Q1) What is the most valuable career advice you can give to people just starting out?
You must be adding value to the organizations core competencies and primary activities that either
create, capture, or monetizing the organizations value. Expand Your Knowledge, as Knowledge creates
value. One of my startups after I was paralyzed was called Expand The Knowledge.
Q2 What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
In our experience, winning the “opiate-war” to invent a non-opiate pain treatment, our biggest
challenge has been corporate espionage from competitors and cyber security threats.
In 2004, I co-founded a Cyber Security company with a world renowned IT Security expert as I believed
back then that management and Board of Directors were not prepared for the risks of lost and/or stolen
data by employees and competitors.
Because novel medical treatments require RARE Genius, science data is stolen as a matter of industry
practice in the life science industry, and stolen science/engineering can be the death nail of all Science
and Engineering startups.
As a CEO in Pharma I have designed and utilized a “Honey-Pot” R&D data center model that was
designed for two objectives. One objective was to stop people I know and any insider trading involving
the stocks of my family owned public pharmaceutical companies NVIV:NASD and PXRB:OTC.
The second objective was to stop people I don’t know like hackers, and others. It is also key for me to
file my own life science patents and keep my meta-data to protect my inventions from theft
Q3) How do you ensure your organization and its activities are aligned with your “core
The organizations core values must be written down. They are in our employee hand book so from day
one with my companies the team knows my values. The C-suite must lead and reinforce the
organizations core values, and they must routinely maintain messages that support the leadership core
values. I’ve created posters and hung them all around my offices with our core values so staff knows
what we are all about as Pharma inventors.
Q4) Where do the great ideas come from in your organization? Do you encourage junior
members to be creative and share business ideas with senior management?
We look for Genius ideas, not just great ideas. Historically, genius has come from one individual not
group brainstorming. It’s key in Pharma to be ready to support a genius but realize they are VERY VERY
rare so a separate effort of encouragement must be utilized with the general organization to capture
their GREAT ideas. That’s were Brainstorming and a wide range of standard product development
tactics such as ideation filtration are utilized to capture the great ideas. Typically, the organization has
Great ideas so we must be ready to support great ideas too. Great ideas come from all around the
As CEO I maintain personal contact with staff to maintain a constant feedback loop between junior,
senior and external members of PixarBio. Our model of capturing great ideas has led to win one of
Boston’s Best Companies to work for in 2013 and 2016.
Q5) Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe
someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
My father and mother were both entrepreneurs. They mentored me beginning at about 8 years old on
how to run a business by focusing on revenue generation and cost containment simultaneously. My
parents passed away almost 20 years ago and since then I have sought multiple mentors at the same
time. I have always had an entrepreneur and I have always had a big company person as my mentors
I was recruited out of the Wharton School by Siemens Corporation, one of the largest employers in the
world. During my interviews I mandated that the CEO of Siemens be my mentor. Siemens offered me
the job but without CEO mentorship. I rejected the Siemens job in the summer 2002. In the fall 2002,
Siemens came back and made a second offer with the CEO of Siemens USA as my mentor. Shortly after
integration into Siemens, I accepted the Siemens position as Director Global Business development for
Pharma with Siemens CEO George Nolen as my mentor.
A mentor must have the job skills, job responsibilities and life experiences that you want in the future. I
prefer learning from advisors that have been through the real world, than advisors without real world
Q6) Tell me about a time you struggled with work-life balance. How did you solve the
I tried and failed but I delivered on my life’s mission of working for the greater good. My religion
requires me to work for the greater good before self or family. My neurological inventions for paralysis
and non-opiate pain treatment, will effect billions of lives so I’ve been working 18-20 hour days for
about 345 days per year for almost two decades. Im not ashamed to say the greater good for Humanity
comes first in my household over work-life balance. I do work from home so that’s helpful to be around
my family when Im not on business travel with has averaged about 20 travel days per months 2002-2017
Q7) Have you made unpopular decisions like firing employees and reducing compensation
levels? What do you do to keep employee motivation enact after such actions?
In 2017, I announced outsourcing of my FDA complaint manufacturing for just one of my products and
employee morale sank right away, even though we communicated to the internal team that we
expected no layoffs and we expected existing employees to work on new R&D projects.
In times of strategic change, personnel changes are often required, to execute the new mission of the
CEO so I worked intensely with the remaining employees and gained their support for our primary
products moving forward. In 2018, I remain focused to keep my 2016 objectives on course.
Q8) As leaders do you create work environments that are more competitive or collaborative
It depends on the role of the personnel. In 2013 and 2016 I won Best Company to work for
Boston Business Journal based on creating competitive environments in our product
development activities in relation to external parties. However, we maintained a very
collaborative team environment through the use to technology to keep mission critical teams
often comprised of external parties like 1099 consultants more than W-2 full-time employees.
In Pharma there will always be hybrid teams of W2 and 1099 value creators.
Q9) How do you get buy in from senior management and board on your business ideas?
I inspire my teams through my inventions, so I get buy-in during the interview process. Senior buy-in is
not an event. Buy-in is a process that starts at the first interview.
When you’re CEO you have executive directive powers (EDIC’s) so the channels to control flow of ideas
to senior mgmt. are at your finger-tips and on your keyboard. However, It will take face-to-face
communications to get buy-in on major strategic projects. Face to face meetings are critical to buy-in on
any challenging projects.
Q10) How to increase employee productivity? Do you invest in their wellbeing?
I’m somewhat obsessed with using all tools available to maintain employee productivity.
I give all employees technology to stay connected to their business projects
I spent over 90% of 1992-1999 in a bed after being paralyzed and I used a wide range of Data-Com tools
like the launch of Windows 95 and MSN messenger in the 1990’s. MSN messenger had a nice video
bridge which could be used like Skype (before Skype) to stay productive. I was one of Skypes first
registrants. I was stuck in bed when Amazon started selling books online and I felt blessed to be one of
Amazon’s earliest customers. I needed knowledge and Amazon could deliver it to my home.
In the 1990’s my experiences taught me how technology could help my well-being and help me invent
medical treatments. I have always used technology to ensure my employee well-being which led to a
2013 and 2016 Best Company to work for in Boston