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American Type Culture Collection

A Compelling Book Captures the Story of a Business Transformation

American Type Culture Collection is a global biological materials resource and standards organization with a long and storied history. At its inception in the 1920s and for several decades afterward, it was a nonprofit organization that depended on government funding to stay afloat. As federal spending priorities shifted, the organization suffered. Raymond Cypess took the organization’s helm in 1993 with a clear purpose: to reinvigorate the organization, raise its profile in the biological sciences and serve as a strong advocate for standards in biological research. By the 2010s, Cypess had transformed ATCC from a nonprofit repository into a vital resource for those pursuing advances in the biological sciences. He sought to preserve the story of ATCC’s transformation.

ATCC approached History Factory to help produce a lasting record of the organization’s transformation to a self-sustaining entity. Using the information and insights we gathered during a number of sessions and oral histories, History Factory produced a detailed creative brief and publication outline that served as a blueprint for the project. We worked closely with Cypess and other key stakeholders at ATCC to create a compelling narrative that would capture ATCC’s unique evolution to a self-sustaining bioresource center.

“Transformation of an Icon: ATCC and the New Business Model for Science,” a richly illustrated 135-page book, was published in hardcover and paperback. History Factory amplified the success story of ATCC’s transformation in a format that will serve as a valuable resource for businesses, policymakers, scientists and nonprofits for generations to come. “Transformation of an Icon” was recognized with the PRSA Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation and the American Business Awards’ Best Business Book (Gold category).