“We need more positive coverage of cultural accomplishments.” with Len Gaincola & Patrick Pennie

We need more positive coverage of cultural accomplishments. It would be great to promote the positive things that immigrants and born citizens alike have accomplished to impact our society. Media coverage is the number one way to enlighten the public on the benefits of diversity. A positive message will overshadow discourse and division. I had […]

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We need more positive coverage of cultural accomplishments. It would be great to promote the positive things that immigrants and born citizens alike have accomplished to impact our society. Media coverage is the number one way to enlighten the public on the benefits of diversity. A positive message will overshadow discourse and division.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick Pennie, President & CEO of EmCyte. Patrick started his medical career in 1987 as a critical care open heart licensed registered nurse. Patrick dedicated his time and expertise to caring for military veterans who suffered with heart disease and other associated complications at the VA Medical center in Manhattan New York. After years of clinical service, Patrick went on to further his education and clinical exposure by being one of a selected few to attend the first perfusion program at Barry University in Miami Florida. There he studied extracorporeal cardiopulmonary bypass, extracorporeal life support and perioperative blood management. After working for many years as a certified clinical perfusionist, in 1999, he went on to become a clinical leader and pioneer in autologous regenerative medicine. This treatment concept was loosely researched and virtually unheard of in mainstream medicine at the time. With his combined experience in both critical care nursing and clinical perfusion, Patrick developed one of the first autologous regenerative treatment protocols for chronic wound care. This consisted of highly concentrated and activated autologous platelet rich plasma, prepared at the point of care, in combination with a protective dressing system. After successfully treating many patients, Patrick, collaborated with the Southern Aero Medical Institute of Melbourne Florida, and founded the Florida Platelet Gel Symposium. This was a world-renowned regenerative medicine conference that focused on the clinical aspects of point of care autologous platelet rich plasma as a treatment biologic. The conference was one of the first of its kind and it drew medical practitioners from around the world who sought enlightenment on this groundbreaking medical technology. In 2002, Patrick continued to lead in regenerative innovation by developing the Secquire® Platelet Concentrating System. This was one of the first tabletop point of care platelet concentrating systems ever to be commercialized for point of care applications. The system was used nationwide and brought awareness to practitioners from around the world. In 2006, Patrick received FDA clearance to release the second-generation Platelet Concentrating System called the GenesisCS Component Concentrating System. This new innovative design expanded processing capabilities beyond platelet rich plasma and for the first time, physicians could now prepare bone marrow cell concentrate as powerful regenerative content output. In 2008, Patrick founded EmCyte Corporation, a full medical manufacturing company with state-of-the-art clean rooms and manufacturing equipment. EmCyte Corporation was built from the ground up and was established to bring product manufacturing in-house, where production would be controlled by a robust quality management system and production experts. In 2012, Patrick continued to innovate as he developed the PurePRP® Concentrating System. This system was revolutionary in that it was the first and only point of care PRP system that prepared clinical platelet rich plasma without red blood cell content. Patrick then applied this concept to bone marrow concentrate and developed the PureBMC® Bone Marrow Concentrating System in which the red blood cell content was reduced by 80%. This innovation made PRP and BMC more effective and better tolerated. These products gave physicians a powerful and effective treatment option that they didn’t have before. Today, in 2019, Patrick’s is breaking ground again with the development of PurePRP® and PureBMC® SupraPhysiologic. These systems improve the processing capabilities and performance outcomes of their predecessors. Patrick has also developed the ASPIRE™ Bone Marrow Harvesting System, which reduces the oxidative free hemoglobin content during aspiration. Under his management and direction, EmCyte Corporation is now a leader in autologous regenerative medicine, with products sold throughout the US, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia and East Asia. Patrick is the inventor and owner of two US and International patents with more pending and the owner of multiple trademarks. Patrick will continue to innovate and bring autologous regenerative awareness to physicians from around the world. His goal to educate practitioners on the amazing benefits of growth factor and progenitor cell biologics and to emphasize the importance of product assessment to ensure patient outcomes.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

This career path happened organically. My first choice was to become a certified clinical perfusionist (CCP). I was exposed to perfusion by my 11th grade science instructor who saw math, science and technical potential in me. However, in pursuit to becoming a CCP, I believed that having a registered nursing license and specializing in open heart critical care would give me the background I needed to be a more effective perfusionist. After completing both critical care nursing and perfusion, I worked as a certified clinical perfusionist in Fort Myers, Florida. It is here that the idea of platelet derived autologous regenerative medicine was conceived. I read an article that spoke of using an ointment with a small dose of a single recombinant growth factor to heal chronic wounds. Instantly, a bell went off. As an experienced perfusionist with perioperative blood management skills, I was familiar with blood components and its functions. I thought if a small dose of a single recombinant growth factor can be used to treat a wound, how much better would that wound heal if we applied billions of a multitude of growth factors? More importantly, what if those growth factors came from the patient’s own blood platelets? This led me to developing one of the first treatment protocols using highly concentrated platelet rich plasma (PRP) to treat wounds and injuries. This treatment would have no side effects as it is 100% derived from the patient’s own blood platelets. Shortly thereafter, we treated a patient with a 5-year chronic non-healing wound with this therapy. I applied concentrated PRP to his infected tunneling ankle wound once a month for 6 months. After the 6th month, the wound completely healed. That patient was scheduled for a below-the-knee amputation and I was able to save the limb. After this successful experience with concentrated PRP, I pursued the career path of PRP product development treatment enhancement.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Being a former high school football player playing in a private league, I suffered knee injuries that daunted me for a good part of my young adult life. I had articular cartilage with subsequent damage to the femur head in the left knee and a torn meniscus in the right knee. My motivation and inspiration for developing this treatment was also somewhat personal, as I didn’t want to undergo major surgical procedures as suggested at the time. Approximately 5 years after developing this therapy, I encouraged a local orthopedic surgeon, who is also a good friend of mine, to employ this therapy in his practice. He resisted for a short time but my persistence and success stories experienced by others convinced him to give it a try. He treated eight patients that had no cure for their joint injuries with concentrated PRP prepared by the product I developed, GenesisCS Component Concentrating System, now known as PurePRP®. He cured all 8 of these patients. He was highly encouraged and so was I…now I wanted him to treat my long-standing injuries. He treated my injuries with the product and I went from regular pain and swelling in my knees, to being able to resume high impact activities like running and playing basketball.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake or mis-calculation was to think that the device I designed and created would not be regulated by the FDA. Clearly, this was a mis-calculation. At the time, in 2001, the device was classified as class 1 and it required good manufacturing practices (GMP). This forced me to develop a strong quality system that involved infrastructure with equipment and qualified personnel. If the device were to be successful, we had to do our due diligence to ensure safety. Since then, these devices have been upgraded to class 2 medical device, requiring more regulation and stringent monitoring.

I’ve learned that the journey to accomplishment is tough. There must be both unyielding commitment and staunch sacrifice.

Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important for a business to have a diverse executive team?

Cultural diversity is appreciated and welcomed. It creates a sense of intrigue and a feeling of belonging. Executives and employees alike can engage in matters,and through healthy discourse, can respect and understand the culturally motivating factors that sometimes play into decision making. It gives us the opportunity to share and understand our differences while celebrating the collective bond that keeps us all together, namely the bond of humanity. I love the challenge of diversity because I’m enlightened with new facts almost daily. It has been my experience that diversity enhances respect, improves collaboration amongst coworkers and boosts morale. Everyone feels that they can bring something special to the table.

More broadly can you describe how this can have an effect on our culture?

More broadly, diversity broadens our reach and expands our capabilities. It is evident that America has thrived as a nation because we have embraced diversity, to some degree, in our laws. This would include the Affirmative Action Programs under Executive Order, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and others. We celebrate and encourage foreign talent to join the ranks of Americans. This has permitted the best minds from around the world to participate in the American experiment. This concept has worked for decades in this country, so I am proud to employ that mindset within the work place. The cultural make-up of EmCyte Corporation is the following:

1. Cambodia

2. Philippines

3. Peru

4. China

5. The Netherlands

6. Poland

7. India

8. Canada

9. St Lucia

10. Jamaica

11. Trinidad & Tobago

12. USA

Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address the root of the diversity issues in executive leadership?

1. We need more positive coverage of cultural accomplishments. It would be great to promote the positive things that immigrants and born citizens alike have accomplished to impact our society. Media coverage is the number one way to enlighten the public on the benefits of diversity. A positive message will overshadow discourse and division.

2. Politicians should respect each other’s views. They should not besmirch or disparage each other. Their debates and contests should be based on real facts only. They should never WANT to win so bad that they would do dishonest things to get there. They should win with humility and lose with grace. They should be more honest and realize that the duty to is a duty of honor. They set the cultural tone in the country. With great power comes great responsibility. If they do their jobs with honesty, dignity and fairness, this will transgress to us all.

3. People of diversity in politics, race, religion, sex, should have random public displays of solidarity. Republicans and Democrats should publicly agree on issues and show acceptance of each other’s ideas. Even if they don’t agree with the ideas, for the purpose of a civil discourse, they should publicly respect them before they respectfully disagree.

These public displays would improve diversity issues.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership is the ability to create an effective working philosophy. The philosophy defines objectives, responsibilities and how employees interact with each other. It also sets the overall tone and culture of the workplace. Leaders must have a mindset that’s inclusive, balanced and tolerant. They must maintain objectivity and have enormous self-control. I believe in leading by example and, therefore, expect my executive directors to adopt the same mindset.

Leaders can identify the strengths and weaknesses in their staff and position employees where their strengths are celebrated. This improves productivity and enhances the morale of employees, almost to the point where their work feels more like a duty than a job. Leaders inspire and encourage but can also recognize realistic expectations. When employees are unable to meet expectations because of a lack of knowledge or a lack of knowledge applied, leaders are able to make the decisions needed to maintain the solvency of the company.

Leaders must check the ego at the door, leaving it out of business operations. Leaders should acknowledge weaknesses and allow themselves room to grow. Leaders should learn from their employees and recognize that sometimes employees will have better ideas or methods than those suggested by leaders. Leaders should objectively recognize a good idea and have the strength to support it regardless of its origin.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Sleep is important. When you’re enthusiastically pursuing a career path you tend to forego sleep. Especially when your journey starts at a younger age. Sleep sharpens acuity and provides sustainability.

2. Enjoy the ride. A journey should provide satisfaction along the way. Embrace the good and bad times. Experience defines the end product.

3. No man is an island. Realize that no journey is accomplished alone. There are always people around you that help write your story. Recognize that relationships steer the ship.

4. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. Be patient when striving. There are peaks and valleys. Character is built when you can stay the course.

5. Stick to your values. Don’t compromise who you are to become who you want to be. There should be enough synergy between the two to allow you to maintain your integrity and convictions.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Create a biologics fund to help people that are unable to pay for PRP injection therapy.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Life lesson is to set short term goals. Doing this allowed me to better focus on accomplishments rather than failures. During my collegiate journey, I never focused on graduating or becoming what I had set out to be. Instead, I focused on the immediate exam before me and then the next class to be taken. Passing an exam or a class provided gratification and this sustained me. I’ve been running EmCyte Corporation with this mindset. I don’t set long term goals for the company, I allow the company to develop organically, by taking on the challenge at the moment. Every accomplishment or failure is another artistic stroke in the picturesque landscape of EmCyte. Quite frankly, I’m anxious to see where this all goes.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres and Steve Harvey

How can our readers follow you on social media?

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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