Community Spotlight: Bryan Archambault, Contracts & Project Coordinator
Community Spotlight: In each newsletter, we invite you to learn a little more about your colleagues in the tech transfer community. For this interview, we thought it would be fun to introduce you to one of the Addgene employees (or “Addgenies”) that helps technology transfer professionals, like you, process outgoing and incoming materials on a daily basis.
Bryan Archambault joined Addgene in October of 2012 as a Customer Support Specialist on our Office Team. Now, as the Contracts & Project Coordinator on both our Tech Transfer and Project Teams, he engages in an array of tasks related to Deposit Agreements and Request MTAs, while also helping to coordinate the company’s projects across our various departments.
Addgene (AG) - Why did you decide to work for a nonprofit organization?
Bryan Archambault (BA) - Broadly speaking, no matter where I am or what my actual job responsibilities are, I want to work somewhere that contributes toward making the world a better place. That always needs to be the focal point above anything else, and so a nonprofit naturally seemed like the right fit. So far, so good!
AG - What is a typical day like for you at Addgene?
BA - Being a member of multiple teams means my days can vary depending on the volume and priority of contracts and projects going on at any given time. That being said, a typical day essentially involves helping to process agreements (mostly regarding our deposits), as well as working with Tech Transfer Offices and other stakeholders before, during, and after these contracts are negotiated. When not in my tech transfer role, I’m usually spending time thinking about all the projects that are either underway or planned, as well as working with the various teams involved to figure out how everyone’s resources can be allocated efficiently.
AG - What do you find most rewarding about your job?
BA - Both internal and external factors make this the best job I’ve ever had. Within the company, it’s great to work with such friendly and dedicated people who are all aligned with our mission. While that alone is plenty to make my job worth it, I also never tire of hearing folks outside the company tell us how much the repository makes their vitally important jobs easier.
AG- What coursework, prior jobs, or other experiences do you believe have helped you at Addgene?
BA - One example that stands out is a grassroots community soccer tournament I helped organize during my senior year of college. An annual event put on by my department, it was part of a course to give students hands-on experience with the concepts explored in our more lecture-based classes. Similar to how my time at Addgene has gone, everyone was fully on-board with what we were trying to accomplish, and the event was a success. After some stints at employers where this wasn’t quite the case, it’s been nice to be back in an environment where everyone is motivated toward the same goal.
AG - Do you currently hold any internal Addgene records or accolades?
BA - I started out as a Customer Support Specialist here, and at least as far back as our ticketing software’s records go, I hold the top spot in total support tickets solved. On a more exciting note, I’ve also been a member of two winning teams in our annual Halloween costume contest. Frankly, other teams I’ve been on were robbed of victories as well, but I swear I’m over it!
AG - What is your favorite Addgene memory?
BA - Around the Summer of 2014, a scientist in Baghdad requested a plasmid from us. Suffice it to say, it was quite difficult for UPS to transport packages through Iraq at that time, and so they were understandably worried about whether they would ever be able to receive their order. After the initial package was, according to them, “blocked due to military action,” we offered to reship the plasmid free of charge.
Their response was one of the most heartwarming emails I’ve ever been sent. They were incredibly thankful for our support, calling it “light” within the “darkness” they were experiencing in their country. While it took nearly a year before they felt comfortable with attempting a reshipment, they were eventually able to receive the plasmid and continue that aspect of their research. The whole situation was a supercharged example of our mission, and I will never forget it.
AG - What do you do for fun?
BA - I like hanging out with friends in a mellow setting and talking about basically any topic, listening to music, playing video games, and/or watching movies/TV shows. If I’m by myself, the preceding sentence can be reapplied, save for replacing “talking” about any topic with something like “reading Wikipedia articles.” I never tire of learning new information and thinking critically about it, so as you can clearly see, I’m extremely fun!
AG - What is your favorite tv show, book, or movie and why? Please no spoilers!
BA - It’s always impossible for me to pick a single favorite anything, but for the sake of this answer I will say that my favorite movie is Inherent Vice by Paul Thomas Anderson. Adapted from the Thomas Pynchon novel, it’s about a time and place in American history that is fascinating to me: 1970 in Southern California. The hippie dream was practically dead by that point, and a general sense of confusion and paranoia was in the process of destroying whatever optimism had survived the end of the LBJ years and the beginning of the Nixon era. Anderson did an excellent job depicting this setting in a deeply touching yet comical way (trust me), and I’m finding that the themes involved are increasingly useful for dealing with our, um, current state of world affairs.