founders profile: victoria tifft, 2012 small business person of the year
Victoria Tifft, the President and CEO of Clinical Research Management
, knows firsthand the importance of vaccines and medicines.
She contracted malaria three times as a Peace Corps volunteer working on infectious diseases in Togo, West Africa. That was 20 years ago, and she was soon treated and recovered. Yet Tifft knew that so many in developing countries didn't have access to the medical care that she did.
"It was the suffering of the local people living under devastating Third World conditions that led me to dedicate my life to fighting infectious diseases," explains the successful entrepreneur, who was recently named Small Business Person of the Year for the entire country by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
After the Peace Corps, Tifft worked as a biologist for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
and a manager at the Ronald McDonald House
. "My service to families with critically ill children solidified my desire to help children and adults through the prevention and curing of many diseases," Tifft says.
Those pivotal experiences eventually led Tifft to found a company that now conducts clinical research services for federal research labs, including the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Clinical Trials Center in Washington D.C.
Tifft started Clinical Research Management in 1994 with three employees to advance clinical research. This specialized company is a Contract Research Organization (CRO) that supports clinical research and trials for FDA-regulated biologics, drugs and devices. ClinicalRM's ultimate goal is to help get products faster to market in the government, commercial and academic sectors.
"We have been involved in advancing science by making positive contributions in the research, development, and clinical testing of vaccines, drugs and medical devices for a variety of therapeutic segments," Tifft says of her company.
It's an area she knows well. During her Peace Corps stint, Tifft worked at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease. Her experience led to her playing a major role in establishing the WRAIR Clinical Trials Center (CTC).
The company's corporate headquarters are in Hinckley, outside of Cleveland. Thirty-seven of the ClinicalRM's 360 employees work in Ohio. A truly global company, it operates nationwide and in Africa, South and Central America, Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Iraq and throughout the Asia Pacific region.
The company has grown exponentially over the years, and Tifft expects to hire again soon as the company plans to expand into new therapeutic segments.
Tifft's work may span the globe, but her roots are in Ohio. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology as well as a Masters in Parasitology from the University of Akron. She also holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.
In addition to the Small Business Person of the Year award, Tifft has received a host of other honors. She has been recognized as a Woman of Note by Crain’s Cleveland Business and as one of the Top Ten Women Business Owners of Northeast Ohio by the National Association of Women Business Owners. She has also received a Crain’s Leading EDGE award by The Entrepreneurs EDGE.
“The innovation, inspiration, and determination shown by Victoria Tifft have elevated her company, Clinical Research Management, above and beyond the norm,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills in a statement.
"It is an honor to be recognized and we are proud to draw attention to the extensive biomedical clinical capabilities and resources found in Ohio," says Tifft.
All photos submitted
Photo 1: Victoria Tifft
Photo 2: Parasitology
Photos 3-4: Lab work
Photo 5: Mosquito feeding