4 Minutes with…Bryan Tracy, CEO of White Dog Labs

February 13, 2018 |

Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

White Dog Labs is a biotechnology company founded upon biological diversity, synthetic biology and bio-process development. Using proprietary approaches, we develop market solutions to global challenges by harnessing Clostridia. These unique organisms are being applied to address food sustainability, animal and human health, and climate change.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

As CEO, I am focused on strengthening existing partnerships, building new strategic relationships, delivering upon commercial timelines that are in sync with our technical milestones, managing company image, engaging policy decision makers, executing upon the interest of the board and shareholders, and ultimately providing a return upon investment into White Dog Labs. Over the next 12 months I am particularly focused on strengthening existing partnerships, notably by meeting commercial timelines and technical milestones as we advance several innovative products for animal and human nutrition and health.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?   

1. Intro and/or expansion of new platform biochems that deliver on performance and economics compared to incumbents

2. Disciplined investments into many companies as opposed to huge investments into few with yet proven return

3. Shift towards more oxidized building block chemicals

4. Bolt-on CapEx strategies that leverage the US ethanol industry

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change? 

Huge investments into few with yet proven return, as opposed to diversified, disciplined investments into many that show clearer return provided modest investment.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?   

Opportunity to innovate in very mature industries.

Where are you from?

For lack of better words, I got around. El Paso –> Austin –> DC –> Tacoma –> Spartanburg, SC –> New Orleans –> Raleigh –> Chicago –> Delaware

What was your subject focus (e.g. major) in university (undergraduate and/or graduate, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; – Tulane University (undergrad) – NCSU (undergrad) – Northwestern (graduate). Tulane for culture, NCSU for biotech and connections to industry and Northwestern for a specific PhD thesis focus

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?  

Ray Miller – Past biz dev head at DuPont in biobased chemicals and CBO at Verdezyne – he taught me how to understand what companies do what in this industry, and how to navigate communications to get to decision makers as quickly as possible

Sass Somekh – Chairman of WDL, past EVP of Applied Materials, Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame and SEMI lifetime achievement award – he has taught me how to move fast, position a company, do product development correctly, manage in general, and recognize that you can hugely impact the world

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?   

Bioeconomy is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s always a period of adversity, but once a year you can sit back and recognize that you actually have moved the ball forward quite a bit. It’s those that can only sprint or succumb to that adversity.

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?   

Being a dad and a husband, volunteering my heart out, running, hiking, cycling and mentoring others.

What books or articles (excluding The Digest) are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?   

A lot. I’ll come back to this.

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?  

Oak Island, NC. Nice beach, but it’s all about family. Huge annual family reunion.

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Category: Million Minds

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