The Sanfilippo file Featured

11:17am EDT February 24, 2005
The Sanfilippo file

Born: Aug. 30, l949; Racine Wisc.

Education: Bachelor's and master's degrees in physics, University of Pennsylvania; M.D. and Ph.D. in immunology through Duke University's Medical Scientist Training Program

First job: In 1979, completed an internship and residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at Duke, then joined the faculty

Career moves: Served as the Baxley Professor, pathologist-in-chief, and chairman of the Johns Hopkins University Department of Pathology; appointed senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health at The Ohio State University and CEO of the OSU Medical Center in 2000

Boards: Boards of trustees of The Ohio State University Hospitals, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Columbus Children's Hospital, Omeris (formerly Edison Biotechnology Center, Inc.) and Scitech (Science and Technology Campus Corp.); Managed Health Care Systems Inc., board president and CEO; Columbus Technology Leadership Council, life sciences strategy committee, co-chair; Exeter Life Sciences Inc., board of directors; Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Regional Economic Leadership Group, life sciences, strategy committee, co-chair; Reservoir Venture Partners, advisory board; Battelle Healthcare Products, advisory board; Health Markers LLC, consultant; The Columbus Partnership, board of directors.

What was your greatest challenge in business, and how did you overcome it?

In thinking about my time at Ohio State, I would say the biggest challenge was the financing of the new Biomedical Research Tower and discovering that the expected state funding had disappeared with the fall 2000 budget crunch. This required us to look at a different business model and think outside the box.

This was a key strategic initiative for the medical center and the university, so it was critical to find a solution, which we did by using a funding process common among private universities for research buildings but never before used at OSU. I'm happy to say that with support from the administration and the trustees, the business plan was developed, approved, and the BRT is under construction as the largest research building at OSU, with an estimated opening in late 2006.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?

Since my business world is academia, I would have to say Terry Sanford, who was president of Duke University for many of the years I was there, and former governor of North Carolina. His vision for the Research Triangle Park and his ability to make that a reality sets him apart as a true leader. In my opinion, his leadership was based on vision, communication and a strong belief in teamwork.

What is the greatest lesson you've learned in business?

Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Whether you're thinking about a patient, student, faculty member, legislator, potential collaborator or partner, it's important to understand their interests, perspective and reality. Likewise, I believe that you win with people, the teams they form and the partners they make.

In my experience, the best collaborations, the best ideas and the most successful organizations know that when it comes right down to it, it's all about people and relationships.