What does the Spartan Shield mean to you?
One of the definitions of the word shield is a “person or thing that provides protection”. To me, that means taking care of the people around you. A company can have the greatest products in the world, and yet still struggle to succeed because they don’t protect their people. I have seen this first hand and it holds companies back from reaching their full potential. As one of the leaders at Spartan, taking care of our people is my number one priority. That involves making sure everyone understands and buys into our mission here at Spartan. It means getting everyone to work together as a team and helping each other out. We have an unwritten rule at Spartan that every document gets a second set of eyes before going out, and we have some incredible brainstorming sessions in our main conference room. This type of teamwork helps promote a culture that we are all in this together and everyone is contributing.
How do you implement the Spartan Shield into your daily activities?
Most of the big companies focus on one thing and one thing only, hitting your sales goal. They never spend time investing in their people, which to me is the company’s most important asset. Taking the time to find out what makes each person unique and different and how that makes our team stronger is something we try to implement at Spartan, and has helped shape our culture. We try to look at each person individually and bring out their strengths and unique characteristics, as opposed to making everyone sound and look the same. The big companies turn out robots that sell widgets, we turn out individuals that are sales consultants.
How do you think the company can enhance the Spartan Shield?
I believe it starts at the top. We must set good examples for everyone. We try to show good work habits and demonstrate that if you put the time in, the reward will follow. We have never asked anything of our employees that we on the executive team have not done. We must continue to invest in our people, both professionally and personally. We always talk about the direction of the company, what new products we have, or new companies we are partnering with to keep everyone up to speed on what goes on behind the scenes. To enhance the Spartan Shield, we must provide them with a clear guidance as to the direction of the company so they can feel empowered to help grow the company. We also employ nameless, rankless feedback with all our people and this gives our people the power and the freedom to speak their minds without fear of being criticized. This “open door” policy gives everyone a sense of belonging, and gives our people a feeling that what they do makes a difference in the company.
How did you become the Director of Global Sales for Spartan Medical?
I began my career in medical device sales by joining MedRep, an up-and-coming distributor in the Orthopedic world. The company was awarded “distributor of the year”, as well as highlighting me as the Salesman of the Year.
Our company represented everything for the sports medicine surgeon, and we also represented one of the world’s leading instrument companies. On the Orthopedic side of the company, the product range was quite extensive; Shoulder anchors, ACL reconstruction and meniscal repair systems for the sports medicine surgeons, power equipment and implants for the total joint surgeons, and arthroscopy towers for the hospitals and surgery centers. We also sold the first digital X-ray system on the market to both hospitals and private practices. On the instrument side of the company, we sold pumps for OB-GYN surgery, endoscopes for all types of endoscopic surgery, as well as new technology for liposuction cases with plastic surgeons.
Towards the end of my time at MedRep, our company started to acquire new spinal technology for spinal procedures. After my interest started to be more focused in the spinal market, I decided to go to work for Nuvasive, a new player in the well-established, over crowded spine market. Nuvasive invented and developed the lateral approach to the spine. This new approach was quickly adopted by many spine surgeons and changed the way surgeons could address both big deformity cases and simple, one or two level cases. Nuvasive eventually expanded their product portfolio to address all types of pathologies from the cervical spine down to the sacrum. The training program at Nuvasive was one of the best and most challenging in the industry. Their philosophy was to become a resource for the surgeon to rely on, not just a sales rep counting screws during a surgery.
After thousands of cases and gaining a large variety of experience, I left to join Spartan Medical, mainly because I saw the vision that Spartan Medical had in bringing the best-in-class technology to our Veterans. I started at Spartan Medical as a Senior Spine Specialist, working daily with spine surgeons in the military and local civilian hospitals. I then became the Director of Spinal Technologies, and began to train and develop our spine associates. I was also working closely with manufacturers to help develop new products and we were very close to having our own Spartan branded pedicle screw system.
Our priorities changed when we were awarded the National Biologics Contract for the VA hospitals. I transitioned over to the Director of Global Sales, and now basically oversee everything related to sales for the company. One of my main responsibilities is finding and hiring new, talented people.
In this role, I’m always looking for people who can hit the ground running and be able to take on new responsibilities. With the team that we have put in place, we have been able to grow year after year, setting new sales records every year. We have also been able to partner with some of the best new companies in the industry and add their products to our ever-growing portfolio. The one thing that stands out to me is how we have been able to take a team that has a very diverse background and mold them into true sales consultants. We have a good mix of Veterans and civilians, and this gives us the best of both worlds. We can incorporate many of the principles from the military, which I believe helps shape our company’s culture, and we are able to bring the experience and knowledge from the business world.