Meet THBD’s Own Intern-Turned-Startup-Employee George

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Pictured above: George in the SiMMo3D office located inside the Temple Health & Bioscience District, THBD

It is not every day you run across a go-getter student who takes time to not only bring his passion to work every day, but also his curiosity and thirst for learning to any project he pursues. Even more amazing, this student, our intern, is in high school! Students like our very own intern, George Robinson, are taking our standard for our intern program to the next level.

This week, George graduated from Troy High School and earned his associate degree, all while working at the Temple Health & Bioscience District (THBD). By enrolling alongside other high school students at Temple College’s Texas Bioscience Institute (TBI), George has earned 64 college credit hours and completed all his basic academics, including chemistry and calculus. However, George’s impressive achievements are not limited to solely academic.

Last summer, George joined THBD as a TBI intern and was assigned to work with SiMMo3D, a tenant startup expanding the knowledge of physicians by providing cost-effective training simulators to drive the adoption of emerging biomedical technologies. SiMMo3D develops training simulators for surgeons, which are more practical to acquire and more cost-effective than cadavers. As an intern, George used computer assisted design (CAD) to build a compact board for the apparatus that is used as a training device of a heart procedure.

After completing his poster ceremony, a right of passage most students do not experience until their final years of undergraduate or even graduate study, George realized he was not ready to end his journey with THBD and SiMMo3D. He continued to work with SiMMo3D while completing high school and his associate degree, concepting, designing and rendering the 3D models used for simulation. He has also had the opportunity to attend webinars, learning series events, and THBD’s annual medtech conference and pitch competition.

George says interning and working for THBD has been an “excellent opportunity,” especially for a young student of physics. “Being surrounded by the startup environment allows you to focus on what might be possible,” said George. “Having learned so much about entrepreneurship, I now wouldn’t want to do anything else!”

After graduation, George plans to complete his undergraduate education within two years. His passion for physics has led him to ponder career paths in energy progression, as well as the defense industry. We are sure George will go far, and we hope he will come full circle to rejoin Temple’s growing biotech community!

THBD thanks Wendell Williams for his service

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This spring, the Temple Health and Bioscience District (THBD) bid both congratulations and farewell to one of its esteemed leaders, Wendell C. Williams. In January, Williams stepped down from his seat on the THBD Board of Directors, and on May 4, 2019, he accepted his elected position as City Councilmember representing District 4. Having served THBD since its founding, Williams’ service to the not-for-profit office and lab facility has been instrumental to its success. THBD will be forever grateful for his leadership and inspiration. In his new role, Williams will continue his life-long commitment to the growth and development of Temple, Texas.

As one of THBD’s founding members, Williams was fundamental in the district’s inception. In fact, Williams served as Chairman of the Temple Health and Bioscience Task Force before the district was formally established, and served as the first Chairman on the official Board of Directors. His tenure with THBD has spanned the conception, establishment, and relocation of the district, which now boasts 5,000 square feet of office and laboratory space supporting early stage biotech companies.

In addition to his support and advocacy for THBD, Williams has long been active in the Temple community, also serving as President of the Temple Chamber of Commerce, Founding President of the Temple Business League, Founding Chairman of Leadership Temple, twice serving as Chairman of the Temple Economic Development Corporation and was named both Outstanding Young Man and Outstanding Citizen of the Year in Temple. Additionally, Wendell served on the boards for the Temple Jaycees and the Ralph Wilson Youth Club (which he was active on for more than 40 years!).

At his final THBD board meeting in February, Williams told the remaining board members and Executive Director Tami Annable, “I want to wish you the best of luck, and if there is anything I can do to help this organization, I want to do it.”

Recently retired chairman of Central National Bank (CNB), Williams is a life-long Temple resident. Wendell has been active in the Temple banking community since 1983 and served in various leadership positions with several banking organizations. He has been Chairman of CNB-Temple since June 2000 and oversaw real estate and commercial lending. He and his wife, Carolyn, have four grown children and eight grandchildren.

In his new capacity as city councilmember, Wendell will work with Mayor Tim Davis and the other three council members to formulate public policy to address community needs and assure orderly development in the city. Although Wendell will be dearly missed by the entire THBD community, the staff and leadership remain thankful for his contributions and are eager to see his next steps.

“Wendell’s commitment to helping the people and economy of Temple flourish is relentless,” said Tami Annable. “Although we will miss his presence on our board, his keen insight and decision-making abilities, we know his service on city council will be an asset to our city as a whole.”

Citizens of Temple are invited to attend city council meetings, which are scheduled for the first and third Thursday of each month, at 5:00 p.m. in the Municipal Building. Likewise, citizens of Temple are also invited to attend THBD board meetings, which take place monthly. Visit their website at templebioscience.org to view upcoming dates and to learn more about the office and laboratory facility.

Bioscience board members sworn in

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May 26, 2019
Temple Daily Telegram | Janice Gibbs

Thomas Baird, John Kiella and Gregg Strasburger were sworn in as board members of the Bioscience District board at the Temple Health and Bioscience District May meeting.

Their elections to the board went uncontested earlier in the month.

Dr. Robert Cortes was sworn in as a district board member earlier in the week to complete the term of Wendell Williams, who resigned to run for the District 4 Temple City Council seat, which he won.

Ryan Quinn and Colin Dodson, tenants of the Temple Health and Bioscience District facility, gave a report to the Bioscience board of directors on their recent trip to Minneapolis, which was funded by the district’s Existing Tenant Development Program.

SiMMo3D, Quinn and Dodson’s company, uses 3D printing to make medical models for training.

Quinn and Dodson registered with RQR — Recognize/Quantify/Realize, a commercial viability academy.

RQR brings in companies and looks at their business plans and comes up with ways to improve, expand or make changes to them, if needed, Dodson said.

“The main things we took away was looking at how our product would impact the market, determining an exit strategy, and lastly taking what we had learned that first day and applying it to a big picture,” Quinn said.

Quinn and Dodson met with Dr. Douglas Adler of Boston Scientific and learned more about the device they could train on. Boston Scientific manufactures medical devices used in interventional medical specialties.

Andrew Johnson helped the two with their pricing strategy. Steve Erickson, head of simulation at Boston Scientific was a great sales lead and Jim Reed, quality control with Minnetronix, will be helping with product development down the road, Quinn said.

“It was a great experience,” he said.

They were able to talk to the companies that would be purchasing SiMMo3D products and received helpful feedback, Dodson said.

The Bioscience board approved granting $35,000 in funding to Temple Education Foundation to continue to fund summer internships for Temple Bioscience Institute students at $17,000 as well a $15,000 grant for dual credit scholarships for TBI students. Poster and drug testing costs are $3,000.

The funding includes a stipend for students. Many who would otherwise have to find a summer job that pays, rather than participate in the internships.

Changes in research structures in the local health care and universities resulted in more emphasis on different internship programs, such as math, engineering, environmental and computer science fields.

Local internships this summer will be with the Temple VA, Blackland Research, Temple College Foundation, city of Killeen and USDA.

Groundbreaking held for Amy’s House

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May 17, 2019
Temple Daily Telegram | Janice Gibbs

On Friday, ground was broken on Amy’s House at the corner of Avenue U and South 15th Street.

Amy’s House, a hospitality house for transplant patients and their caregivers, is a TRIO Central Texas, Transplant Recipients International Organization, project. It has been in the works for a number of years.

“This has been a day we have worked toward for five years,” said John Henderson, chairman of TRIO Central Texas board.

After recognizing the many organizations and groups that had a hand in getting the TRIO project off the ground, Henderson mentioned how important it was to work closely with the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple transplant program, to make sure the house being built fits the needs of the transplant patients.

“The goal is to provide affordable housing for transplant patients and their families,” he said.

Most organ transplant patients have to remain close to the medical center following surgery for a period of time for follow-up care and monitoring.
The property where Amy’s House will be built was donated by the city. It’s made up of two or three lots, which leaves room for expansion, Henderson said.

The house will have eight bedrooms, a common living area, a dining room, a laundry room, a state-of-the-art kitchen, a board room and offices.

The members and officers of TRIO decided to name the house after John and Margaret Henderson’s daughter, Amy, who died suddenly six years ago.

“Amy was a multiple organ, tissue and cornea donor at Scott & White,” he said.
Donate Life America, an organization that works to increase donations, has stated a single organ donor can impact 75 people’s lives.

Henderson said he contacted Southwest Transplant Alliance and the groups that handle tissue and cornea donations and learned that his daughter’s donation helped more than 70 individuals.

Dr, Charles Moritz, nephrologist and kidney transplant surgeon at Baylor Scott & White-Temple, said this project is very important to the patients and their families.

“I’m elated this project is going forward,” Moritz said.
The support offered both inside and outside the hospital to transplant patients is important, he said.

It takes a lot of work from a lot of people and organizations to make this happen, Temple Mayor Tim Davis said at the groundbreaking.
The city’s involvement is the donation of this land and improving Avenue U to provide a backbone to run from Baylor Scott & White to Fifth Street, Davis said.

“This is what good city leadership looks like,” he said. “We have been watching this process for the past four or five years.

Seeing the new traffic circle, the bridges and the walking trail is all about good planning and this what cities are supposed to do for its residents, Davis said.

“I applaud the taxpayers of Temple,” he said. “We’re on a huge growth pattern and while we’re concerned about property values and taxable values, we’re concerned with the human value, and that’s what the TRIO house will do.”

Amy’s House is terrific for patients and the transplant program, said MaryEllen Bond, administrator, Solid Organ Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at Baylor Scott & White Health.

“There are so many barriers to care and when someone needs a transplant, they may not have been able to work for awhile they may have financial barriers,” Bond said.

The transplant program scrambles to find housing for its patients and their families following the surgery and sometimes there’s no help for the families.

“This will be a soft place for them to land after transplant,” she said. “We want the transplant patient to succeed and this will help.”