D. Clark Turner
A Visionary Entrepreneur
By Heather L. King
July 10, 2009
Starting a medical device company was somewhat a daunting, intimidating experience for Dr. D. Clark Turner, CEO and president of Aribex, a company that manufactures portable, battery-powered handheld X-ray devices for the dental and veterinary industries. But he says he overcame it by hiring very experienced people. “So, for a long time, I was the youngest member of my management team,” he says.
But at age 48, Turner has quite a list of accomplishments himself. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a Ph. D in analytical chemistry from Brigham Young University. He led a development team that made part of the optics for one of the European Space Agency’s X-ray telescopes, developed the first X-ray windows for the Mars Pathfinder Rover and built its X-ray spectrometer. He holds seven patents, three of which cover Aribex’s NOMAD and digital NOMAD products. And this spring, Turner was awarded the Utah Technology Council’s Emerging Executive of the Year award.
He’s also taken time to complete several century road bike races with one of his sons and grows apple, peach, pear, cherry and apricot trees on five acres of property. “My wife thinks I’m crazy because I have 48 fruit trees,” Turner laughs. “I love to get out in the yard.”
Perhaps Turner’s greatest accomplishments, though, is still a work in progress. He founded Aribex in 2003 as he developed and patented the NOMAD portable X-ray device after his dentist mentioned the need for a portable X-ray system. “I happened to mention to my dentist that I was doing these miniature X-ray tubes and he said that he was going to be going to Russia to do some humanitarian work and asked if I could make a dental X-ray imaging system,” Turner recalls. “It had to be lightweight and compact and something they could take on the airplane. And that’s where the idea started.”
The original NOMAD met the needs of a niche market, says Turner, and has sold approximately 2,000 units to date. “Our original customers were dentists that were going on humanitarian trips and planning to use it out of the office, but once they started using it they said this would be really cool to have in the office instead of the regular wall-mounted systems.”
The second Aribex product, the NOMAD Pro, which was introduced in July of 2008 is designed to replace traditional X-ray systems used by dentists and veterinarians. “We designed it to look like it was built for the office. It’s much more clinical, much easier to operate with pre-set settings and that sort of thing,” Turner says. There are already more than 1,000 NOMAD Pro units in offices across the country.
Once the digital NOMAD is underway, Turner hopes to turn his attention to international expansion. “I really plan to build and grow this company. We think we can double the size over the next three to four years through taking the products we have to international markets.”