Rich West

Founder and President of West Labs Scientific in Kalamazoo. Located at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, West Labs Scientific performs cellular analysis for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as for research and academic institutions. A rapidly growing startup, the firm has expanded to add additional services, including flow cytometry, cellular analysis and imaging, veterinary hematology, and blood chemistry. In addition to developing West Labs Scientific, West has built relationships with Michigan colleges and universities and has served as a guest lecturer and host for interns from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ Bridges to Baccalaureate program, the Michigan Shifting Gears program, and the Professional Science Master's program at Grand Valley State University. He visits middle and high schools throughout West Michigan, bringing a message that inspires and promotes careers in science. West’s early career was spent working in clinical flow cytometry at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. He then created and developed the stem cell engineering lab for the pediatric blood and bone marrow transplant team of De Vos Children’s Hospital, and fostered strong ties between the hospital, Michigan Community Blood Centers, and Calvin College. West then built and developed the flow cytometry core facility at the Van Andel Institute before becoming an entrepreneur. West is certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists with his qualification in flow cytometry. He serves on the board of the Coopersville Area Public Schools and the Michigan Association of School Boards. West received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Central Michigan University.

WHERE BORN: “Alpena.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “The list is expansive but it started in eighth grade; my science teacher Mr. Nelson at Traverse City Junior High set me on fire for science.”

LAST BOOK READ:Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Integrity, teamwork, and respect.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “We’re always on the cutting edge. In biotechnology, so much work is now being done with stem cells, propagating outside of the body for therapeutics, and new products in the stem cell arena. We do a lot of quality control work for other biotech companies. We come up with new ways to identify new cell types and things they can anchor on so they know they are dealing with the proper cell type.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “Flow cytometer (cell counting and sorting technology).”

FAVORITE PLACE: “Traverse City.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “I’m a wine maker, play bass guitar, and enjoy reading, cooking, and fishing.”


MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I’m an avid gardener.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As having made a difference in many, many people’s lives.”