Leaders in Health Care: Outstanding Achievement in Medical Devices

Dale Spencer, formerly of SciMED and eV3

By Caitlin Hill

Dale Spencer is a busy man in the medical device industry. Throughout his career, he has helped co-found and build more than a dozen medical device companies.

After serving as a pilot in the Air Force for six years, Spencer decided he was ready for a change. He got his MBA and wasn't sure exactly what he wanted to do, but did know he was interested in technology. Spencer wanted to be involved in cutting edge technologies and knew the medical field was a growing industry, so he joined Baxter in 1976. Since then, Spencer has helped co-found and build more than a dozen medical device companies, including SciMED and eV3.

"My goal has always been to develop superior products and develop a team that would be successful, ethical and continuously pushing for improvement and innovation," Spencer says.

After joining SciMED, a surgical products company, in 1980, Spencer was appointed president in 1982. In 1995, Boston Scientific acquired SciMED; Spencer became a member of the board of directors after serving as executive vice-president for two years. When Spencer left in 1999, the company boasted global revenues of more than $450 million. Following his success at SciMED, Spencer co-founded eV3, a publicly held endovascular device company, which SciMED built into a leader in the peripheral vascular business.

Spencer sees the people he has worked with over the years as the key to building a successful business. "More important than the development of the product is the people," he says. "Most people who have worked for me would say that I keep pushing. And I do. The only way you can create companies of true value to society is bring together people and ideas that can do something that improves humanity."

Outstanding Achievement in Medical Devices Finalists

Tony Rubin, Surgical Science

Surgical Science, a developer of high quality tools for the assessment, training and certification of medical professionals, has been bringing successful training platforms to the field since 1999. Using Surgical Science's Virtual Reality simulation technologies, trainees are able to build skills that demonstrate and most importantly, transfer proficiency, from virtual reality to operating suites.

Their first product, LapSim, has become the only virtual reality laparoscopic simulation system to demonstrate the transfer of skills from the virtual environment to the operating room. Today, Surgical Science continues to grow due to their successfully demonstrated training platforms that focus on higher surgical proficiency and patient safety.

Kai Worrell, Worrell Design

Worrell, a Minneapolis-based medical innovation, product development and industrial design firm, has a 35-year history of creating life-changing products, including the Health Information Exchange which allows doctors and clinicians to readily see information about patients with implantable devices. Doctors can also see anything found in an electronic medical record, including lab work, patient charts and more. Similar to a network, it connects hospitals and allows data to flow cross-country.

Worrell Design also worked with the Beacon Community at the University of California, San Diego, co-founding Geneva Healthcare, another patient-sharing information network, which will be expanding nationally in 2013.

[View the full list of the 2012 Leaders in Health Care winners and finalists here]