The FlexForm Custom Seating System from Tamarack Habilitation Technologies

Keeping it flex

Tamarack Habilitation Technologies makes its orthotic-prosthetic products in Blaine

By Alex Harvison
Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tamarack Habilitation Technologies in Blaine — about 15 miles north of the Twin Cities — is celebrating its 25th year of making orthotic-prosthetic componentry and materials this year. But the company only came about because founder Marty Carlson had a change of heart as a young man.

Previously, Carlson had been a U of M aeronautic engineer working on missile guidance systems. But he decided he’d rather do something that helped people instead. After receiving orthotics and prosthetics training at Northwestern University, he served as director of habilitation technologies at Gillette Children’s Hospital for 16 years before founding Tamarack.

According to CEO Joe Hofmeister, the company’s “first big home run” was the Tamarack Flexure Joint, launched in 1995 and used primarily in upper and lower extremity applications in prosthetic devices, including elbow, wrist-hand, and ankle-foot orthoses.

The company also makes GlideWear-branded products that reduce friction between the skin and a prosthesis, piece of clothing, or wheelchair. With a GlideWear Prosthetic Liner Patch, for example, amputees who suffer from discomfort and recurring skin breakdown can participate in activities they might otherwise avoid.

Tamarack manufactures and packages its products at its main facility in Blaine and at a newer location in Mora, about an hour north. Whenever possible, it sources raw materials and other components from fellow Minnesota companies.