Bartlett High School Gets Medical Device Shop Grant

With support from the GMMDC, the city of Bartlett and TCAT, Bartlett High School is on its way to developing a new cutting edge medical device shop to develop students for post-secondary opportunities. 

The program was made possible thanks to a more than $200,000 grant  from TCAT that help provide new machinery, shop updates and training to instructors in order to develop a medical device program that will give students a real experience of working in the industry. 

"The goal is to provide juniors and seniors at Bartlett High School experience in a 21st-century medical device shop," said Nathan Garrett, TCAT director of workforce innovation. "Through this program, they will get to see how the industry operates. We believe this program will be a significant feeder program into post-secondary programs."

Garrett said the city of Bartlett made significant contributions to make the program possible in Bartlett. 

The new and improved shop is scheduled to open for students October 17. 

Apprenticeship Working Group

For the past few months, a dedicated group of individuals from across the Memphis Medical Device spectrum have worked together to create something truly unique.  

Representatives from Wright Medical, Microport, Smith and Nephew, Odyssey, Titan, and Onyx have worked to define the skills needed by the future employees of an industry that is crucial to the economic health of the Greater Memphis Area.

Coming together for a few hours each week, they have helped to develop the structure of an Apprenticeship program that will develop the skilled machinists that will produce all variety ofOrthopaedic and Spinal implants and instruments.

What makes this group so unique is that their companies are competitors in the marketplace but are collaborating together to address a critical shortage of skilled employees needed to produce products that are in high demand.

Using an Apprenticeship structure created by NIMS, the National Institute of Metalworking Standards, this Apprenticeship Working Group has defined the Entry Level Skills needed to enter the GMMDC Apprenticeship Program and has reviewed and approved the NIMS skillsets for the entire Apprenticeship program.  They have also defined a set of skills that go beyond the NIMS standards that include state of the art advanced technologies that need to be mastered to produce the complex products required by the industry.

In addition to the skills needed within the Apprenticeship program, the Working Group also developed processes for individuals to apply for entry into the program, and also how individuals accepted into the program would be matched up with GMMDC member companies needing Apprentices.

The work was done without compromising any intellectual property of the member companies and helped create a healthy respect for the professionalism that exists within these companies that compete in the market but have worked together to address a common need.

Members of the GMMDC Apprenticeship Working Group are:

  • Jerry West – Wright Medical
  • Joel Robinson – Microport
  • Billy Hogue – Smith and Nephew
  • Joey Greenwell – Smith and Nephew
  • Patrick Gilmore – Onyx Medical
  • David Nelms – Odyssey Medical
  • Randy Ransdell – Odyssey Medical
  • Robert Kenyon – Titan Medical
  • Roy Smith – GMMDC Executive Director

GMMDC Executive Director Roy Smith continues to get the word out on Medical Device Industry training needs

GMMDC executive director Roy Smith has spent the last few weeks furiously getting the word out on the training needs of GMMDC members. 

Smith said he used the opportunity to meet with several local vocational institutions along with an appearance on WKNO's Behind the Headlines, all in the name of bringing awareness of GMMDC's mission. 

"We’re committed to working with Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Moore Tech College of Technology, Arkansas State University Mid-South, Southwest Tennessee Community College and others to collaboratively work together to develop individuals to meet the needs of GMMDC members," Smith said. 

Smith has also been working with the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce over the past few weeks to determine how the current workforce can meet GMMDC members' needs. 

"We’re helping  GMAC to understand the specific needs by skillset of the Medical Device industry so we can gauge the pipeline of skills development that needs to be in place," he said. 

 Beyond these meeting, Smith also attended a ceremony at ASU Mid-South  to help them celebrate the accreditation of their facility by the National Institute of Metalworking Standards.  ASU Mid-South has also been certified to the “Right Skills Now” curriculum which is a fast-track method of developing individuals with a solid toolkit of entry-level skills for a machining career. 


Global medical device and precision technology leader to invest $12 million, create 280 new jobs

NASHVILLE Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd along with Olympus officials announced today the company will construct a new East Coast national service and distribution center in Bartlett Corporate Park.

Olympus will invest $12 million in the facility, which will operate as a service and distribution center for a variety of Olympus medical equipment and devices such as endoscopes, surgical devices and generators, and create 280 new jobs in Shelby County.

“We thank Olympus for its continued investment in Shelby County and for helping Tennessee be a global leader in the healthcare and medical device sector,” Haslam said. “This expansion will create new opportunities for hundreds of West Tennessee families. We congratulate Olympus as we continue our work to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“Today’s announcement represents the largest jobs commitment made by a company in Bartlett since 2000,” Boyd said. “To have a company like Olympus that is known around the world for its innovative medical devices choose Bartlett for its new national service center speaks volumes to Tennessee’s thriving healthcare industry. We appreciate the jobs Olympus is creating for our Team Tennessee workforce and look forward to seeing the company’s continued success.”

The Bartlett facility will be Olympus’ second national service center with the company’s first location residing in San Jose, Calif. The decision to build a second national service center was based on Olympus’ need for additional capacity to handle the growth expectations in the service, supply chain and logistics areas of its medical business. Construction is expected to begin this spring.

"In addition to unparalleled products, we strive to provide world-class service to our healthcare customers every day. Our future Bartlett service and distribution center will further enable this goal as we take advantage of the unique logistics and transportation capabilities in the Memphis area, benefit from close proximity to our customers in the eastern United States, and enhance our ability to expedite turnaround times," Nacho Abia, president and CEO of Olympus Corporation of the Americas said. "On behalf of my colleagues in our growing medical devices business, I am very much looking forward to expanding our operations in the Bartlett community and creating jobs to be filled with the area’s skilled workforce.”

Olympus is a global company with its headquarters, Olympus Corporation, based in Tokyo, Japan. Olympus Corporation of the Americas a wholly owned subsidiary of Olympus Corporation – manages the company’s operations and business activities throughout North and South America.

Local leaders and partners expressed gratitude to Olympus for its decision to expand in Bartlett and create new jobs in West Tennessee.

“We are so excited to have the additional 280 new jobs over the next five years,” Bartlett Mayor A. Keith McDonald said. “We are blest to have Olympus in Bartlett and we know they will attract many other good paying jobs and other companies to Bartlett and this area. We look forward to contributing to their success and the many great opportunities they will bring here.”

"This is another indication that companies see the advantage of expanding their businesses in our community. This is welcomed news for Shelby County," Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr. said.

“TVA and Memphis Light Gas and Water congratulate Olympus on its decision to expand in Bartlett, Tennessee and create additional job opportunities,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley. “We are proud to partner with Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce, Bartlett Industrial Development Board, city of Bartlett and Shelby County, to facilitate the growth of existing companies in our region, furthering TVA’s mission of service to attract and retain quality jobs in the Valley.”

“This announcement is great news for Bartlett, Shelby County and the state and comes at a very fitting time as Bartlett celebrates its 150th anniversary this year,” Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce President John Threadgill said. A lot of folks from both the public and private sectors have been working hard to develop and promote our community as a medical device leader. This announcement signifies the continuing success of our efforts.

Olympus will begin accepting online applications once positions have been posted and plans to begin hiring this summer/fall.

Bartlett and Shelby County are represented by Sen. Mark Norris (R Collierville), Sen. Brian Kelsey (R Germantown), Sen. Reginald Tate (D Memphis), Sen. Lee Harris (D – Memphis), Sen. Sara Kyle (D Memphis), Rep. Jim Coley (R Bartlett), Rep. Ron Lollar (R Bartlett), Rep. Steve McManus (R Cordova), Rep. Curry Todd (R Collierville), Rep. Mark White (R Memphis), Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D Memphis), Rep. Karen Camper (D Memphis), Rep. Barbara Cooper (D Memphis), Rep. John DeBerry (D Memphis), Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D Memphis), Rep. Larry Miller (D Memphis), Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D Memphis), Rep. Joe Towns (D Memphis) and Rep. Johnnie Turner (D Memphis) in the Tennessee General Assembly.

About Olympus

Olympus is a global medical device and precision technology leader focused on enhancing people’s lives every day through innovative solutions in its core business areas of Medical and Surgical Products, Scientific Solutions, and Cameras and Audio Recorders. Olympus Corporation of the Americas a wholly owned subsidiary of Olympus Corporation in Tokyo, Japan is headquartered in Center Valley, Pennsylvania and employs more than 5,000 people across North and South America. For more information, visit Olympus at

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Team Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Tennessee is the only three-time winner of “State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine. Find us on the web: Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook:


MDMA, AdvaMed and MITA Applaud Congress for Passage of the Medical Device Tax Suspension

Washington, D.C. – The Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA), the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) and the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) today applauded Congress for passage of the two year suspension of the medical device excise tax in year-end legislation.

“MDMA thanks the tireless, bipartisan leadership in Congress that achieved this important milestone on the road towards permanently repealing the medical device tax,” said MDMA Chairman Scott Huennekens, President & CEO of Verb Surgical. “MDMA has fought against this misguided policy since it was first proposed in 2009, and while suspension of the medical device tax is a positive step, we will remain focused on repealing a policy that only serves to punish a vital sector of America’s innovation ecosystem.”

“America’s medical technology companies, including our nearly 2 million employees and the countless patients we serve, appreciate the broad bipartisan effort to suspend the medical device tax. This critical relief would not be possible without the tireless efforts by a large group of champions in Congress as well as among the patient, provider and research communities. Congress and the administration have demonstrated that they recognize the negative effects of this tax. We urge policymakers to continue their work to eliminate the device tax and address other factors that are threatening the health care innovation ecosystem,” said AdvaMed Board Chairman Vincent A. Forlenza, chairman, CEO and president of BD.

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Krause pledges support to medical device training

Tennessee executive director of the Drive to 55 and Tennessee Promise initiatives, Mike Krause, attended the November meeting of the MGMMDC where he pledge his support of the Council’s efforts to develop an industry specific training program. 

Krause said the training for medical device industry is key to providing secondary education options to Tennesseean that will lead to jobs. 

Krause has lead the implementation and launch of the Tennessee Promise program and oversee all Drive to 55 efforts, including the statewide Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support (SAILS) early math remediation program, online innovation initiatives, Degree Compass expansion, adult student analytics and research, veteran education efforts, and the development of post-secondary scorecards.

Tennessee Promise commits to providing two years of community college or a college of applied technology (TCAT) absolutely free of tuition and fees to graduating high school seniors beginning with the class of 2015.

It is the signature component of Haslam’s Drive to 55 push to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with post-secondary credentials to 55 percent by the year 2025.

The GMMDC Board presented to Krause an outline of what it felt was needed to adequately address the education and training requirements for the industry. Though the program is still a work in progress, and thus no details were provided, Krause did indicate that the Governor is very much aware of the industry’s importance to the State’s economy and wants to work with the Council. In addition to Krause, Tennessee Senate Majority Leader, Mark Norris and House Education Committee Chairman, Mark White were also in attendance. Both men have closely monitored the actions of the GMMDC and stand ready to assist in whatever way they can.    



Study finds medical device industry accounts for more than $2.6 billion in economic impact


BARTLETT, TENN., November 17, 2015 — The medical device industry accounts for nearly 17,000 jobs and has a local economic impact of more than $2.6 billion, according to a study released today by the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council. 

“The results of this study make clear what we already knew, that the medical device industry is a significant economic driver in Shelby County,” said Gene Baker, GMMDC Chairman, and Smith & Nephew vice president. “What we hope these details will shed light on is, despite minimal investment in medical device manufacturing workforce development, the industry provides some of the best career opportunities in our community. 

“With the help of our partners, it is the mission of the GMMDC to create meaningful training programs and continue to foster the growth of an industry that makes up nearly 4 percent of the total GDP of Shelby County.”

The study, made possible by a grant from the Economic Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County (EDGE), used data surveyed from 50-area medical device companies and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. 

Prepared by economic impact consultants Younger and Associates, the report found that medical device industry in Shelby County accounts for $2,66 billion in economic impact, 16,823 direct and indirect jobs, $1.2 billion in wages and more than $46 million in local property taxes. 

“When we start planning the creation of the GMMDC, we knew that completing this study would be key to educating the community on how important the medical device industry is to Shelby County,” said John Threadgill, President and CEO of the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce. “But this study is not about what we have, it’s existence is to make it clear that we can grow this incredible economic resource by making investments in developing a competitive workforcethat can fill the jobs this industry will create in the future.”

According to the study, medical device manufacturing jobs in Shelby County had an average wage of $88,660, 66 percent higher than the average wage for Shelby County. 

“Shelby County needs a workforce with the skills the medical device industry requires, both today and in the future,” said Glen Fenter, Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce president. “If we focus our resources on building the workforce the medical device industry needs in the future, imagine what we can grow $2.6 billion to.” 


About the GMMDC

The vision of the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council is to strengthen job growth through the development of a world-class comprehensive workforce that serves the Memphis area biomedical industry.

About the GMACW

The Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW) was created to build a pipeline of high-skilled workers to address the needs of businesses in the Mid-South area. Its two-prong strategy focuses on providing employers access to the quality workforce they need to compete and citizens access to the skills they need to get great jobs. Through the collaboration of its partner organizations, the alliance works every day to build career pathways between the unemployed and the area’s open high-skill positions.

GMACW serves the nine counties of the Memphis metropolitan area to connect employers with training and hiring resources, create employer-driven training programs centered around career pathways, and support students and job candidates through career exploration and training. Simply put, GMACW envisions employers having the talent they need to compete and the people the skills they need to get good jobs.


John Threadgill

(901) 372-9457


GMMDC Welcomed to New Home

Media Contact:

Bartlett Area Chamber 901.372.9457

BARTLETT, Tenn., June 15, 2015, — The Greater Memphis Medical Device Council (GMMDC) was officially welcomed to their new home at a dedication ceremony and Open House on Monday evening. The Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the event in its newly renovated space that will serve as the Council’s Board Room and Conference Center for activities pertaining to the advancement of a sustainable workforce pipeline into the medical device industry.

The Bartlett Chamber has been working over the years with representatives of the industry and helped launch the creation of the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council (GMMDC) in July 2014. The GMMDC is a 501c6 organization - The mission of the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council is to create a successful collaboration among biomedical member companies to identify shared employee development needs. This industry led initiative will guide an educational structure to effectively close the respective skills gap for all levels of biomedical careers.  

The renovation was made possible by a grant from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) which recognizes the contribution GMMDC makes toward the growth of this dynamic industry for Memphis and the region.  Mike Marshall, Alternate Federal Co-Chairman of DRA attended the ceremony and spoke of his organization’s support of the Council and its efforts, and how delighted DRA was, to be a part of this initiative. He pledged that the DRA will continue as a partner with the GMMDC.

Shelby County Mayor Luttrell spoke of the importance of the industry to the regional economy and the need to establish a sustainable workforce for the industry to prosper. Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald echoed those sentiments and stressed the community’s desire to see the industry grow and he reiterated the support of Bartlett City Schools in working with the Council.

EDGE Chairman Al Bright was recognized for his organization’s continued support of the Bartlett Chamber’s medical device initiative. GMMDC Chairman, Gene Baker, who is also VP of Operations for Smith & Nephew, was on hand to address the guests and thanked them for their interest and support of the Council and emphasized the Council’s commitment in achieving its goal. He stated that his, and all GMMDC members, involvement is predicated on the belief that what they are doing will bring beneficial results to the industry.

Ted Townsend, Chief of Staff for the Tenn. Dept. of Economic & Community Development, has been a strong advocate and supporter for the Bartlett Chamber’s medical device initiative over the years. The creation of the GMMDC has been highly noticed in Nashville by his department and the Governor’s office. Townsend told the guests the importance the State places on the medical device industry and how it is considered to be one of the leading growth industries for Tennessee. He also emphasized that medical devices is the largest exporting industry in Tennessee.

The highlight of the program was presenting an appreciation plaque to the four institutions primarily responsible for the renovation:

  1. Delta Regional Authority which provided the grant – represented by Mike Marshall, Co-Chairman

  2. Memphis Area Assoc. of Governments which facilitated the grant – represented by Ralph Moore, CEO

  3. A2H which designed and oversaw construction – represented by Mark Askew, CEO

  4. Yuletide Office Solutions that provided the furniture – represented by Chris Miller, CEO

The GMMDC is currently comprised of 23 members and represent over 5200 employees in the Memphis MSA.


Shelby County Medical Device Manufacturers Form the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council

Bartlett, TN—On Thursday, July 17, representatives from 17 medical device manufacturers throughout Shelby County met in Bartlett to do something unprecedented within the medical device industry—form an incorporated not-for-profit association to address workforce needs and other issues that are critically important for the health of the industry.

“Today, we do not have a united voice for our industry,” commented Gene Baker, Vice President of Operations for Smith & Nephew, when he addressed the group.  “If you look across the country in areas that have successful business sectors, they typically have a forum like this.  We won’t become as successful as we could be without a forum like this.”

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Bartlett Mayor A. Keith McDonald opened the meeting by each addressing the group.  “We need to focus on what we can do collectively to make us stronger,” said Mayor Luttrell.  “We, as a county, need to embrace this technology and do what we can to promote it.”  

Pledging their support, both mayors stated that the best they can do to help is to remove obstacles and to listen to the needs of the industry through the unified voice of the council.

“We’re fortunate to have about 10 medical device companies here in the [Bartlett] city limits, employing about 500 people, and we’re committed to try to provide you with an educated workforce,” said Mayor McDonald.  “In starting this new school system, one of the things that the new school board, the new superintendent, and I are in harmony on is the STEM initiative—starting children when they’re young to understand that mathematics, engineering, technology, and science and the importance of that.”

Over the past decade, Shelby County has emerged as Tennessee’s medical device corridor and is the second largest cluster of medical device companies in North America – second only to Warsaw, Indiana. Currently, more than 40 life science companies operate in the area, the majority of which are in northeast Shelby County. These companies are one of the region’s largest employing industries, so a properly skilled workforce and a career pipeline dedicated to sustaining the skill sets required in the medical device industry are vital for the industry’s growth and the area’s economy.  

“There were 18,000 unfilled jobs in Shelby County last year because we didn’t have a qualified workforce,” said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. While the medical device industry only accounted for a portion of those jobs, it’s a trend that has continued over the past few years and has been of concern to the industry.

“The medical device industry is not only a significant employer in terms of number of jobs in Shelby County but also in the quality of jobs,” commented Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce President John Threadgill. “The industry coming together to talk is the first step in really making some progress for the greater good of the industry—and for the community.”

In the fall of 2011, the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce, which has a strong focus on economic development in the area, conducted a study to determine the strengths and challenges facing the medical device industry. Many of the companies who attended the meeting on Thursday participated in the survey.  Two primary concerns were identified as potential threats to the industry’s viability: 1) over-regulation and 2) lack of a standard training and recruitment program for skilled workers. A third item identified by the economic development community was a lack of cohesion within the industry which weakens it in the public policy arena.

Onyx Medical Corporation’s President, Jodie Gilmore, addressed the group on Thursday regarding the survey results.  “Ultimately, we are unified in our need for an effective and sustainable pipeline for employees and employee development across the board from entry level to senior level positions.”  

Gilmore continued, “We all have the same needs.  Let’s come together, let’s share those needs and leverage the infrastructure that is already out there – the technical schools, the local colleges and universities, the continuing education programs—and literally, provide a roadmap for how they can help create successful employees in support of our industry and our community.”

Because of the study’s results, the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce worked closely over the past two years with a medical device steering committee. From the committee, a task force was created comprised of three original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and four suppliers to identify their specific needs and how to best address the common impediments affecting their growth and prosperity. The result was a template for a standard curriculum and the task force’s recommendation to form an incorporated not-for-profit 501c(6)  medical device council to ensure that the workforce needs were being addressed.

At Thursday’s meeting, 17 medical device companies made it official and agreed to form the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council and voted on a nine-member board of directors to oversee the council.  Gene Baker with Smith & Nephew was elected chairman of the board; Jodie Gilmore with Onyx Medical Corporation as chairman-elect; and Stan McKee with Medtronic as secretary-treasurer.

The council’s main objective is to address the workforce issue along with helping direct government and education policy toward a more productive pipeline of skill sets to grow the industry and jobs.   

“The vision of the medical device council is to strengthen job growth through the development of a world-class comprehensive workforce that serves the greater Memphis area biomedical industry,” said Chairman of the Board Gene Baker.

The council will also review legislation and government policies that may have an adverse impact on the industry’s growth and sustainability and is further responsible for initiating programs that benefit the overall industry through education, innovation, and technology and career-path curriculums.

“We are all excited about forming the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council to more successfully collaborate as an industry, identify shared employee development needs and guide an educational structure that will effectively close the respective skills gap for all levels of biomedical careers,” said Chairman-elect Jodie Gilmore. “We must thank the Bartlett Area Chamber, which has been such a strong catalyst in this effort and for which we are very grateful.”

The charter members of the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council are Ariste Medical, Inc.; Big River Engineering ; Bioventus, LLC; Enteroptyx, Inc.; Innovision, Inc.; MB Innovations, Inc.; Medtronic; MicroPort Orthopedics; Gyrus ACMI, Inc.; Onyx Medical Corporation; Restore Medical Solutions, LLC; Smith & Nephew; Surface Dynamics LLC; Titan Medical, LLC; Wright Medical Technology, Inc; Y&W Technologies; and Zimmer Spine.

Both Baker and Gilmore encouraged the group to set their sights high. “We can affect change, and it’s going to start today. Ultimately, coming together for the benefit of the whole industry—this is an important catalyst for the Memphis metropolitan area and beyond,” stated Gilmore.

Baker took it a step further commenting, “The medical device business is a clean, fast growing industry that helps people restore their lives. There is no reason Memphis cannot be the medical device capital of the world. The greater Memphis area has key advantages today such as a favorable tax structure and a relatively low cost of living. When we combine this strong base with a united medical device voice, a highly trained workforce, and favorable government policy, there will be no reason the greater Memphis area cannot become the world’s capital for medical devices—at a minimum, we should be the U.S. capital for our industry.”