Donor Spotlight – Tom Prescott, Board of Directors, Align Technology

by | May 4, 2016 | Alliances, Fogarty Innovation, Mentoring

Tom Prescott, former president and CEO, and current director of Align Technology, has been a strong backer of the Fogarty Institute’s Lefteroff Fund, which was established in honor of the late Tracy Lefteroff to support programs advancing entrepreneurship in the life sciences.

Prescott knew Tracy for two decades when he served as Global Managing Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, which was the audit partner for Align Technology.

“Tracy’s personality and charisma were larger than life, and he was a great ambassador and contributor to life sciences,” said Prescott. “That’s why when I learned about the Institute’s Lefteroff Fund, it was something I wanted to support. He would be thrilled to see young students and entrepreneurs flourish in the Institute’s innovative environment, and would be excited to see the talent that is being fostered.”

Promoting entrepreneurship
In addition to his economic support, Prescott also played a vital role in coordinating a recent visit to the Fogarty Institute by Arizona State University student-led startups that came to Silicon Valley as part of the eSeed Challenge. Prescott and his wife JoAnn provide financial support for the eSeed Challenge, which focuses on accelerating entrepreneurial learning and startup activity – principally in ASU’s Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“These students are very interested in entrepreneurship and innovation as a way of life, as a way of thinking and as a skill set to be developed,” said Prescott. “The Fogarty Institute entrepreneurs did a spectacular job helping motivate the ASU students when they met with them. Echopixel‘s real-time, interactive 3D medical visualization software was particularly fascinating to the group. The Fogarty Institute is a stop we hope to do every year.”

A career in healthcare fueled his interest
Prescott started his career in factory automation but decided to seek a new career path after repeated exposure to a series of business cycles in the industrial economy. He did extensive research on healthcare and found that medtech in particular was dramatically outpacing other parts of the economy.

His research paid off when he took a management position at GE Medical Systems, where he had the opportunity to further develop management capabilities while working on technology that was central to the evolution of the practice of medicine. Later he took his talents to Nellcor Puritan Bennett and Cardiac Pathways, a Thomas Fogarty backed-company. In 2002, he became president and CEO of Align Technology, a medical device company that develops and markets Invisalign, a better alternative to wearing braces for treating malocclusion. Align Technology has been one of the real success stories over the past decade with a current market cap of over $6 billion.

Prescott said his proudest professional accomplishments are building teams that flourish in good times and bad, while overseeing the delivery of products that dramatically impact patients’ quality of life.

On the future of healthcare
Prescott is most excited about the future and role of consumers in the healthcare industry and how technology can be used to enable dramatic shifts in cost, effectiveness and site of care. The future of home-based monitoring and therapeutics is very promising, whether it is pharmaceutical-based technology, nanotechnology or other innovative devices. Over time, this will create an entirely different model of how healthcare providers and patients interact, decreasing the need for hospital visits.

Making a difference
In addition to serving on several boards and promoting and supporting entrepreneurship-based programs, Prescott and his wife are active supporters of the Navy Seal Foundation, which helps provide scholarships, tragedy assistance, education and other support programs to families of active duty SEALs, especially those families who lose an elite warrior in the line of duty. The Prescotts have also been supporters of the Second Harvest Food Bank, which helps feed hungry children.

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