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that the organization needed new leadership with the departure of Kraemer, he suggested a dual chairmanship with Wager, to make sure everything would get done. And Cramer, who loves long-range planning, got motivated to organize Wings board meetings to coincide with his wintertime board meetings for SonoSite, so he wouldn’t have to do a lot of extra traveling.
“I was really surprised that they had gotten things going in such a short period of time,” Cramer says.
Plenty of work needs to be done. The angels convened by Wings haven’t yet made their first investment in a company, and that’s one of the first things on Cramer’s to-do list. “Getting deals done, getting money into the entrepreneurs’ hands,” Cramer says, is his first order of business.
Cramer clearly is in the elder statesman role where he feels a desire to give back to the community, and do it in a productive way. He said he envisions investing some of his own money, coordinating others to invest through Wings, and spending some of his time mentoring younger entrepreneurs. He sure sounds like he’s got a lot of enthusiasm for the task. He also seemed to get a kick out of quizzing me over the phone about Seattle biotech and medical device history, and telling stories about some of his best friends and business colleagues over the years.
Cramer has always been a great storyteller, particularly when I was just getting started as a reporter at The Seattle Times. His enthusiasm is infectious. Just talking to him prompted me to dig through my old Times archive for his comments about some grim period at Immunex, and for his insights on the character of talented business leaders from a younger generation, like Fenwick & West’s Stephen Graham, and ZymoGenetics CEO Doug Williams.
“As I reflect on my life and my career, I think a lot about the community,” Cramer says. “There are a lot of young people with good ideas, and all they need is a little money and a little coaching to get started.”
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