Gary Gillheeney , center, with two students
In a panel discussion for Bryant Physician Assistant students, Gary S. Gillheeney, Sr., '83 MBA, center, deconstructed business issues associated with the dynamic and ever-evolving health care sector.
Gary S. Gillheeney, Sr. '83 MBA: Life science industry leader is committed to improving lives
Apr 23, 2019, by Staff Writer

Under the leadership of Gary S. Gillheeney, Sr., '83 MBA, Organogenesis Holdings Inc. has grown to be a leading regenerative medicine company offering a portfolio of products for the advanced wound care and surgical biologics markets.

Originally founded in 1985 as a spin-off from technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Organogenesis was a research-and-development company and a manufacturing operation. The company – the first to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for a mass produced living cell-based product, Apligraf® – now has a global footprint and offers a portfolio designed to treat a variety of patients with repair and regenerative needs.

“I realized how… enjoyable it is that I have something meaningful and helpful to share with [the students] as they move their careers forward.”

Recently named to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) Board of Directors, Gillheeney joins a select group of life sciences leaders committed to growing Massachusetts’ life sciences industry, adding value to the health care system, and improving patient lives. For his work at Organogenesis, Ernst & Young recognized Gillheeney as an Entrepreneur of the Year.

Gillheeney received a bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 1978 from American International College in Springfield, MA, where he is a member of the Board of Trustees. Intending to pursue a master’s degree in accounting, he enrolled in Bryant’s Graduate School of Business, but quickly discovered a fascination with the strategic side of business and pursued an MBA instead.

“I was more interested in strategic and finance classes, so I followed my interests in understanding how organizations run and how to create value,” he says.

“When I started to get involved in merger and acquisition transactions, I found that I had skills to understand the legal, organizational, and cultural issues associated with acquiring a company. That’s been critical in my development from chief financial officer to chief executive officer.”

Drawn to the strategic side of business

During a career in executive management, operations and finance spanning more than 25 years, Gillheeney held executive positions at Innovative Clinical Solutions, Ltd. including Chief Operating Officer. Previously he served as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, and Assistant Secretary at Providence Energy Corporation.

Gillheeney shared his expertise during a panel discussion for students enrolled in Bryant’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program. He deconstructed business issues associated with the dynamic and ever-evolving health care sector, including how insurance reimbursement and legislative and regulatory initiatives impact the delivery of care. Joining him were Organogenesis’ Executive Vice President of Strategy and Market Development Howard Walthall and Senior Medical Science Liaison Maribel Henao, DPM, MSPT, who offered invaluable insiders’ perspectives.

The students asked insightful questions, and were interested in learning how he used his Bryant experience to progress professionally, says Gillheeney, who promised to speak annually to the Physician Assistant program students. “I realized how meaningful it is to the students and how enjoyable it is that I have something helpful to share with them as they move their careers forward.”

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