Alumni Profile: David Hadley Busy as Ever
David Hadley (MBS '05) does not lack for work, juggling industry relations for a national biofuels organization while also conducting business development for one of the nation's largest and most important research laboratories.
Multitasking, in fact, is something Hadley knows well, going back to his days at KGI. When he began the Master of Bioscience (MBS) program in 2003, Hadley already had a dozen years of industry experience and academic research, along with a baby he sometimes carried to school (who slept right through the lectures).
"It was an interesting experience being the 'old guy' in class," said the affable 39-year-old, laughing. But, in hindsight, he thinks the fact that he was older proved beneficial for both himself and his fellow—and much younger—classmates.
"I was able to bring my 'real world' experience to the discussion," says Hadley. "And my classmates were a good resource ... they had been doing hard-core mathematics just a year before, and it had been at least a decade since I'd taken an exam!"
"Seriously, though," Hadley adds, "I think we helped each other bridge the gap between business and academia."
Merlene Singleton, KGI's director of alumni relations, says Hadley was "a natural leader of his classmates and highly respected by them. He was selected by his class to speak at Commencement, and since leaving KGI he has continued to be an involved alumnus."
As an undergraduate biology major at the University of Utah, Hadley, a native of Salt Lake City, was first enrolled in the pre-med program, but ultimately decided that wasn't the direction he wanted to pursue. Interested in genomics, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area after graduating, eventually focusing on the field of computational biology. He first learned about KGI while attending a lecture by then-KGI Professor T. Gregory Dewey.
"I thought to myself, 'This sounds awesome...I've got to do it," Hadley said about first learning of the MBS program.
While at KGI he interned with the Pasadena Angels, SomaLogic and Diversa. Following his graduation, Hadley completed an MBA at Claremont Graduate University's Drucker School of Management, then worked for Amylin Pharmaceuticals and the Scripps Research Institute, before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) three years ago.
Los Alamos has long been a premier research facility, best known for contributing to the nation's nuclear weapons program before broadening its efforts to include biotechnology and other important scientific fields.
Today, Hadley is a business development executive at Los Alamos, where he oversees the lab's biology portfolio of close to 1,000 projects, helping companies start up and develop commercial applications of the technologies based on LANL research.
Hadley has put together many deals that have brought in significant revenues for the lab. Most recently, he recruited 14 companies that generated $20 million in business for LANL to work on a $70 million, three-year project to develop alternative fuel for the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB).
The success of the project led to Hadley wearing a second hat—as director of industry relations for NAABB.
A typical day for Hadley might start with a morning teleconference involving NAABB, followed by a discussion with LANL attorneys regarding the licensing of green florescent protein technology for a new startup. By afternoon Hadley has advised researchers about their latest projects, how they can develop them further, the likelihood of patenting their work, and how to make it commercially interesting. Many days include negotiating terms and executing license and sponsored research agreements.
Like his days at KGI, Hadley finds that his maturity and professional experience are valuable assets. "The older I get, the more I see that in this industry there are a lot of different perspectives, and it's important to understand the various positions of the stakeholders and what's important to them," he says.
His experience at KGI helped "formalize" what Hadley already observed in a professional setting. Attending classes covering wide-ranging subjects from regulatory affairs to accounting showed Hadley how important all these perspectives are to a project's success. And while he admits that it's always a challenge to come to a consensus with so many people with so many differing viewpoints, what he learned at KGI has made it that much easier.
"The seemingly fictitious scenarios discussed in the many case studies we covered in KGI's business courses are actually encountered over and over in real life," says Hadley.
Hadley is not only busy at work, but also with his family—wife Cassandra and children, Ethan and Isabel—and his hobbies of telemark skiing, road and mountain biking, fly fishing, and camping.
While Hadley enjoys his current position at Los Alamos, there is still much left on his to-do list. His long-term aspirations include pursuing a law degree and founding a start-up company based on a technology that would benefit society.
"It's not just about the excitement of developing a business or the money, but ultimately having a positive impact as well."
By Carol Sorgen