Dental Tribune USA
Forward Science has nearly 50 full-time employees. (Photo: Forward Science)

Forward Science promotes from within for continued growth

By Dental Tribune USA
April 25, 2019

HOUSTON, Texas, USA: Forward Science is a privately held MedTech company that has experienced steady growth since its founding in 2012. From two founders, Robert J. Whitman and Brian Pikkula, to now almost 50 full-time employees, Forward Science has expanded its need for executives and managers to support the company.

The needed roles at Forward Science were chief financial officer, national sales director and creative director. Being opposed to a standard executive search, the company decided that the right candidates were already on the team and chose to promote from within.

“Why look outside for candidates when you have highly skilled people on your team already?” said CEO Robert J. Whitman. “Many of our team members are looking for the next level opportunity, and we are happy to both support our team and see their continued growth. Forward Science prides itself on not just hiring for experience and titles, but hiring the right people. That is what we did here.”

The chief financial officer role will be filled by current Vice President of Finance Daniel Llerena, who has more than 10 years of experience in public accounting, all of which he worked at Big-4 accounting firms specializing in healthcare. “With his work ethic and experience, it was only a matter of time in which he grew into his new role at Forward Science,” said Brian Pikkula, president and CTO. “Daniel wears many hats at Forward Science, including HR oversight, strategic sales and even joins the engineering team on R&D projects, but his main function is finance and accounting.” Llerena’s financial expertise, along with his almost three years’ experience during Forward Science’s growth years, has prepared him for his first time CFO role, according to the company.

Another key component in Forward Science’s recent growth has been the sales team. Approximately two years ago, Forward Science focused on growing its direct sales team to support its current product OralID, as well as the launch of SalivaMAX. In 2017, Cassie Wilson was hired to spearhead the difficult task of creating a direct sales force for the company. Going from zero direct sales team members to 20 reps and multiple managers in just a few short years, Wilson has established an educational based sales force for Forward Science. Wilson has now been promoted to national sales director and has the initiative of continuing to grow the sales and sales management team to drive the continued Forward Science growth. Whitman shared his feedback as to where he sees the sales team going under Wilson’s leadership: “Cassie has grown and developed the team in the right way, and we look forward to what the future holds for the sales department with her continued success.”

Forward Science has focused on remaining vertically integrated and controlling all aspects of the company in-house. From R&D, quality control, design, manufacturing and engineering to commercialization, sales, distribution and customer service, Forward Science does it all under one roof. One department spans across all of these sectors, and that is the media team led by Bill Burelsmith. “Bill and his team have been busy since the day he began. From recreating every sales and marketing piece, updating verbiage due to FDA regulation, ongoing IT and social media management, Bill’s team has their hands in just about every department,” Whitman said. Burelsmith initially was the entire department, but he now has a growing team that continues to create new media items that help drive sales. Serving as multimedia manager for almost three years, Burelsmith is being promoted to creative director at Forward Science. Pikkula added, “With Bill as the creative director pushing even more media initiatives and goals, there are some great things in the works in the media department.”

Since it was founded in 2012, Whitman and Pikkula have continued to build the team by promoting from within. “It is hard enough to find good people, so when we do, we invest in their growth and development to continue to support the success of Forward Science,” Whitman shared, regarding Forward Science’s recruiting. “The people that helped Forward Science grow from a startup to where we are today deserve the opportunity to continue the advancement of their careers as well. I am a first time CEO at Forward Science, and I am proud to have the opportunity to see other first-time jobs for our team. As Vince Lombardi said, ‘Hire the person, teach the position’ and that is what we are doing at Forward Science.”

(Source: Forward Science)

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