Welcome to our Board of Directors - Rick Grandoni

Rick worked on the executive team at New England Biolabs for the past 30+ years. He brings expertise and enthusiasm for science to Change is Simple. Rick is passionate about many things and we wanted to hear and share it all. Here is what Rick shared with us: 

CiS:: Why did you choose to join the CiS Board of Directors?

I see CiS as a way to offer young impressionable children an experience that allows them to bring their daily lessons that,  on their own, seem meaningless but tied together and applied in a fun and hands-on way become more meaningful.   Applying this method at a young age helps kids become environmentally and socially responsible citizens with patterns of behavior and habits that they will pass on to others and retain for a lifetime.

CiS:: Tell us your story::::

I was born and raised in a working class neighborhood in Framingham. Our house had woods behind it, a lake at the end of the street and a playground across the street.   My brother and I could not have asked for a better place to grow up enjoying the outdoors.

When I was 13 my parents bought 2 small cottages in North Eastham on Cape Cod’s National Seashore where we spent the good part of our summers, (and where I learned to surf on a 60’s era 9’6” G&S Comp that was so heavy it took two of us to carry it!)

Looking to go to college near the ocean and not have large student loans I enrolled at Salem State University and spent four years getting a degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry.  My experience there was great.  Small classes, dedicated professors and living on the North Shore, which has been home ever since.   

Upon graduating in 1977 I took a job at an aquaculture facility in Salem called Sea Plantations.   It was a young startup with a lofty goal to grow quahogs, cherrystones and littlenecks in an aquaculture operation.  To pay the rent we did contract diving  and specimen collecting for the New England Aquarium and we also grew larval marine organisms to be used in sensitive bioassays.    During my time at Sea Plantations, I met and did some work for Dr. Don Comb who at the time had founded New England Biolabs in Beverly.    Sea Plantations’ funding began to dry up and so I rode my bike over to Beverly and applied for a job at New England Biolabs,  which at the time was located on Cabot St next to where Chianti is now.    Don gave me a job and I became NEB’s employee number 7.   

NEB grew rapidly over the next few years moving to a new building on Tozer Rd, Around 1984 I became the Director of Production, overseeing production, quality control, packaging and shipping operations for all of NEB’s products.  I held that position for the next 30 years.  During that period I was also a member of NEB’s Executive Team.   In late 2014 I decided it was time to step down and I went back to the lab bench for a year or so and worked on some development projects. Now I’m “mostly” retired and working on NEB’s social and environmental responsibility efforts and doing some consulting for them as well.

I’m also a member of the Beverly Conservation Commission and I’m looking forward to more community-minded volunteering.    

My other passions include surfing, mountain biking, snowboarding and hiking.   My wife Diana and I spend a few weeks every year in Costa Rica but we love to travel and we’ve been to many exotic destinations throughout Europe and elsewhere including Botswana, Vietnam and Cambodia.   But our favorite place spend time is on Cape Cod with our three daughters and our dog Jasper.   

CiS:: Favorite place to travel and Why?

Costa Rica.   We’ve been to many countries around the world but Costa Rica and its people have warmth and a charm that is unmatched in our view.  That coupled with the natural beauty and great waves makes Costa Rica our top choice.

CiS:: A significant memory from Elementary school

I don’t really have anything significant from elementary school because I found school boring at that age.   A turning point for me was in the ninth grade when I took a biology class with Mr. Tisdell.    His classes were engaging, interesting and about something that I truly loved and could relate to from the previous years on my childhood.

CiS:: Cook or dine out?? And what is your favorite thing to cook or place to eat. 

I love to cook and have always done most of the cooking in our family. I love the style of Mario Batali which is simple, home-style Italian food with few ingredients.  It’s the way my Mom cooked as well as my Grandparents who were from Italy.   I also love to eat, and choosing a favorite restaurant is not easy but we love I Pazzi in Danvers,  Café Mews in Provincetown and Clio in Boston (until it closed)

CiS:: If you had a day to do anything you want what would it be? 

Spend a late summer day with my wife and daughters on the beach at the Cape Cod National Seashore.   (Some glassy waves would make it even better!)

CiS:: Dream job as a kid.

As a little kid I wanted to be a fireman like my uncle Bob

CiS:: What led you to science?  

As kids we spent all of our free time outside, in the woods, on the lake or on the beach.   We camped out, rolled logs over, fished, caught turtles, dug clams and quahogs.  (no video games, computers or smartphones!)   Science and Nature were all around us all the time. When I started to get that in school, I was hooked!!