The president of Bioenergy Life Science (BLS, Ham Lake, MN), Thomas VonderBrink, 65, died July 5 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.
Leo Zhang, chairman and CEO of BLS, noted VonderBrink had the admirable ability to speak about ribose in a way that created great discussions with both scientists and PhDs, 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 multi-million dollar business and a diversified portfolio,” said Zhang. “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.”
Prior to joining BLS, VonderBrink spent 25 years with the Novartis Corporation as a general manager of account management.
Penny Portner, director of marketing of BLS, said VonderBrink was passionate about his work. “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,” said Portner.
Agreeing with Portner, Michelle Wald, director of business administration said VonderBrink’s greatest life work was his family. “He was so proud of his children and grandchildren, and would light up when telling stories about them,” she added.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: JamesCare For Life-Melanoma Research Fund, 300 W. 10th St. Columbus, OH 43210, www.giveto.osu.edu/igive/onlinegiving/.