Nathanael Sieb

Director Of Operations, 4D LABS

“I’ve been at SFU a long time,” says Nathanael Sieb, Director of Operations at 4D LABS, a materials research facility at the university, and a current student in the Beedie School of Business’s Graduate Certificate in Science and Technology Commercialization program.

Having completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at SFU, Sieb took on a series of technical roles at 4D LABS, before being appointed to the Director of Operations role in 2014. A scientist by training, Sieb says he was “fairly good at the technical side of it, but the management and the business side was an area where I lacked expertise.”

This is what led Sieb to reach out to instructors on the GCSTC program. 4D LABS isn’t only a teaching facility, it also markets its services to private sector companies developing their products for market. While Sieb doesn’t have his own invention that he is trying to commercialize, the program is helping him to better support clients that do.

“We have a lot of companies coming through here,” says Sieb, “and being able to provide better services to them was one of my main goals, so I can actually support them in their development, and also be able to speak their language – the business language, in a sense, in addition to the technical language.”

So far the program has also helped Sieb to develop the value proposition and business development strategy for 4D LABS, identifying key market segments to target and positioning the facility to attract potential customers. The insights that he has gained through the program are directly applicable to his management of the facility.

“The assignments are all valuable,” says Sieb. “They are all related to your project. The idea is that at the end of the program you are further advanced with whatever project you are working on, so it’s a good use of the time.”

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