The "We are KNB" series gives you a peek behind the curtain to understand what makes our band of healthcare communications experts tick. We ask them about their motivations and goals as well as some personal questions.
This month we would like to highlight our Media Relations Manager Chad Van Alstin. Here are a few questions we asked him below:
- What made you gravitate towards KNB Communications?
Agencies are being swallowed up into Mega Agencies right now, and the appeal of those is lost to me. I like working for a family-owned business that respects my time and has some principles when it comes to the clients it works with. I am happier, which means my clients will be happier. I get to really know what my clients do, who they are — and my time is spent serving them, as opposed to dealing with corporate bureaucracy.
- What are you most excited about in health care tech?
A lot of it is cool. If you go to HIMSS, it’s impossible not to be impressed. That said, I am really drawn to robotics, which you see a lot in surgery now, but also they are used in things like IV compounding to automate a lot of processes that are prone to potentially fatal manual errors.
I think the safety argument is very compelling. But also, honestly, robots are just super cool. They make the future seem like it could potentially be awesome, which is a feeling I think a lot of us need right now. When you’re a kid you imagine a human-centric techno-future where robots make life easier and people live more meaningful lives — you get a little taste of that when you are around friendly robots.
- How would you describe the culture at KNB?
It’s a blast from the past in a good way. It’s not Office Space; that disingenuous, competitive office culture doesn’t exist here. I feel like the management at KNB actually cares about ensuring everyone has a happy personal life — and as someone who disconnects from tech, that means a lot. Also, all of the people who work here are interested in getting to know you and forming bonds. They all like to share stories and send way more photos than I care to, but it all comes from a good place and they seem tolerant of my nodding politely in lieu of reciprocating. It’s a very easy-going, welcoming environment.
- What's the best advice you've ever received?
If it’s free, you are the product, not the customer. That guides all my tech usage and serves me well in retaining my autonomy in the smartphone age.
- What's your favorite TV Show?
I am a big Star Trek fan. I like the original series, Next Generation, and Deep Space 9 a lot. The emphasis on discovery and exploration — humans collectively solving complex problems and only using violence in defense — is compelling entertainment, but also presents a positive view of the future that avoids utopian pitfalls.
Granted, some episodes are the stupidest thing you’ll ever see on TV, often contradicting the ethical and philosophical foundations of the show in cringey ways — but I think that is often a weakness of the medium, especially in the pre-streaming era. Overall, the storytelling highs make the subpar episodes — like the one where sentient rock monsters host a duel to the death featuring Abraham Lincoln — worth slogging through.
I can’t speak to the current Star Trek series. They look like they heavily emphasize action and focus too much on contemporary social commentary — I’ll pass on that.
- What is one interesting fact people do not know about you?
I still get Netflix DVDs in the mail because I like selecting my own movies to watch and discovering new ones without the help of an AI algorithm.