"You could say the entrepreneurial spirit has always been in my blood. Growing up, my father owned his own car repair shop. I enjoyed watching him grow his business from nothing, and knew I wanted to do the same thing someday," says Ellis.
Growing a business from the ground up is exactly what Lorraine Ellis '93 MBA, founder, president and chief executive officer of Research Dynamics Consulting Group, Ltd. has accomplished. Founded in 1993, Research Dynamics employs over thirty consultants around the country, and has been named to the Rochester Top 100 list many times, a list compiled annually by the Rochester Business Alliance ranking the top 100 privately held, Rochester-area companies on revenue growth over a three year period.
Research Dynamics Consulting Group, Ltd. specializes in providing clinical research development support services to firms in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to improve productivity, quality, and cost-effectiveness in their clinical research operations.
Ellis began her career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1975, and has worked for companies including Revlon Health Care and Fisons Plc. It was in 1988 when Fisons, a Boston, MA based pharmaceutical company, bought Pennwalt Corporation, a Rochester-area pharmaceutical company that Ellis made her move to upstate NY.
"As Director of Clinical Operations, I was charged with creating a Rochester office from scratch. I hired twenty people in six months - all while commuting to and from Boston. It was a hectic time in my life!" recalls Ellis.
After getting the office up and running, Ellis made the decision to return to school to earn her MBA. "I chose RIT because I found its curriculum to be very practical. The case studies we reviewed were extremely valuable. I was able to apply what I was learning at school to my work immediately."
Upon completion of her MBA in 1993 Ellis knew it was time to start her own business. "With the skills I learned while earning my MBA, and with my experience in the pharmaceutical industry, I was confident I would be successful with my own business venture."
It wasn't long before Research Dynamics was growing quickly.
"The biggest challenge was managing our growth. It can very be difficult to coordinate new sales and the particular staffing requirements needed to service those contracts. Everything has to come together at the right time and in the right place," says Ellis.
Receiving the Realizing Business Potential Award, given as part of the Ernst & Young Upstate New York Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Program, is a testament to Ellis's ability to overcome such challenges.
"If there's one piece of advice I would give to budding entrepreneurs, it's that to be successful you must be clear with your goals and pursue them despite all obstacles."