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Alumni Spotlight: Joe Spell '02

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Being an entrepreneur takes determination, grit, and a lot of hard work. Alumnus Joe Spell started his first business at 16 years old, and he hasn’t slowed down since. Spell ’02 is currently the CEO and founder of Tides Medical. This biotechnology company is revolutionizing access to the regenerative power of birth tissue technology.

Tides Medical specializes in creating amniotic tissue graft products that are used to help treat wounds. Not only does the company produce high-quality products, but it also provides exceptional customer service and support to help remove any barriers that may prevent patients from getting the treatment they deserve. Under Spell’s leadership, Tides Medical has grown to serve patients nationwide. The company’s vision is to eliminate pain and suffering caused by chronic soft tissue conditions.

Originally from Milton, Louisiana, Spell transferred to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette during the second semester of his freshman year to study business and marketing. As a student, he was a member of the nationally-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns Water Ski Team. Spell began water skiing at the age of three and even started his own water ski school when he was 16 years old. He’s extremely grateful that he got to continue his water skiing career at the University surrounded by amazing people and teammates. “It was great to meet people from all around the world,” Spell said.

After his graduation, Spell planned to work in medical device sales. Unfortunately, he needed to get sales experience first before entering the industry. That didn’t stop Spell. He spent six months selling copy machines door to door to gain the experience he needed. “That’s probably the hardest I’ve ever worked,” Spell said. After a few years of working in medical device sales, Spell decided that it was time to work for himself. He always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but now he was ready to put his skills into action.

Spell initially started a small distributorship that worked with startup medical device companies to introduce their products to the market. He realized that some of these companies were difficult to work with, and he thought he could bring a better level of customer service and support to the biotechnology industry. Soon, Tides Medical was founded, and the company has been growing ever since.

Giving back is very important to Spell. His company strives to give back to the community through the Tides Medical Foundation, focusing on supporting medical research, children’s education, and giving back to Acadiana. Tides Medical is proud to give back to organizations that are making a difference in the community.

Spell is committed to constantly working to improve himself as a leader and manager. He is currently enrolled in the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard Business School. Throughout this rigorous program, Spell has gotten to expand his professional network while learning more about leadership dynamics. “It’s probably one of the best investments I’ve made in myself professionally,” Spell said. When asked what advice he would give to an aspiring entrepreneur, Spell says it’s vital that you make yourself uncomfortable in order to grow. “It takes grit to be really successful, and you have to be able to do the things other people aren’t willing to do,” Spell said. Being an entrepreneur comes with a lot of challenges. However, Spell has proven that with perseverance and a big idea, anything is possible.

Photo Caption: Joe Spell