At Riffyn, we take pride in the fact that we are a scientific partner with our customers, not simply a vendor. We are a dedicated group of people with our customers’ interests in mind – we’re here to help time and again, as often as you need us. We’re all about deep personal relationships as fellow scientists and engineers.
In our “Riffyn Spotlights” blog series, we’re giving you the chance to get to know the Riffyn team a bit better. In this installment, we talk with D.C area-based Accounts Manager Bobby Brown about his background in healthcare, his passion for building relationships, and his views on racial bias in healthcare. Please note that answers have been edited for clarity.
Q: What is your greatest success story for helping a Riffyn customer?
A: We have a really awesome customer in Germany working on a cell-free biology platform that makes vaccines and drug products without the use of intact cells. And they really needed a product like Riffyn to overcome scale-up bottlenecks. I got to travel to Germany and speak to a client in a country that I've never been to before, and got to really talk them through their workflows and help them understand how we could help get their technology to the market.
Q: What is your background -- what did you do before joining Riffyn?
A: I earned my bachelor's degree in biology from Virginia Tech and I originally started my career off in the patient side healthcare. At the time, I thought I was going to go to physical therapy school. I was working with PTs, patients, doctors, and different insurance providers, so I got a full view of the healthcare landscape and how things work and what really drives people in those different roles. Loved it but it didn’t pay the bills. So I started working at a clinical research organization, and I did some work there with clinical trials. Then I decided to pivot back into healthcare and do some stuff with corporate wellness for a couple months before I started grad school at Georgetown, where I earned my master's in biotechnology.
Q: Why did you decide to join Riffyn?
A: I decided not to go to PT school because the director of my graduate program sat me down and said, “you know you can help a lot more people and make a big impact from this side of the fence.” So I decided to combine what I learned in healthcare and the wellness industry as well as the science and business of biotech. I did a fellowship program at Lawrence Livermore National labs, doing a lot of tech transfer and commercialization of new technologies and research. This opened my eyes to some of the inefficiencies in research and development. And that’s the issue that Riffyn is addressing. The way research is done today can be, for lack of a better word, floppy. Riffyn really brings it all together by connecting people, processes and workflows which helps alleviate the floppiness. That’s what brought me here — I’m here to spur innovation.
Q: Describe Riffyn in three words.
A: Accelerating research & development.
Q: What personal values do you get to fulfill through your work?
A: One of my biggest reasons for working here is because I’ve seen the inefficiency in health care and I’ve seen how it's affected people, even my own family. Working at Riffyn I feel like I have the opportunity to help get therapies and products to people who need them at a faster and more affordable rate. There are a lot of people that can't afford medicines, and there are a lot of people who are waiting for clinical trials to succeed. People are placing their hopes on FDA approvals and it's a slow process because of necessity and the way science is done right now. The saddest thing is these people are dying and leaving loved ones behind. So we have an opportunity to save some lives and make the world a little bit better.
Q: What does “a day in the life of Bobby” look like?
A: Most of my day is spent prospecting new customers, looking for trends in the market and development pipelines to see where different products are in their phases of development. I do a lot of prospecting, a lot of networking and a lot of relationship building. That's one thing I actually think is really cool about Riffyn, because I don't want to say that I am a salesman; that's not what I want to do and I’ve never liked that title. I want to learn and educate and to do that you have to build an authentic relationship with the people in this industry. You need to understand their business and understand the gaps in their business and where we can provide value.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I really like to play basketball. That’s always been a passion of mine. I enjoy working out, period. I always have a good time spending time with friends and family, especially my mom. I love my mom and I love talking to her and my sisters. But, I also just like being alone to reflect and do some internal thinking to figure out what I need to work on.
Q: If you could solve one major problem, what would it be and why?
A: Racial injustice and bias in healthcare really needs to be solved. Last year I saw that they had done a study with some medical students and they asked them “do you think everyone has the same pain tolerance?” and the answers that they gave were shocking. The majority said they thought black people had a higher pain tolerance. I’ve seen this with my dad, he was experiencing severe chronic abdominal pain and the majority of healthcare professionals wouldn’t provide a diagnosis or prescribe any pain medication, even though he was in tremendous pain and scared to death of the uncertainty. It’s a real problem, and a serious problem.
If you're interested in joining a dynamic group of people passionate about helping scientists discover more, please visit our Careers page at riffyn.com/careers or send a letter of inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Embriette is an academic-turned science writer with a passion for spreading responsible science. She holds a PhD in microbiome research from Baylor College of Medicine. After a 4-year post-doc, during which she managed the world's largest citizen science research project (the American Gut Project), Embriette became a full-time science writer and research consultant. You can find her work at riffyn.com, synbiobeta.com, and her personal webpage: drhydenotjekyll.com