Entrepreneurship runs deep in my blood. There were a bunch of preachers too, but the grandfathers and great uncles who founded and built companies captured my attention. At about age six my grandfather, Edmund Lowe, decided it was time to start my business education by telling me all about overhead. A chemist by profession, he founded a chemical manufacturing company during the Great Depression. It was hard at first, but the company flourished once the war effort started. The lesson for me in his oft-told tale was to “always start a company when times are bad.” There’s no better way to learn how to run it well. Even now, his lessons influence decisions about company purpose, operating philosophy, efficiency, and culture.
When we started 451 in 2004, AJ and I had a clear vision to create something better than the companies we came from. We had a shared drive to always use the best and most promising new tools and techniques available while grounding them in real knowledge and proven fundamentals. It’s a drive that’s successful in business, but also in just about anything. I climb mountains too. A lot of them. I do it with a foundation of knowledge and instinct that comes only from experience and wisdom that has been passed down and practiced, but when I’m hanging off the side of a cliff you can be sure I use the most modern technology available to do it.
I also take my health seriously, the health of my wife and children and the health of just about anyone I know. Ask them. After losing my father to cancer far too early, it would be foolish not to. It drives me to run long distances. It drives me to eat well. It’s also what drives me to work with companies that promise innovation in healthcare and radical new approaches to curing diseases. It makes me feel at home among people who share that mission. Ask just about anybody in the life science industry and you’ll find they have a similar story.
Of course, we all have our vices. Wine is mine and I learned it young. While my grandfather may have approved from a chemical standpoint, it was my parents who taught me an appreciation and passion for it. Stop by the office on a Friday afternoon some time. You might walk into an unexpected Syrah tasting.