What a year it has been…We started by wishing everyone a year of vision: 20/20 is perfect sight, technically speaking. As it turns out, perhaps this wasn’t referring to a year of vision in terms of individual and collective achievements, but of vision for solutions and a new perspective in a new era forming before our eyes.
At Akron, we started 2020 strong, building up the commercial team and preparing to release a strong portfolio of new products. We were enthusiastic about the year to come, and the team’s energy could be felt pulsing throughout the organization.
Then March came along, and we faced an uncertain and frightening future. It took all of us by surprise. Initially, it created confusion. From how we grocery shop to how we travel to how we socialize, the world suddenly shrank. Once the initial shock subsided, we became proactive. The workplace transformation began – testing, masks, and re-imagining the workplace to ensure the safety of our employees, our families, and our communities. Our customers sought reassurance that our supply chain and manufacturing operations were secure. We worked hard to minimize disruption and continue delivering as we always have.
We became masters in digital collaboration and experts in Zoom and Teams—through technology, we became more collaborative than ever, and brought some levity into these difficult times as well. We met each others’ barking dogs, watched kids running around, and saw slivers of the real world through our fake backgrounds. We laughed and connected on a different level. We understood each other better. At our facilities, caring for each other took on a new meaning. Our choices outside the office had real implications in the office. Through trust and transparency, we have operated safely through the most difficult of times. The shock wore off, and we adapted to our new lives in Q2.
Conferences and audits were held virtually, and we continued to share knowledge and frustrations as time passed with no sign of relief. But at one point, either because we know best or because history repeats itself, we started to accept that this situation would not last forever. We looked inside and dug for what we had to contribute to the global community in dire need of new solutions. We expanded our team and invested heavily in a new manufacturing facility to prepare ourselves for the future. We offered our products to enable COVID-19 treatments. In Q3 and Q4, we adapted and, indeed, grew.
Through it all, we have strengthened our team, nurtured incredible partnerships, on-boarded a new facility, developed new products and built new capabilities. With our bodies grounded, we let our minds expand in new ways. We have used this difficult year to grow and strengthen our role in this vibrant community. We have sought to do our part to keep these new and transformative therapies moving forward, because the patients and families we support need these therapies more than ever.
2020 forced us to see the world and the future in new ways. Amidst the losses and the immeasurable hurt that our friends, families, and colleagues have experienced this past year, we have found ways to work together, to keep moving new therapies forward, and to foster a stronger community, ready to tackle challenges collectively well beyond the end of this pandemic. Let 2021 be the year we solve the biggest challenge the global community has faced in recent memory, and continue the work of transforming medicine through insight and innovation.
Wishing you a happy and healthy year ahead. We hope to see you just around the corner, reconnecting on a whole new level when we do. More human, more integrated, and more creative than ever.
All my best,