Big Wave: A sustainable, independent, and empathic neighbor

My Inspiration

They call me Coach, but I am really more of an invested observer of my players because, as I have learned, they perfectly train themselves. I am pretty sure that I have more fun, more smiles, more laughter, than anything else I know.  These players are a group of adults with special needs on a Special Olympics-style baseball team.  Indeed, they have taught me a lot about what’s important, and about the teamwork that is necessary in the game of life.  The amazing aspect of these players is how close and tightly knit they are as a caring community who support each other.  I truly learn the best of what is being human from them at every game.

What piqued my interest in coaching was working with the Big Wave project, a special type of self-sustainable community built from the hard work of parents of adults with special needs who are facing a future crisis if they do nothing. One in 54 Americans is on the autism spectrum. One in 54. Where will these children with special needs go as their parents age and are no longer able to care for them? There is not enough room in government housing, so Jeff Peck, a creative professional and father of Elizabeth, one of my players with special needs, founded The Big Wave Project twenty years ago.

It’s an important anniversary for Big Wave as it just broke ground on August 15th this year, after quite a few years of meeting the needs of the state.  We are about to watch an important business experiment.

The Big Wave project is brilliant!  Big Wave has a fascinating business/housing model that doesn’t depend on government funding and the support of public officials.  Instead, it draws from a smart form of capital:  Neighbors. Local business owners hang a shingle on the adjacent property and sell their products and services, utilizing an employee population that is known as cooperative, heartfelt and eager to work:  Adults with special needs. The relationship between the adults with special needs and the business owners is symbiotic.  Currently, there is an 87 percent unemployment rate among this underappreciated population. But we know now that these special people are often worth the risk of hiring (hiring itself is a risk). Certainly companies like Safeway are glad they invested in this employee demographic.  Its one of the reasons I enjoy going to Safeway and the pleasure of seeing one of the Big Wave community members there with their ever present smiles.

The local businesses that join the Big Wave project will stimulate the local economy as they pay a competitive wage and provide rental income that helps to keep Big Wave sustainable for many years to come. The project is overseen by people who care—family members who value its model, yes, but also value its residents.


In the investment world we like to get to the heart of why someone has developed their project. Most organizations that are there to help others are born out of empathy. That is not always the case for many companies, as profit is critical to success and survival. But Big Wave really was born out of the empathy a father had not just for his daughter, but for his community’s kids and his community at large. Jeff became obsessed with an idea to create an opportunity for real employment, and the housing and peer support that these young adults need.  Local businesses need both the space and good employees in order to thrive.

It is not only a business with care and concern. It is a rock-solid plan. And although I am observing Big Wave from the bleachers, I am cheering and rooting on the Big Wave project every step of the way.

Jeff, you hit a home run. Congratulations and here’s to much success to come!


Steve Bacich is the Chief Technology Officer and Founding Partner of MED1 Ventures. Steve has more than 20 years of medical device industry experience, with over 15 years focused on women’s health. Mr. Bacich completed several venture and public funding rounds raising over $250 million in total. Steve has secured more than 75 US medical device patents and has brought over 25 products to market.  He currently coaches the Big Wave baseball team.

Benefits of the Podcast: Why You Should Be ON

As a new partner to Sherwood Communications I have a lot to share! Let’s begin with the subject of podcasts, which are commonly overlooked by communications professionals.

Podcasts are most akin to TV series or Talk Radio series and have these commonalities:

  • Access: Podcasts are almost always free for anyone to access via any number of free audio platforms including iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn Radio. Podcasts may or may not be offered with or without static images or video clips. Podcast content with streaming video clips are referred to as ‘videocasts’.

  • Listening: People listen to podcasts via that podcast’s website or by downloading it onto their phone or onto their podcast player. For example, I subscribe to podcasts that appear onto iTunes, then download podcast episodes and sync them to my iPhone or iPod Touch device to play when I am ready to take in the content.

  • Frequency: Podcasts can be offered as often as single episodes daily, weekly, bi-weekly or less frequently.

  • Episode Durations may be as brief as 15-20 minutes or long as 2 hours.

  • Topics: Appeal to a wide and/or very specific variety of topics, EX: USAToday has a daily news podcast intended to appeal to a general audience, just as and USAToday newspaper does. By contrast there are zillions of podcasts that appeal to very specific audiences, such as new mothers, cryptocurrency traders, or doctors, scientists and researchers who follow new biomedical innovations or environmental changes.

  • Operating Platforms: Podcasts may be operated by a larger media conglomerate – such as print newspapers like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USAToday or broadcast conglomerates such as Fox News and CNN.  Therefore an appearance on a CNN TV show may also pave the way for a correlated but separate appearance on a CNN podcast, or may the broadcast unit may be operated entirely separate from the audio or podcast unit.

  • Guests:  Podcasts channels are hosted and guided by 1-2 people who are typically prominent in their industry, and operate much like a radio show in that they feature interesting, provocative, expert guests directly and pointedly promoting a specific position and/or launching a product (oftentimes a book or other consumer product). The slight advantage of  podcasts over a radio interview is that the host is less interested in provoking the guest and more interested in getting a good interview. So we can typically specify topics for discussion — even propose the flow of questions — resulting in positive outcomes.

  • Asks: We can make simple “asks” at the end of each interview such “Follow me on Twitter at XX” or “Check out my books X, Y and Z now available on Amazon, or hint that you are seeking an Agent.

  • Reach: Podcasts invariably maintain social media channels thru which they symbiotically promote their podcast and its guests. The producers and hosts make the listening reach known on their websites.

There is more to say, of course. This is the type of top-line advice we like to give. Enjoy.



 After her career in the publishing industry at book publisher Little, Brown & Company, Jean moved into public relations but has been influenced by her career in publishing.  She also has more than 15 years of experience in medical device promotion. 

 Jean Lombard’s success is built on her track record of experience driving integrated marketing campaigns for Silicon Valley startups, med-tech and for mature companies seeking to launch new, critically important divisions. 

 Jean is adept at identifying and assessing how to introduce and differentiate clients’ products and platforms — and how to identify and optimize target audiences — to cost-effectively gain brand awareness and coverage for competitive advantage and Influencer status.  

 Jean’s hands-on strength is creating core marketing messages based on trending phrases and important terms, then infusing these elements into compelling and resonant marketing channels including website copy, social media posts, email digital marketing campaigns, press releases and pitch letters. 

As a certified Project Manager and Digital Marketing professional, Jean is accustomed to aligning teams in disparate time zones to identify immediate priorities and then teaming up to tackle and efficiently resolve the most important and time-sensitive deliverables. 

She is truly excited to begin working with you.

An Exciting New Innovation in Stem Cell Science 

Last week’s visit to the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston was a milestone not only for me to reunite with my former residents and fellows, but with Dr.’s Mark Wong, James Melville, and Isa Hannah, who are now on their faculty validating and joining us in the research and clinical applications of the brand new Marrow Marxman®. The MarrowMarxman will launch, having been in development with CEO and Chief Engineer, Erik Papenfuss, of Lenkbar, LLC in Naples FL.

To date, the MarrowMarxman has gone through cadaver, animal, and stress testing, and produced outstanding bone regeneration clinically.  Dr. Melville and his chief resident easily aspirated 20 ml from each anterior ilium as I have done many times.  Each aspirated the 20 ml and more in only five minutes on two separate patients.

The “FlexMetric” design is patented and is a safe and effective way to harvest stem cells. The advantage of this flexible design, invented by Erik Papenfuss, makes it extremely resistant to breakage and guides the cannula to the inner cortex of the bone where the greatest number of stem cells/osteoprogenitor cells reside.  Because the MarrowMarxman aspirates bone marrow while proceeding forward in the marrow space, it does not aspirate from a well of blood as devices that aspirate upon withdrawal.  That methodology dilutes the stem cell/osteoprogenitor cell yield.

We feel this MarrowMarxman will be a “game changer” for those harvesting bone marrow for clinical grafting procedures, for obtainment of stem cells, for expansion and research, and for diagnostic purposes, all with a quick minimally invasive approach.

Look for much more information as we continue to innovate and produce a game changer product for the medical industry, and ultimately for patients.

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