Hundreds of unsung manufacturers make the many parts used by the big device makers. Everyone knows the brands Medtronic, St. Jude Medical and Boston Scientific, the high-profile medical…
Kevyn Burger – Minnesota Business Magazine
“So many people here have worked with the big med tech companies, and their high standards pervade all levels of the hiring pool,” says Nazarian, 55, an electrical engineer and principal inventor on 17 patents. “There’s a mindset and a philosophy in companies and people that have the discipline to operate in this environment. We see it at all levels, whether it’s an engineer or an assembler. They understand what it takes to be in compliance.”
Devices are reviewed not only by federal regulators, but also by the doctors who research and recommend them for their patients.
“In our industry, parts change, improvements are found, there’s feedback from the clinical environment,” explains Minnetronix COO Jeremy Maniak. “The tight loop that we have here with client companies and engineering teams is a factor for success.”
Maniak, 41, comes to the executive suite with years of hands-on engineering and R&D experience; he is a named inventor on ten patents. He believes that the competition between Minnesota’s manufacturers has also spurred the region’s reputation and its consistent high level of performance.
Medical device companies and their partner manufacturers compete not only for clients and contracts, but also for top talent. Medical Alley has identified 120 higher education programs in the state that prepare the next generation to work in the medical device industry. They school workers across the spectrum, from one-year, skills-based programs at technical colleges to advanced university degrees in biomedicine.
“These are very good jobs, not only for those who work in engineering or research and development, but also the machinists who make the parts and those who program these high-tech machines,” says Luann Bartley, workforce development director of the Minnesota Precision Manufacturers Association, the trade association that represents the state’s manufacturers. “It is a chain of opportunity for skilled workers.”
It takes thousands of hours to transform a brilliant idea into a medical device that is ready to be prescribed by a physician or implanted by a surgeon. Products conceived and produced in Minnesota ultimately make their way to patients around the globe.
“Most of the people we hire are industry lifers. They come with passion,” says Jeremy Maniak, COO at Minnetronix. “It’s more than putting widgets together the right way for clients. What we do helps people; we remember why we’re in the business. We see that across the groups we work with. That’s part of the culture here.”