Meet Marc Rippen, the CEO of Alertgy
Marc is a visionary, a highly skilled creative engineer, a talented scientist, marketing professional and successful businessman, who thinks out of the box.
His unique ideologies and polished abilities led him to achieve many milestones during his arduous journey. His contributions to improve the lives of diabetics through technical innovation has played a vital role in evolving healthcare as well as redefining the technological sector.
Insights Success admires such profound leaders and takes pride in featuring such leaders in its special issue “The 30 Most Influential Business Leaders in Tech 2019”.
Into the journey of Marc…
Marc has always been a leader, starting as President of Phi Theta Kappa Mu Epsilon (PTKME) in college, then as an army officer, followed by a Program Manager on DOD Applied Research and Development for DARPA, and now as the Founder and President of Alertgy. Leadership quality has always been one of his strengths.
While in college, under his direction, the Phi Theta Kappa Mu Epsilon Chapter was able to win the National award for Most Improved Chapter. He and his team did this by implementing a large peer teaching program which positively impacted the students to improve their grades and understand difficult subjects. He emphasized many people’s contributions and efforts for the work done but was the person working behind the scenes to share the vision and execute a program that really benefited a lot of students.
In the military, he acquired advanced training to further sharpen his leadership skills by leading troops far more experienced than he was, to accomplish difficult and dangerous missions. Such experiences helped to shape him to be a better leader.
Marc states that the most important lessons he learned were to lead by example, to respect others, to be humble, to be ready to make and execute decisions at the right time, to take care of people, and most importantly. to do the right thing for the right reasons.
Marc has always wondered what the purpose of his incredible life’s journey was as everything seemed to be, well, disconnected. He quotes, “In starting Alertgy my mission was to save the lives of diabetics, to make their lives easier, give them more years to enjoy their lives and their loved ones, and to help diabetics manage their disease better… Painlessly.”
He has now been able to finally connect the various dots and understand his life’s purpose. He remembers that it all started with him saving his wife from going into a diabetic coma one Sunday morning in 2016 and became determined to do something about it.
Marc says that Alertgy has developed and demonstrated an incredible technology that will save millions of lives and eventually will be able to make this technology available to the estimated a half billion people on this planet currently diagnosed with diabetes.
Ironically, by volunteering to be a part of Alertgy’s internal development clinical trials, Marc discovered that he was also type 2 diabetic, was severely hyperglycemic and at a major risk of having a stroke. As a result of that experience, he understands how serious diabetes could impact a person’s health. “During a routine trial test of the device, my A1C level, which is a measure of how much of your hemoglobin protein in the red blood cells are coated by glucose, was 12.8 which is dangerously high. Any number over 7 is bad. I was, in fact, one of the 9 million Americans who have diabetes but don’t know they have it,”
“A Team” Approach for Success
Marc compares the similarities of leading a military group and leading a business. As an example, in today’s military, having various specialized people with a highly defined mission and detailed method of execution, is key. Like an “A Team” Special Forces unit, where everyone is specialized and an expert in their function, they work seamlessly as a team, with each member selected for their ability for out of the box thinking, allowing that unit to achieve the near impossible mission they have to execute. An organization like Alertgy, that is structured like this, can stay well ahead of the competition. Marc also states that large organizations, while rich in resources, suffer from “paralysis by analysis” and thus find it almost impossible to really innovate.
Guiding through Shared Vision
Marc believes that articulating visions clearly to others is one of the biggest challenges faced by every leader and states that one must be able to translate his/her vision to a team of experts in business, technology, and engineering, many with very niche specialties, which is challenging. He says that clear channels of communication are the most important factor in success.
His role as a leader is to provide clear vision, communication and to surpass all the obstacles that block his teams on their way to success. The result is a strong ‘esprit de corps’. This is a major force multiplier; like the 300 Spartans who shut down the Persian Horde, a small force with innovative leadership and true spirit can overwhelm an army of thousands.
Marc visualizes the business world as a global battlefield and looks forward to developing strategic partners with his strongest competitors. By quoting, Virgil “Opportunity favors the bold”, he suggests that one must focus on the timely execution of innovative breakthroughs, to keep ahead of the fray, and achieve the mission of the organization; bringing dreams to life, making the impossible practical while improving the lives of billions of people.
In Marc’s experience, organizations should delegate operational strategy and execution down to the lowest level possible. “Full authority must be given with full responsibility. Anything less gets men or ventures killed,” says Marc.