Jack Glaser, president and founder of MBF Bioscience was named the 2007 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year by the US Small Business Administration. Glaser founded MicroBrightField (renamed MBF Bioscience in 2006) with his father, Dr. Edmund M. Glaser in 1987. Their goal was to develop powerful yet affordable neuroanatomical imaging software for the global research community.
Today, MBF software is used by over 1000 researchers around the world. Neurolucida has become the gold standard in neuroanatomical software. Stereo Investigator has become the most widely used software for stereology. As president of MBF Bioscience, Glaser has grown the company from a desk in his bedroom to a successful Vermont-based multinational company. The business occupies a headquarters office in Williston, VT with satellite sales offices in Europe and Asia. MBF has a dedicated and talented staff, including experts in biological research and software development.
We sat down with Jack Glaser to chat about the Small Business Person of the Year award, which is given to a business person based on criteria including innovation, response to business adversity, and commitment
to the community by the nominee and the employees. Since starting out in a room in his house, with Jack as the sole employee, MBF Bioscience has grown to employ 27 professionals in Williston, Vermont, and in Europe, Malaysia, and Japan. MBF Bioscience develops, markets, and supports Neurolucida, Stereo Investigator, Neuroinfo, AutoNeuron, and Lucivid.
What do you think made you and MBF successful?
From the beginning, we focussed on delivering a solution that our customers wanted and needed. We also continue to provide great customer service, which is very important in our market. Having excellent employees has also been very important for our success. Many of our employees have worked at MBF for a long time—longer than most high-tech companies. Also, Vermont offers a great quality of life for anyone. It attracts the type of people who care a bit more for the things in life that go along with our core values of treating people with respect as individuals and not as objects. These qualities are evident in the people at MBF.
Can you say something about receiving the award?
It is very gratifying to be recognized for all of MBF’s hard work and effort over the past twenty years. Our company is dedicated to helping researchers in their pursuit of understanding how the brain functions. We are most proud that the results of our customer’s research are of benefit to everyone—leading to more fulfilling and healthy lives. It’s rewarding to be recognized for doing the right things for our employees and customers.
Most new businesses don’t succeed past the first year or so. They seem to struggle without a real aim. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Simply, find a solution that you want to provide to customers. Focus on it and refine it, and then go out and market it. Do what it takes to support your customers. Making a useful product is only part of the equation. You also need to provide good technical support and training. Focus on the customer and their needs, and you have a better chance of success.
The SBA award is a prestigious honor. What does it mean to you and to MBF?
It’s great recognition to receive such a prestigious award from a wellrespected government agency for everyone at MBF’s hard work over these last 20 years. For me, it’s recognition that instead of doing the typical “Same old business thing,” I’m doing the right thing—providing the employees with the best I can, such as a great package of benefits and a collaborative, team environment. For our customers, it should provide confidence that MBF is a company that has been awarded for innovation and integrity.
Give us a glimpse of the future for MBF.
Well, I think you can expect to see expanded product offerings. We will try and leverage the proficiencies we have into other areas of biologic research. Many of our newest ideas come from talking with our customers about problems they’re trying to solve and what they’re investigating. We look forward to continued growth in Vermont and around the world.
First published in The Scope, summer 2007.
Read Vermontbiz.com‘s article on Jack’s Vermont Small Business Person of the Year award.