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May 9, 2019
By Kelsey Johnson, communication assistant
This story appears in the spring 2019 edition of the Northwest Alumni Magazine. To access more stories and view the magazine in its entirety online, click here.
Northwest Missouri State University alumnus John Timberlake has a passion for improving the health of others. It led him to Bridgewater, New Jersey, where he helps patients with diabetes live to the fullest.
Timberlake is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) at Valeritas Inc., a publicly traded medical technology company that focuses on improving the health and simplifying the lives of people with diabetes by developing innovative technologies. Valeritas is widely known for its first commercialized product, “V-Go,” an insulin delivery device that is worn like a patch, eliminating the multiple times a day patients with type 2 diabetes would otherwise need to inject insulin to help maintain their target blood and glucose goals.
In 2017, Timberlake rang the NASDAQ closing bell in Times Square, New York, to celebrate Valeritas’ listing on the NASDAQ capital market. The Valeritas management team and special guest Joe Daughtry, a patient with type 2 diabetes who wears V-Go, accompanied him during the celebration.
“Ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ with my team was the culmination of years of commitment and hard work and something I will never forget,” Timberlake said.
Timberlake guides the overall strategic direction for the organization and ensures Valeritas has the resources to execute strategies to meet its overall goals and objectives.
Timberlake says his motivation, as well as the company’s purpose, is to improve the health and simplify the lives of people with diabetes.
“We don’t just change their health but impact their quality of life and their perspective on life,” Timberlake said. “We truly impact them emotionally when we help them physically. That is our company purpose and is why we get up every day. It’s because we are making a difference.”
Prior to becoming CEO in 2016, Timberlake served as president and chief commercial officer at Valeritas. He was the company’s general manager from 2006 to 2008.
As an accountant for six years before that, Timberlake was exposed to many different businesses. He enjoyed the pharmaceutical and therapeutic industries and was inspired to join the fight against diabetes by the patients, doctors and professionals he met in the field.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.3 million people in the United States, nearly one in 10, have diabetes. More than 23 million people are diagnosed, and 7.2 million people are undiagnosed.
“I grew interested in diabetes because there are so many patients we can impact,” Timberlake said. “The doctors who treat people with diabetes are very caring and enjoyable to work with.”
Timberlake grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and completed his bachelor’s degree in accounting at Northwest in 1986. He continued his education and earned a master’s degree in management from Purdue University and a Master of Business Administration degree from ESC Rouen in France, which is now called NEOMA Business School.
“What I liked about studying accounting at Northwest was the small class size, as you were always heavily interacting with your professors during class and everyone saw their professors in between classes and during their office hours,” he said.
At Northwest, Timberlake was a member of Delta Chi fraternity, the accounting club and enjoyed intramural sports. He also met his wife, Kathleen Miller Timberlake, who earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1984 and a master’s degree in education in 1989, both at Northwest.
“I chose Northwest because I needed to grow and mature,” Timberlake said. “I liked the size of campus and the feel of the culture. My best friends to this day are college mates, most of which were in my fraternity. All my life those are still some my best friends.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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