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2022: A year marked by a big move, traditions old and new, and prevailing teamwork

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I always appreciate the opportunity to reflect on the highlights and major themes that defined the past year as we move forward to the next one. 2022 was a seminal year of change and growth for Vector Laboratories, but above all, it was a period defined by teamwork. I couldn’t be more excited to lead us into 2023, and I thank you all for your hard work and commitment to our organization. 

The Big Move 

As many of you may know, a physical move is a big undertaking.  After occupying one location for more than 45 years, imagine the work required of picking up and moving Vector Laboratories to a new space? Under the leadership of Pam James PhD, VP, Product, we accomplished this task in 2022. Pam’s thoughtful planning and implementation helped me to understand that moving a company is not as simple as deciding what to take, what to toss, and what to donate. Even the process of donating items is not easy in today’s environment. So, if you ever happen to need a referral for a non-profit that’s willing to accept koi fish, we have one for you!

Adding to the past year’s challenges, we contended with completing construction of our new site while navigating ongoing construction supply chain issues. It was a true test of patience, but we persevered. And lastly, against the backdrop of Vector Laboratories’ move into a newly constructed building, we succeeded in divesting from Maravai LifeSciences. In 2022, Vector Laboratories became a stand-alone, independent company. We are so grateful for the ongoing partnership with our investors, Thompson Street Capital Partners, and their support throughout this transition.    

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Traditions, New and Old  

In the month of May, we settled into our new facility where we received a warm welcome from the City of Newark. Today, we feel great pride in showing off our new site to candidates, visiting collaborators, and customers. Our company as a whole has enjoyed the opportunity to explore the local area and become more familiar with Newark’s restaurants and businesses. In 2022 we also partnered with three organizations that are active in the local community: the League of Volunteers, Alameda County Community Food Bank, and the Newark Educational Foundation. As a testament to our commitment to the local community, our employees used company-sponsored community service time to participate in the work of these nonprofits, as well as others, to give back to our new business community. 

Our Newark facility really started to feel like home as we enjoyed several celebrations in our new space. My favorite, so far, was the Halloween decorating contest. Our team members brought cheer to the office, with costumes and decorations honoring Harry Potter, Minecraft, Minions, Pokémon, and Mario. These past several weeks, as we entered the year-end holiday season, we resurrected old company traditions like the Thanksgiving feast served by the leadership team, fried turkey included. This month we launched the inaugural pipetting competition – an innovative event that will hopefully serve as a new tradition. I truly enjoy seeing our colleagues come together to celebrate traditions old and new, support one other, and enjoy the community we’ve created at Vector Laboratories.  

Thankful for our Team 

2022 was a year characterized by tremendous competition for talent – something experienced by all industries.  As I reflect on this particular challenge, I honestly believe that we paced ourselves strategically in hiring new employees and are now well positioned as we enter 2023.  It was the discipline to be patient and, more importantly, understand our value proposition as an employer and our organization’s core values that helped us navigate this past year. While we added many new team members, it was the completion of the executive team that I’m most proud of: Kum Ming Woo, VP of Operations; Vatea Herman, CFO; Kenny Drew, VP of Commercial; Jackie White, Executive Admin; Marina Martinez, HR Leader.  Together with Pam James and myself, I believe we are an executive team that is grounded in humility but driven to succeed.   

With so many major initiatives requiring much of my energy in 2022, I’m extremely grateful for our employees. Throughout this change, they have continued to stay focused on what we do well: delivering quality products to our customers day in and day out. As we look to 2023, I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year! 

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Lisa V. Sellers, PhD