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James Baumgardt at Ventures: Desire Success; Take Risks

June 14, 2011

Rose-Hulman Ventures' Summer Speakers Series started with the person for whom the series has been named, life sciences entrepreneur James Baumgardt.  The honor recognizes the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology alumnus for his career contributions and support of his alma mater.

 Baumgardt       
Life Sciences Leader: Rose-Hulman Ventures' Summer Speakers series is named for James R. Baumgardt, a Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology alumnus who has had several success stories in life sciences enterprises.
 
 

Baumgardt is the chairman of the board for the NICO Corporation, director of Neochord Inc. and a partner of Twilight Ventures, an Indiana-based life science venture capital enterprise.  He is the former executive director of business development at Eli Lilly and Company, served as president of the Guidant Foundation, was president of Guidant Sales Corporation, is the former director of Laserscope and helped co-found Suros Surgical Systems.

A 1970 chemical engineering alumnus, Baumgardt is also an emeritus member of the Rose-Hulman Board of Trustees and former chairman of the trustees' Rose-Hulman Ventures Affairs Committee.  He received an honorary doctorate in engineering from Rose-Hulman in 2010, and serves on the advisory boards of Butler University's School of Business and Purdue University's School of Biomedical Engineering.

At Rose-Hulman Ventures (RHV), undergraduate students gain invaluable experience in developing products for the marketplace. 

"The Ventures organization should be very proud of how they have taken the tremendous education environment at Rose Hulman and created an organization that can target that learning into creating value in seed stage technology development," Baumgardt said. "Rose-Hulman is a true leader in giving that training to students at the undergraduate level." 

Located at Rose-Hulman's South Campus, RHV takes educational hands-on projects to a whole new dimension.  It produces solutions to industrial technology challenges, keeps intellectual property with the client and maintains confidentiality. 

"You are the D in R & D," Baumgardt told RHV student interns attending the presentation.  He went on to point out that institutions operating under research grants tend to hold on to products and projects way too long.  From a company's perspective this can actually be a disadvantage of graduate research.

This is the advantage of RHV, with its ability to bring lucrative products to market quickly, Baumgardt said.  Making his case, Baumgardt emphasized, "We're all going to be replaced in 36 months."

RHV, Baumgardt continued, allows a company investing in development to "find out if it's not going to get paid, and move on."

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  Learning Lunch: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students serving as summer interns at Rose-Hulman Ventures had the opportunity to exchange ideas and get career advice from James R. Baumgardt, who has had many entrepreneurial success stories in the life science field. 

Baumgardt pointed out two of RHV's success stories.  Students and project managers helped put NICO on the threshold of creating a major advancement in the field of neuro and spinal tumor removal.  The company is developing a device called Myriad, which provides surgeons a minimally invasive method for removing tumor tissue in the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.  The device offers surgeons significantly more control for delicate tissue shaving and drastically reduces surgical procedure times.

Earlier, RHV and Rose-Hulman Ventures and Suros Surgical Systems teamed up to develop the Automated Tissue Excision and Collection (ATEC) breast system, a fully automated, minimally invasive, tissue-removal system.  ATEC has provided physicians with the ability to biopsy and completely excise tissue in one simple step, and making it possible for the procedure to be completed in an office or outpatient setting.

"Rose-Hulman Ventures is doing remarkable things to improve patient care," Baumgardt said.  "I'm very proud of my association with this program and admire the work being done by students and project managers.  Students are getting great experiences at Rose-Hulman Ventures."

In this year's kickoff to the James R. Baumgardt Summer Speakers Series, Baumgardt told the RHV summer interns to be boldly confident in themselves and the education they're receiving at Rose-Hulman as they step into their futures.

"Don't hesitate to think you're good.  If you get out of this place, you are (good)," he said.

Richard Stamper, interim associate dean of professional experiences and professor of mechanical engineering, acknowledged that Baumgardt provides the students, faculty and staff with great insight into business, engineering, management and marketing.

 Ventures       
Rose-Hulman Ventures: Rose-Hulman student gets the opportunity to be in on the ground level of new advancement
 
 

"We're honored to have Jim Baumgardt share his insights and experiences with our student interns at Rose-Hulman Ventures," Stamper stated.  "Jim has demonstrated the ability to create technology driven businesses in the medical devices industry that improve the care that patients receive.  He has much to teach anyone that wants to be innovative and create value in technology based companies.  We're lucky that he is willing to share that with our students.

Other speakers in this summer's series will feature Claudia Fritsche, ambassador of Liechtenstein to the United States, on June 22, and Wes Bolsen, chief marketing officer and vice president of government affairs for Coskata Inc., a biology-based energy company, on July 13.

Fritsche has been Liechtenstein's ambassador since 2000 and also serves as the countries ambassador to the United Nations, a post she has had since 1990.  She began her public career as the personal secretary of Liechtenstein's prime minister, from 1970-78, and entered the diplomatic service in the Office of Foreign Affairs. 

Bolsen, a 2000 electrical engineering alumnus, was voted 57th on Biofuels Digest's "Top 100 People in Bioenergy" and was recently named top Chief Marketing Officer of companies with less than $250 million in revenue in the U.S.  Coskata uses proprietary microorganisms and patented bioreactor designs to produce FlexEthanol, on feedstock flexible ethanol, to fuel energy security, economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Learn more about RHV at www.rhventures.org.