For November’s Innovators of the Month, The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana selected a Valparaiso manufacturer known as a problem-solver in creating innovative medical devices.
This issue of “Innovators of the Month” highlights Omnitech Systems of Valparaiso, a manufacturer of medical devices and a team member of The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. This edition is designed to provide inspiring stories for use by the media about individuals and teams from our 2012 – 2013 Class. Our innovators are inducted from Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Porter, Newton, Pulaski and Starke Counties. The Society is part of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center of Ivy Tech Community College Northwest. For information, contact O’Merrial Butchee, Director, Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, Assistant Director, at (219) 981-1111, Ext. 2292.
Launched by founder Gregg VanDusseldorp Sr., Omnitech Systems has begun a new era in which a trained team of younger innovators are learning to “create forward” in making intricate devices for the urological and gynecological markets, said Jon D. Barrett, executive vice president. “A guiding principle that Gregg taught us is to produce products that we would envision for our mothers, brothers or sisters,” he said.
This Society Team Member has just completed a six-month launch of one of Gregg’s designs from concept to market. It’s the Tri-Claw 3 Wire Grasper™, and this patented accessory is designed to help physicians remove kidney stones faster, accelerating the procedure and often patient recovery. Both Gregg, who is now semi-retired, and Kelly Pickering, his partner have passed on “…the knowledge, the passion and processes needed to make the highest quality products,” Jon added. Launched in 1994, Omnitech has grown into one of the nation’s premiere designers, developers and manufacturers of over 200 products, although many are similar in intended use. These accessories are typically placed in other medical devices used by physicians for procedures.
Their products are sold to large distributors like C.R. Bard, Cook Urological, and other companies that often sell them globally under their own label. Some products are commercially available but most are patented. Increasingly the new team is developing its own technological breakthroughs and other commercial offerings. Sometimes, proprietary products are distributed through UroGyn Medical Inc. led by Kelly. “We have to continue to innovate with new products,” Jon added. Another distinguishing characteristic is the workforce. It started by hiring people from shelters, and today, a unique family culture has evolved in which single moms and others who may face challenges work. “We are a business first,” Jon said, “but we want to help those willing to learn by passing on the knowledge they need to grow.” Full health insurance plus other benefits are available, along with educational options. All this makes Omnitech a model for those looking to the next generation of leaders, managers and skilled workers for sustainability.