Brian Glaister (COE ’03): Changing the Lives of the Disabled

Brian GlaisterBrian Glaister graduated in 2003 with a Mechanical Engineering degree. He co-founded Cadence Biomedical (then Empowering Engineering Technologies) in August, 2007. It is a Seattle-based startup that offers people with severe disabilities a wearable medical device to help them walk, named Kickstart Walking System. Using this system, patients can engage in higher levels of physical therapy and independent ambulation. He has won various entrepreneurial awards, such as the Best Elevator Pitchin 2011 at the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit.


While at Villanova, Brian was always involved in service. He attended service break programs, worked with the Center for Peace and Justice, and took part in Hunger Awareness Week. However, the primary event that would forever change his life was his Habitat trip to Capetown, South Africa with other Villanova Students. He saw their desperate need, and knew that it was his calling to help them. He then attended graduate school for Bioengineering, where he worked on a project for creating a prosthetic foot out of car tires in India for about $30. He found this interesting, and then attended University of Washington to obtain his PhD. He knew that his engineering background was imperative in his efforts to create products, but he also needed a business background in order to create his company. He became frustrated with his environment, and he knew that he needed to go out and create something. He decided to move to Seattle, an “entrepreneurial mecca,” as he calls it, because it is a nurturing environment for startups.


By far, Brian’s favorite experiences at Villanova was his trip to South Africa and meeting his wife, who is also involved with service. His story proves the importance of service trips, because more often than not, they have a lasting impact on our lives. His wife has taken a trip with him to South Africa, and she currently works for a product development company in Seattle. One of her recent projects was funded by the Gates’ Foundation. This project was to create a super cooler for vaccines in order to deliver them to places such as South Africa, where they do not have electricity.


When asked if he has any advice for Villanova students, Brian said, “it can be done.” He is living proof that taking an entrepreneurial path in your life in order to do something that you love is possible. It is harder, but it is more rewarding. I don’t think that I could have said this any better: “if you’re going to work 50-60 hours a week, it might as well be doing something you’re passionate about, and if you can’t find that, you must create it.”