At Inscripta our customers, both current and future, are everything. It takes the right combination of technical expertise and people skills to be a member of a commercial team that partners with scientists to advance their research with disruptive technologies like the Onyx®. Today our spotlight focuses on Alex Hutcheson, our Vice President of Sales for North America. He earned his degree in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley and still resides on the US west coast.
What is your role at Inscripta?
I lead the North American sales and field application specialist teams.
What led you to this type of role?
I’ve been in a sales role in life science technologies for over 20 years. The things that have been most rewarding in my career have been to build teams and drive business into new markets starting with an early, disruptive technology. I’ve been through it a couple of times and it’s really hard work but when it’s over you realize it’s really fun. I also love being able to help my team be successful, seeing others succeed and helping them advance their careers is what brought me into more of a leadership role.
What motivates you?
Knowing that big things are possible, and each day is a step toward achieving the larger goal. I love this about Inscripta—I know this company CAN be something big, and I’m motivated daily with every small accomplishment toward getting us there.
Why did you decide to join Inscripta?
Adding to the previous question, Inscripta really matched the profile of what I’ve enjoyed in my career: a great technology, new and on the leading edge, and the opportunity to build a team and drive into new markets.
How did you end up in the genome engineering field?
My education was in molecular biology, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it when I graduated so I joined a small start-up company to try and wear a number of different hats. That’s where my enjoyment of early-stage, disruptive technologies started. I was managing a lab at first where I bought a liquid handling robot and got to know the salesperson, I bought it from which brought me into equipment sales. The first product I sold was actually a DNA sequencer. I also had some DNA sequencing experience in Gerry Rubin’s lab working on the Drosophila genome project while I was in school, all of which brought me into genomics. Most of my career has been reading DNA which made moving into a role involved in writing DNA a natural transition. It was familiar but also new so I am able to meet new customers, get involved in new applications and new science while using all of the experience I’ve had in genomics over my career.
If you could use genome engineering to address any challenge, what would you choose?
I find it fascinating that we can actually manufacture materials sustainably that are in limited supply or detrimental to the environment to make. So for me, sustainable manufacturing and finding ways to make things that are ultimately friendly for the planet is the most exciting part.
What’s the best career advice you have to share?
It would have to be to find a mentor or mentors. That’s done a world of good for me in my career. If you can find someone that you can learn from and also mentor others, there are very few things more valuable than that.
What did you do as a kid that you wish you could do more as an adult?
Live day by day. Just enjoy what you’re doing and live in the present. It seems as an adult you lose the ability to do that sometimes because you’re always worried about what’s next and all the what-ifs.
What’s your favorite vacation?
Anything remote. I like to get out in nature and away from the internet, TVs, and cell phones. One example that my family and I have enjoyed is vacationing in a cabin in Deschutes National Forest. It’s a special experience to unplug with the family.
If you could choose anyone as a mentor, who would it be and why?
I’m not sure how to answer that as I do have very good mentors, both personally and professionally. My father is a great mentor that I have, but if I could offer a less serious answer about a mentor I would LIKE to have…I’d have to go with Jimmy Buffett. I think he’s got it all figured out.
What is a hobby you enjoy in your free time?
I have a lot of them but more recently I’ve renewed my interest in playing tennis which I really enjoy.
What was your first job?
Mopping floors at a grocery store. It wasn’t glamorous but you need to have a couple of those jobs so you appreciate when you have a good one.