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To Sell Is Human
In February 2012, Eric Olson was named CEO of Amedica Corporation, a manufacturer of reconstructive spinal implants. This opportunity may not have arisen had he not been offered the chance to visit an operating room observation while attending the University of Utah. During the observation, Olson noticed the presence of a sales representative who was on hand to help surgeons properly utilize and implement his medical products.
“The sales rep was essentially telling the operating room staff what to do with his instruments and implants. After seeing that, I immediately wanted to do this job,” Olson says.
After graduating, Olson moved to Las Vegas, where he started his own medical device distribution business. After expanding his business to manage distribution across five of the Intermountain states, he became more interested in the process of manufacturing these devices. He was inspired by the success of Utah entrepreneur James Sorenson, who was known for inventing and patenting several different medical products. “As a sales rep myself, the story about how [Sorenson] went from a sales rep to being a company owner was very appealing to me,” Olson says.
Olson’s management approach is one of focus and accountability. In addition to fostering a collaborative work environment, he emphasizes keeping each of Amedica’s departments focused on individual and company-wide goals. Having gained FDA approval of its silicon nitride spinal implants, Amedica is focused on the manufacture and distribution of that product.
“The most important thing we can do is to provide the best technology for surgeons,” Olson says.
As CEO of Amedica, Olson has a unique perspective on the medical device manufacturing industry in Utah. He believes that the numerous local medical technology companies have the potential to improve Utah’s economy, and has discussed this potential with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “I’ve been very interested to see what my peers and I can do to get the word out about what a great environment Utah is for the development of new technologies,” he says.
In addition bolstering Utah’s economy, Olson believes these companies contribute to one of the best healthcare industries in the world. “I’ve been in surgical procedures all over the world, and there is not a better place for quality of healthcare than here in Utah,” Olson says.