“5 Questions With……” is a weekly BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people in the BioHealth Capital Region to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. This edition features 5 Questions with Jacob Greenwood is the Director of Business Development in CRB’s Maryland office.
Jacob Greenwood is the Director of Business Development in CRB’s Maryland office. Born and raised in Northeast Baltimore City, he is a life-long Marylander devoted to seeing his state prosper. He earned a BA in Biology in 2008 from Goucher College and has spent the last 12 years working in the Life Sciences industry. During that time, he has transitioned from the benchtop to the sales office. He is passionate about networking and is doing his part to improve the BioHealth Capital Region’s ecosystem.
1. What was your first job/role in the biotech/pharma/life-sciences industry? Tell us about it. (How you ended up there. About the role and company).
After graduating from Goucher College with a bachelor’s in Biology, I couldn’t find a job! I was not interested in pursuing a further degree in research and I really wasn’t sure what type of jobs were available. I just knew that I did not want to continue selling windows door-to-door. Lucky for me, my dad, a home inspector, was inspecting a house for an HR representative at SoBran Bioscience. They got to talking and I was told to give SoBran a call the next day.
My first role in the Life Science industry was working in the cagewash of an NIH animal research facility. SoBran is a government contractor that specializes in staffing and managing animal research programs and I was hired by them to be a “floater”. Floater’s were taught various roles in the animal care facility so they could be moved around to fill positions on various NIH contracts as needed. I worked for SoBran from 2008 to 2019 working my way up the management chain to a Program Manager and then finishing my career there as Business Development Manager.
2. Tell us about your current role and company/org? (highlight what the company is working on, maybe career opportunities there, location, history)
In the summer of 2019, I was approached about an opportunity to join CRB. Ben Skowronski was moving into the Office Leader position for CRB’s Maryland operations and I was brought in to back-fill his previous role as the Director of Business Development for the Maryland Office. CRB is an Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Consulting firm that focuses on the Life Science and Advanced Technology industries. With 19 offices and over 1,200 employees, we are fortunate enough to work with many of the leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the world. We established our Rockville, MD office in 2014 and chose this location because we could see that the BioHealth Capital Region was poised for healthy, long-term growth. That decision turned out to be a great one and has allowed us to design and build some of the premier manufacturing facilities in the area, including the Catalent/Paragon BWI Expansion Building and the Emergent Biosolutions Bayview expansion in 2017. This facility was specifically designed with the flexibility to pivot during a pandemic response like we are seeing with COVID-19 today.
3. What is something about CRB that most people in biotech don’t know?
CRB has a corporate-wide initiative to support the Ronald McDonald House Charity. All CRB employees are encouraged to volunteer time and donate money to the charity if they feel inclined. The mission of RMHC is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families. That mission is right in line with why CRBers come to work every day in the Life Sciences, to play our part in the improvement of patients’ lives. CRB employees have volunteered over 7,000 hours at the Ronald McDonald House and we are excited that this number continues to grow in the current climate.
4. How are you and CRB navigating the COVID-19 to continue being productive for yourselves and your clients?
From an internal standpoint, we are focused on keeping our employees safe, healthy, productive, and of course, employed! While a lot of companies and individuals have suffered since March, we have been fortunate enough to grow our staff during that time. We have taken a cautious approach to re-opening offices and our architectural team has been working hard to research, develop, and implement the best features for our new socially distant working environment.
We have not missed a beat in staying productive for our clients. Well prior to COVID-19, CRB had put a lot of resources into our technological capabilities for both our design and construction teams. However, while many of us can design state of the art facilities from our kid’s playroom or the dining room table, we still haven’t figured out how to construct the facilities from home. I was really proud to see how quickly our team was able to implement the changes needed to keep our staff and our subcontractors safe on job sites without sacrificing quality.
For me personally there have been challenges to working in quarantine. As anyone who follows my #WannaGoWednesday video series on LinkedIn knows, I LOVE attending networking events. I believe strongly in the value of face-to-face conversations when building new relationships. While I have spent my entire career in the Maryland Life Sciences industry, there is a never-ending list of new people to meet and new friends to make!
5. What is the more interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week, and what makes it so interesting?
The most interesting thing I read this week was an interview with Rayssa Leal. Most people will not know who that is, but she is one of the best female skateboarders in the world… and she is only TWELVE. I started skateboarding when I was twelve and it has been a huge part of my life. It was rare to see a girl skateboarding at all back then, but that has been changing for the better over the last ten years. Rayssa has been in the spotlight for years now and she just continues to get better and better. For someone with two daughters, it’s fun to watch Rayssa excel in a male-heavy sport, especially at such a young age. Keep an eye out for her in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, where skateboarding will be an Olympic sport for the first time in history.
Thank you to Jacob Greenwood for participating in the ‘5 Questions with BioBuzz’ series and stay tuned for more interviews with others from across the BioHealth Capital Region.
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Andy has worked with BioBuzz for the last decade to help spread the word of the BioHealth Capital Region even before it was branded with that name. His background includes years at MedImmune supporting the Commercial Operations Organization before becoming a BioHealth Nomad working with various clients in Operations, Communications and Strategic Services.