Bioenergy Life Science (BLS) President Thomas VonderBrink has passed away after a lengthy illness. A trusted industry expert, VonderBrink joined BLS in January 2000, bringing vast experience in clinical nutrition, pharmaceutical product development, sales, marketing and management.
BLS Chairman and CEO Leo Zhang remembers VonderBrink for his admirable ability to speak about ribose in a way that created great discussions with both scientists and Ph.D.s, as well as non-technical people. “Tom was brought on to grow the ribose business. He was able to take it from a great compound with good research to a multimillion-dollar business and a diversified portfolio. He created and developed the Corvalen brand, which was later sold and is still a viable brand today. He successfully managed the sale and transition of Bioenergy Life Science to the new ownership with Chengzhi Life Science.”
In the industry, Tom became synonymous with ribose. His enthusiasm for business was infectious with customers and employees. “Tom was very passionate about his work and was a great storyteller, engaging everyone within hearing distance. He shared his knowledge and insights with great detail and liveliness, whether it was about Bioenergy Ribose or a current event. But Tom’s greatest passion was for his family. Tom lit up whenever he talked about his grandkids,” recalls BLS Director of Marketing Penny Portner. Adds BLS Executive Director of Quality Adia Edwards, “Tom had a very good sense of humor. He would always find the positive in any situation. He will be greatly missed.”
Director of Business Administration Michelle Wald says of VonderBrink: “Although Tom was an accomplished business man, I believe his greatest life’s work was his family. He was so proud of his children and grandchildren, and would light up when telling stories about them. Tom was also an Excel spreadsheet pro. He would love spending time figuring out the challenges I would give him so he could show me how it was done! I feel very fortunate to have known him and I will miss him very much.”
Prior to joining BLS, VonderBrink spent 25 years with the Novartis Corp. (formerly Sandoz), where he was a general manager of account management. VonderBrink began in career in the clinical nutrition division then moved to the pharmaceutical division before retiring from that company in 1999.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: JamesCare For Life-Melanoma Research Fund, 300 West 10th Street Columbus, 43210, giveto.osu.edu/igive/onlinegiving.