IT. There are over 80 chapters in over 40 countries that provide a vast and varied network of events, contacts, and opportunities. The San Diego Chapter is co-chaired by Tina Rountree, Director of Sales at Managed Solution and Jennifer Benedict, Enterprise Account Executive at Managed Solution.

As a relationship-driven organization, Managed Solution collaborates with you to customize the perfect mix of software, hardware, and IT services. We deliver a flexible technology solution that evolves and adapts to meet your needs and exceed your expectations at every stage of your business cycle.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height="20px"][vc_column_text]To download the full magazine and read the full interviews, click here.

Dr. Claire Weston is an accomplished and dedicated scientific leader with a track record of success in cancer research.  She was awarded a PhD in from Cambridge University in the UK and has lead teams and projects focused on cancer biomarkers in both large pharma and start-up environments.  Claire founded Reveal Biosciences in 2012 and has since demonstrated strong year-on-year growth.  She has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications in leading journals including Science, and is a respected member of multiple professional organizations including the Digital Pathology Association. 

Reveal Biosciences is a computational pathology company focused on tissue-based research. 

Why did you decide to explore biotechnology?

When I was a child I went to a local science day and watched a scientist pour liquid nitrogen onto the floor. The liquid nitrogen changed from liquid to gas, something I’d never seen before, and I thought it was amazing!  It really initiated my interest in science. I love biotechnology because it's at the interface of science and technology, and solves real world problems.

How was the idea of Reveal Biosciences born?

Several years ago I was working at a different company developing a biomarker-based test for breast cancer. As part of that test, we sent a set of 150 patient slides to three different pathologists to review and provide a diagnosis. We then compared those results to our quantitative biomarker test. What really struck me at the time was the variation in the results that we got back from the pathologists. These are all very qualified, experienced pathologists, yet they didn't agree on the results for all the different patients. This is important because the way the patients are treated is often dependent on the way that the pathologist reviews the slide. It became clear that taking a quantitative, computational approach could help provide more accurate and reproducible data to benefit patients. This became one of the driving missions of our company.

In simple words, how do you help people?

We provide data from microscope slides or pathology samples that can benefit research, clinical trials, and patients.  For example, we generate quantitative pathology data to help pharmaceutical companies develop therapeutic drugs, we use it for clinical trials to increase precision and stratify patient groups, and we're also in the process of building pathology data applications to help pathologists diagnose disease in a way that will ultimately benefit patients.

Click here to watch more videos.

How are your services different from other similar companies in the market?

We are fairly unique in that we have a scientific team in the lab doing pathology and a computational team of data scientists and software engineers who are developing our AI-based platform. Our ImageDx platform includes models to generate very quantitative data and diagnostic outputs that can be applied to many different diseases. The products that we are working on are unique and differentiate us, but the main driver is the quantitative pathology data that we generate.

How did you marry artificial intelligence with pathology?

We've been using traditional machine learning to identify and quantify cells from images for a while, but in the last few years AI has advanced significantly. It's impressive to see how well it works in pathology images. We've made the natural evolution from more traditional machine learning into AI. Compute power is now more readily available which means that we can generate data from one patient slide in minutes rather than the days or weeks it used to take.  This sea change in computational speed means that the data we generate is more meaningful and relevant to routine pathology workflows.[/vc_column_text][grve_video video_link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apAy6ZRi11w"][vc_column_text]Click here to watch more videos.

You are planning to use cloud-based technology to deliver accurate diagnosis and to address medical needs worldwide. How does that work?

There's a huge shortage of pathologists worldwide. Even in the US where we have very highly qualified pathologists we’re heading for a retirement cliff, and less pathologists are coming through residency to maintain their numbers. This is particularly evident in rural areas where there's a real shortage of expertise. Having a cloud-based approach will help address some of those problems.

I'm excited by the potential for AI in a cloud-based platform to bring advanced pathology expertise to anywhere with internet access. Hospitals or pathology labs throughout the world could upload an image from a microscope slide into the cloud, and that image can be analyzed to generate advanced diagnostics. Countries with limited resources often have the ability to generate the most basic kind of microscope slide, but they sometimes lack the ability to do the more advanced diagnostics. The possibility to do so is going to revolutionize pathology and be impactful for healthcare globally.  This should also benefit patients in the US by helping to lower the cost of healthcare.

How is AI impacting pathology?

The application of AI in pathology is a very new thing. We've been developing this for a while and we're launching the first products in the clinic for patients in 2019. We are also building more enhanced pathology models by integrating other data sources. We’re finding that we can use AI to detect aspects of cancer that are not obvious just by looking down a microscope. For example, we're detecting small changes in the texture of the nucleus of cells or small cellular changes that you wouldn't necessarily notice by eye but can be predictive or prognostic of disease. I think this is going to be really impactful for personalized medicine.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column heading_color="primary-1"][vc_empty_space][grve_callout title="Tech Spotlight Interviews" button_text="Learn more" button_link="url:http%3A%2F%2Finfo.managedsolution.com%2Fc-level-interview-registration||target:%20_blank|"]IT is a journey, not a destination. We want to hear about YOUR journey!
Are you a technology innovator or enthusiast?
We would love to highlight you in the next edition of our Tech Spotlight.[/grve_callout][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height="20px"][vc_column_text]To download the full magazine and read the full interviews, click here.

Denise Bevers, Co-Founder, President, and Chief Operating Officer of Kindred Biosciences is an experienced pharmaceutical executive with a distinguished career in clinical operations, medical affairs, and scientific communications. With over 20 years of pharmaceutical and research experience, she has successfully managed dozens of product launches and development programs from Phase I through Phase IV. Bevers previously held leadership positions at Elan Pharmaceuticals, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, Quintiles, and SkyePharma. Prior to co-founding KindredBio, she was President and Founding Partner of SD Scientific, a full-service medical affairs and communications company.

KindredBio is a leading veterinary biotech company in the world that develops breakthrough medicines for our best friends: cats, dogs, and horses.

Watch more videos here.

How was the idea of KindredBio born?

KindredBio was born from the understanding that our pets need access to the same caliber of medicines to which we have access as humans.  When my partner, Dr. Richard Chin, and I were working in human drug development, we decided we wanted to develop cutting-edge products for cats, dogs, and horses.  We formed KindredBio to develop these drugs, specific for each species, and have them approved for use by the FDA and/or other relevant regulatory agencies, for veterinary use.

How do you help pets?

At KindredBio, we identify drugs and biologics that work in humans, and we develop veterinary versions for cats, dogs, and horses. We lovingly say that we will not test any products on animals that have not been tested in humans first! By adapting the research and development from existing human products, we both increase the chance of success and decrease costs and timelines. We can develop these product candidates for an average of $5 to $8 million in 3-6 years.  This is a phenomenal feat if you consider that human drugs may cost over $1 billion and take over a decade to develop. At KindredBio, we have approximately 20 product candidates in our pipeline and hope to make a tremendous difference in the lives of pets and pet owners by providing products to veterinarians.

What has been you biggest professional challenge so far and how did you overcome it?

After nearly 25 years working in human drug development, it was a big leap to start a company focused in veterinary medicine.  As I have done throughout my career, the number one step was to surround myself with the most talented people in the industry.  We hired the top veterinarians, protein engineers, and drug developers in the business.  As a result, we developed an incredible pipeline and ended up taking the company public (Nasdaq: KIN) in just 14 months after founding.  It was one of the fastest IPOs in biotech history.  We are proof that, with the most talented and motivated team members, anything is possible!

What is the most important role of technology in biotechnology?

As a virtual company with remote employees across the US, we need to collaborate at all levels of the business daily.  Our IT team believes the technology should be transparent so whether we’re in virtual conferences, sharing information or collaborating on documents, or crunching data for research – our teams should be working as seamlessly as if we were all working in the same physical location.  The good news for companies like us is that the tools we have today, which were unattainable 5 or 10 years ago, are cost-effective and work quite well.

Watch more videos here.

What has been the biggest technological breakthrough for your company?

Our real technological breakthrough has been the development of specific monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins for cats, dogs, and horses. We are walking in lock-step with biotech innovation, such as immunotherapy, on the human side.  We have hired world-renown protein engineers and have the some of the most sophisticated manufacturing in all of biotech. We are developing first-in-class, cutting-edge product candidates for cats, dogs, and horses.  We can manufacture very sophisticated products at a much lower cost, which for us was the key to starting the company. Before we start to develop any product, we need to know that we can manufacture it at a cost that the pet owner can afford. And that really was what drove us to be able to start the company, the incredible advancement in biotechnology and manufacturing technology. Our goal is to truly revolutionize veterinary medicine.

You have held leadership positions at numerous professional organizations, what advice could you offer other professionals in STEM fields to help them become good leaders?

One of the important messages that I like to communicate to young women (and men) is that you can have a career in STEM without being a bench scientist, engineer, or mathematician.  I am a great example of that.  While I have a BS in biology, I am not a scientist, yet I have managed to surround myself, throughout my career, with the best scientists in the world.  I get so much gratification from a career in STEM.  For leaders, I particularly encourage them to work on their communication skills.  For technical talent, it is critical to be able to discuss the technology to many stakeholders, from non-technical employees, to management, and likely even to investors. The ability to tailor communication is a cornerstone to great leadership.

Innovation is the essence of KindredBio. Can you give us an example how you innovate with medicine for pets?

In 2018, we received FDA approval for our first product which is a transdermal ointment for cats. Until recently, a human drug was used off label. The owner was dispensed a little white pill and he or she had to cut it, typically into eights, and then pill that cat. Which, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of doing so, is really not fun. We worked very closely with our scientists to make a product that penetrates the skin of the ear. So, you rub some in the ear, and the transdermal ointment penetrates the skin and works as well as if you were taking a pill. And that’s how we use innovation to create value for the pet owner and veterinarian.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column heading_color="primary-1"][vc_empty_space][grve_callout title="Tech Spotlight Interviews" button_text="Learn more" button_link="url:http%3A%2F%2Finfo.managedsolution.com%2Fc-level-interview-registration||target:%20_blank|"]IT is a journey, not a destination. We want to hear about YOUR journey!
Are you a technology innovator or enthusiast?
We would love to highlight you in the next edition of our Tech Spotlight.[/grve_callout][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]To download the full magazine and read the full interviews, click here.

Holly Smithson is Chief Executive Officer of Athena. She is responsible for creating, communicating and implementing the organization's vision, mission, and overall direction and serves at the discretion of the Board of Directors. 

Smithson previously served as Vice President, Business Strategy at the California Life Sciences Association, the nation’s largest statewide advocacy organization for the life sciences sector. Prior to that, she served as President and Chief Operating Officer at Cleantech San Diego, one of the first cleantech industry associations launched to establish the region as a global hub. Smithson worked in public policy as a Presidential Appointee in several federal agencies and as a registered lobbyist for industry in Washington, D.C. 


Athena is a professional development organization dedicated to empowering women in the STEM workforce. Will you share with us some of the challenges that women working in STEM companies are experiencing? 

Athena has been providing leadership development, mentoring and research for women in STEM for 20 years. In 2018, we’re at an exciting intersection in our journey towards gender equity. Some call it the year of the woman, I submit it’s the decade of the woman. We have an enormous responsibility to mobilize and execute around this seismic shift in society on what the new norms are for gender diversity in the workforce. Biased recruiting, interviewing and hiring techniques, pay disparity and inflexible work policies are among the many elements that work against a diverse and inclusive corporate culture.

How does Athena support women in STEM?

For our 20th Anniversary, Athena launched its premier thought leadership piece indexing the percentage of women in STEM in San Diego and nationally. We are driving the national dialogue around gender diversity with a data-driven approach to not only discover the root cause of the gaps but how best to close them. Athena’s 5000 supporter community views Athena as a safe harbor to learn how to navigate the inherent biases, to gain greater awareness of the power of the network and how to invest in their career versus the job.

Do you see any challenges specific to the San Diego region?

As a global STEM hub, we assumed San Diego would be ahead of its competitors. As the data reveals however, women represent 23% of San Diego’s STEM workforce compared to 25%, nationally. Although the gap is nominal, we have higher expectations of this region and Athena is positioned to now empower STEM companies with data and strategic capital.

How will Athena change these statistics?

Athena is honored to form its newest alliance with the United Nations and the UN Global Compact. We will be announcing our formal collaboration on December 6 in San Francisco.  Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest multi-stakeholder initiative dedicated to driving business awareness and implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as Agenda 2030: www.unglobalcompact.org/sdgs. Sustainable Development Goal # 5 is focused on "Gender Diversity" and that’s where Athena steps in. Through this UN partnership, Athena will leverage its 20-year convening power and market access and facilitate implementation efforts on SDG # 5.

What is the state of women working in the tech sector?

We know the biggest creation of wealth is unarguably the tech sector and yet women are leaving the tech workforce at a 50% exit rate. This calls for a dramatic course correction. Women influence 80% of consumer purchasing. Women hold 60 % of the US personal wealth. Women comprise 51% of the world population. When we look at the statistics, we need to get to the root cause of this huge disconnect inside the tech sector and challenge our assumptions and hypothesis. The UN partnership will set that flywheel in motion as Athena helps companies create an inclusive environment that celebrates the business and societal rewards stemming from gender equity.

What is next for Athena?

We want to empower one million women working and leading in STEM workforce by 2030. This audacious goal will require a sophisticated digital communications campaign, so we can effectively reach all those women and women champions ready and willing to contribute to society through STEM.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column heading_color="primary-1"][grve_callout title="Tech Spotlight Interview" button_text="Learn more" button_link="url:http%3A%2F%2Finfo.managedsolution.com%2Fc-level-interview-registration||target:%20_blank|"]IT is a journey, not a destination. We want to hear about YOUR journey!
Are you a technology innovator or enthusiast?
We would love to highlight you in the next edition of our Tech Spotlight.[/grve_callout][/vc_column][/vc_row]


San Diego, CA, November 14, 2018, – The San Diego Business Journal will recognize dynamic women business leaders who have contributed significantly to San Diego’s workplaces and communities in their 25th annual event on December 13th. We are proud to announce that our Chief Executive Officer, Susan Kuruvilla, has been selected as finalist for the 2018 Business Women of the Year award.

“Susan Kuruvilla is a powerhouse of experience combined with intuition and intelligence. Susan leads a team of 80 FTE's between San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles with clients who are under management globally. Her largest achievement has been building a leadership team made up of 50% women, which is rare to see in the tech sector and is a reflection on her passion for empowering women in the workplace,” said Sean Ferrel, Chairman and Founder of Managed Solution.

Earlier this year, Susan was also a finalist for the San Diego Magazine’s Woman of the Year award in the category of Industry Leader.

Susan graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business with a concentration in Finance. Soon after she received her MBA from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Kuruvilla has worked in Finance for American Airlines and 10+ years as CFO and then President of Clark Security Products, Inc, which was acquired by Anixter International (NYSE: AXE) in 2010.

Susan, who has experience in high-growth environments at both public and private companies, brings a customer-centric and collaborative approach to Managed Solution. Her focus has been implementing a growth strategy and building on our core values: innovation, integrity and teamwork. Additionally, she has made great strides in positioning our team to become your go-to business technology advisor and provide the highest level of support to help grow your business.

Congratulations Susan, the whole team will keep our fingers crossed on December 13th!


About Managed Solution

As a relationship-driven organization, Managed Solution collaborates with you to customize the perfect mix of software, hardware, and IT services. We deliver a flexible technology solution that evolves and adapts to meet your needs and exceed your expectations at every stage of your business cycle.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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