Interview: Steven Kubisen, GW Technology Commercialization Office

What motivates you the most for your work?

“Having an impact on the world.  Working to get promising early-stage technologies out of the lab and into the market to benefit society and the economy.”

Steve Kubisen is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, corporate executive, and university technology commercialization executive.  He started his career in research and then moved to research management and general management for Union Carbide, Akzo, GE, and Alcoa.  As an entrepreneur, Steve has been CEO of startup ventures in the manufacturing and medical device sectors and has served on boards of startups in many sectors. Steve’s passion for commercializing early technologies and growing entrepreneurial communities led him to university technology commercialization operations at Utah State University, Johns Hopkins University and currently George Washington University.  At each institution, the focus on commercializing university technology through startup formation moved each to the top of the national rankings. In 2008, Hopkins achieved the strongest startup portfolio in the nation with 12 startups and $76M in venture capital funding. At George Washington University, inventions disclosures have doubled and licensing income has increased over 25-fold over the last 3 years.
Over his career, Steve has commercialized over 300 new products/services and help launch over 30 technology-based ventures.  He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, active in the regional entrepreneur community and a frequent invited speaker globally on technology commercialization.   Steve has an A.B. in chemistry from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University.

Steven Kubisen will be a speaker at the Washington D.C event

Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?  
Steven: At Utah State University, where we were using 3D printing to construct unique metal alloys for joint implants. Since I had worked at Alcoa I understood the limitations on alloy compositions with the standard fabrication techniques and saw 3D printing of metals as a brand new metallurgy fabrication technology.
Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work?
Steven: Having an impact on the world.  Working to get promising early-stage technologies out of the lab and into the market to benefit society and the economy.
Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?
Steven: Biggest obstacles are lack of understanding of researchers on the needs, timing, risks of commercializing early-stage technologies.  Need to educate researchers on the process and help connect them with business entrepreneurs and companies that we can partner with to commercialize technologies.
Jenny: What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?  
Steven: Biggest challenges in 3D printing is if it can scale economically and really has a competitive advantage over standard manufacturing techniques.  In bio-printing, the biggest challenge is to get the right materials that can be incorporated into biological systems.
Jenny: If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be?  
Steven: World understanding and peace, sustainable economies, fulfilling lives
Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?
Steven: Pursue your dreams.  Know when to listen to advice and when to ignore it.
Jenny: If you could have a giant billboard to promote a message to millions and even billions of people in our community (i.e. healthcare 3D printing and bio-fabrication), what message would that be?
Steven: Do something small right and then scale.
Jenny: What was/is the biggest risk you took in your career?  
Steven: Taking the first general management job at GE. Biggest risk turned into the biggest impact.
Jenny: What do you enjoy in your spare time? What are you passionate about outside of your work/3d printing?  
Steven: I’m a “car guy”. Love to autocross (race). The challenge and speed are inspiring.
Jenny: What is your favorite quote? Why?  
Steven: Lead, follow or get out of the way.  Good advice on leadership.
Jenny: What does the word “3DHEALS” mean to you?  =)
Steven: 3D printing can help people.