I joined Alcor in 1986, I couldn’t know that I would eventually take on
the role of President & CEO. When I accepted that role, I was
concerned that I wouldn’t last long. The average tenure at that time was
2.6 years and, for the most recent six presidents, it averaged 1 year
3.25 months. When I stepped down on Friday May 14, of this year, I had
served for 9 years, 4.5 months (or, as I like to think of it: 3,425
change and organizational needs change. New people with new skills step
up. Alcor has been transitioning from the almost all-volunteer
organization of the 1970s and 1980s to the desperately underpaid
organization of the 1990s and early 21
century to an increasingly professional non-profit. The complexity of
Alcor’s operations – remarkably but necessarily high for an organization
of this size – calls for highly-trained and qualified personnel.
I was taken on as President at the end of 2010, I came aboard with
modest experience managing non-profits, over a decade of studying
numerous aspects of business, and a pretty good understanding of Alcor’s
functions. With the support of staff and board, I managed to initiate
or shepherd through advances in many areas:
moved a good portion of Alcor’s operating and reserve funds out of
holdings that I saw were being eroded by inflation into investments
designed to generate a reasonable return over the medium term. In 2016,
for instance, this generated earnings of $102,649. Among other financial
changes, I raised almost six million dollars in donations, and brought
about cost savings in electricity, liquid nitrogen, and other areas;
increased the financial allowance for members to relocate to Scottsdale
if they are terminal; introduced alternative funding options and
long-term member discounts, and reductions in membership dues; and moved
the budget from in the red to in the black.
still feel enthusiastic about talking to the media and the public about
cryonics, even after doing so hundreds of times. I have done numerous
television, newspaper, magazine, podcast, and book interviews; greatly
improved the appearance of the Patient Care Bay and the inside of the
building; created and developed the Alcor YouTube channel; introduced
attorneys, financial planners, and others to Alcor through special
tours; improved relations with medical institutions; and led the last
round of major upgrades to Alcor’s website.
Over the last decade, I have also:
- Overseen and participated in dozens of cryopreservations.
- Fostered a culture that looks for ways to improve rather than being overly attached to past practices and equipment.
- Reintroduced the SCCD (for circulating ice bath water to accelerate cooling).
- Facilitated new research, such as the c. elegans work, the brain-only initiative, the CT scanning project, and many internal technical improvements.
(with limited success) to upgrade our IT infrastructure, including
adoption of a CRM (Salesforce), better group collaboration forums, new
timecard system, and online/cloud-based accounting. Achieved backup of
patient and member files to the cloud.
- Pushed to generate SOPs and to have new people trained as backup for some core positions.
- Introduced additional surgeons to our on-call list.
- Improved international response capabilities.
for adoption of better guidelines for optimal temperature for
transitioning from cardiopulmonary support to surgery and perfusion.
- Chaired two successful conferences.
- Improved security.
Alcor keeps growing and becoming ever more complex, the time has come
for someone with more managerial and executive experience to take over
as CEO. I will still be active in full-time, but I’m relieved to say
that we have an excellent person to take over the CEO duties in Patrick
Harris. Patrick’s experience in large companies – and his own focused
and determined personality – has equipped him with the knowledge and
practical skills to lead and develop team, plan tactically and
strategically, and execute efficiently on the other roles that form the
chief executive position.
won’t be going anywhere. My new role comes with the rather grand title
of “Ambassador and President Emeritus”. This describes my new role:
Ambassador and President Emeritus will report directly to the Alcor
Board of Directors, using his long experience and involvement in
cryonics, many contacts, institutional knowledge and decade of
experience as Alcor’s President and CEO, in fulfillment of the following
in strategic thinking, planning, and marketing by both board assignment
and independent initiative, communicating with the board and CEO. This
includes identification of individuals and organizations with whom
strategic alliances and involvement may be beneficial. Participate in
fundraising in coordination with the Fundraising Committee.
- Serve on the Deployment Committee per board appointment according to terms of the Deployment Policy.
in public communications on behalf of Alcor, including lectures,
interviews, facility tours, and networking, in coordination with other
staff as appropriate. Participate in conference planning.
- Write for Alcor News, Alcor’s Facebook page, Cryonics magazine, and the Alcor website in coordination with the editors of these publications. Serve on the Editorial Board of Cryonics
magazine. Make contributions to the organization’s internal wiki to
document procedures and policies. Participate in a new round of website
the direction of the Medical Response Director assist with case
logistics planning as needed during deployments, assist in the facility
as may be needed during cryopreservations, and monitor facility
procedures and adherence to SOPs.
Research Committee discussions and votes as may be required. Report to
the board at least quarterly or as requested on activities of the
Research Committee including progress and status of funded projects, and
balance of Research Fund relative to commitments.
- Participate in organization legal affairs as required.
- Participate in board meetings and email deliberations along with other senior staff.
- Monitor the health of the organization on an ongoing basis with minimal imposition
I look forward to serving the organization for another ten years.
Ambassador & President Emeritus