In this issue of Insights, we talk with Dr. Jane Griffin, who recently retired from Insyte’s board of directors after 30 years. Dr. Griffin is a local leader in scientific research, having served as Principal Research Scientist at Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute. Her awards and honors are numerous, and her record of public service is astounding. We asked Dr. Griffin to reflect on her years as a board member of Insyte Consulting, and share her views on Western New York’s manufacturing industry today.
Congratulations on your retirement. How are you spending your time so far?
I have a number of activities that I have been involved in for many years—the Women’s TAP Fund that raises money for WNY women running for public office; the WNY Women’s Foundation, that aims to improve the lives of women and girls in WNY by helping them become self-sufficient through education and advocating for family leave, affordable child care and more; and the Women’s Group, a networking organization for professional women. I am enjoying more time to read the newspapers, do crossword and Sudoku puzzles, read for information and pleasure, and have lunch with friends.
Can you go back and tell us about how your career started, and how you came to join the board at Insyte Consulting?
I graduated from college with a B.A. in chemistry, then I married and had children. Ten years later I went back to school and got my Ph.D. in chemistry, specializing in an area called X-ray crystallography; Buffalo was and is a center of research in that area. When I graduated in 1974 I was hired at Hauptman-Woodward, then known as the Medical Foundation of Buffalo. The Institute was headed at that time by Herbert Hauptman, who became a Nobel Laureate in 1985. I remained there until I retired last July. A partner of my husband was involved with the Western New York Technology Development Center, and he suggested my name as a candidate for the board. That organization later became Insyte.
What was the feeling about area manufacturing at that time?
Well, I was rather excited to be on the WNYTDC board because I thought the mission was a very good one: bringing the scientific research and technical advances made in our universities and colleges to the marketplace. Manufacturing was not the focus when I first joined the board. But then it morphed into the manufacturing sector and that became its major focus. And I felt that was a very good mission. We have many small manufacturers in Buffalo and a lot of them are family-owned businesses. Unfortunately, we have seen many of them sold and relocated out of the area. But the manufacturers that remain are a fertile area for Insyte to aid in the modernization and increased efficiency and productivity of their facilities.
Can you share some of Insyte’s successes during your time on the board?
One of the best parts of being on the board is having the manufacturers come in and tell the board how their company has been helped by Insyte. Boston Valley Terra Cotta is a great story. Insyte helped them solve some specific problems in their manufacturing process and also aided them in moving into new product development. Another success was helping a company redo its entire computer system in an efficient and trouble-free transition. I have to say, the organization has been blessed with great leadership. Former president Bob Martin was an outstanding leader, and Ben Rand has been a fine successor. Equally important, they have a very competent and loyal staff. I have thoroughly enjoyed my service on the board.
Visit our homepage to watch a video about our work with Boston Valley Terra Cotta.