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David Kissel

VISION EASE, Manager of Emerging Technologies
2008 PhD The University of New Mexico Dept. of Nanoscience and Microsystems

  • What ignited the spark in you to start Lotus Leaf Coatings
    • The only spark ignited within me was my drive to do my work, to learn, and to create something in the lab that might one day be useful in the real world.  As far as what drove me to start Lotus Leaf Coatings, it was the combination of people wanting to invest in the future of New Mexico (the New Mexico Angels) and a University that valued and promoted the science and technology it produced (STC.UNM).  I must say that those who gravitated to the idea of Lotus Leaf were the entrepreneurs, and I just focused on what I knew best.
  • What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
    • Be passionate.  Never give up.  Know your values.
  • If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
    • Career-wise, I would do nothing differently.  During my schooling years, however, I would have benefited from formal courses on the principles of project management.  This was something I had to learn when I went into industry, and I wish I would have been exposed to it before entering the workforce.
  • What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
    • The ability to focus
    • Learning to see the big picture
    • Understanding how the strengths of others can complement yours
  • How many hours do you work a day on average?
    • It really depends.  Despite some days topping 12 hours, I always try to make time for family, thinking, and preparation for what is next.  Sometimes, though, I will work a really light day so I can spend time with my family.
  • What motivates you?
    • My passion for personal and professional growth.
  • How do you generate new ideas?
    • I really wish I could tell you that I sit around and come up with ideas all the time on my own because I am this super brilliant person.  I do not.  In fact, I fail a lot (and try to learn from it), and need to rely on leveraging the diversity of others.  Generally, my new ideas come from making connections between concepts and bi-lateral thinking.  Ideas aside, I most enjoy testing out my hunches and trying to disprove my own assumptions.
  • Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
    • The majority of initial funding for Lotus Leaf Coatings came from the New Mexico Angels, a group that values investing in the future of New Mexico.  Early on, the other co-founders were very good at getting our company purpose out there and providing a clear message as to why we thought we would be a success.
  • If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
    • Leonardo da Vinci.  I would want to understand what inspired the mass of his work that was so ahead of its time.
  • What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
    • My favorite aspect is being able to still be a scientist.
  • To what do you most attribute your success?
    • I attribute my success to being surrounded by those who support me.  In professional ventures, it is being surround by those who are smarter than I am.
  • What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
    • The most satisfying moments in business always have been getting a product across the goal line that someone actually wants to buy.
  • What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
    • My hobbies are BBQ (I am at a pitmaster level), playing music, and being the best dad I can be.  I love seeing the wonder my children show when they discover something for the first time, so I try to encourage their curiosity and passion as much as possible.
  • Where you see yourself 10 years? 20 years?
    • In ten years, I would love to be able to say I learned a lot.  In twenty years, I want to be able to say that I learned even more.