Mark Wicker

In Greensboro, NC, Mark Wicker runs his own company, Carolina Research Glass, where he produces one-of-a-kind, hand-blown laboratory glass. One of only 600 scientific glass blowers in the country, Wicker works in Pyrex and produces about 500 objects a month. "I make drug- and aerosol-delivery devices, isolation cages for rats, and glass vessels for exposing lung tissue," he explains. He also polishes, grinds, and repairs glass equipment, which is highly cost effective, he says.

Wicker makes up part of a crucial element of biotechnology in North Carolina - companies that provide services or products that keep other companies in business. For pharmaceutical companies in particular, service providers must meet certain levels of quality and reproducibility. It's one thing to develop and market a...

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