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October 1996 Vol. 5 Issue 4


The development of the TALENT spring stent graft project has been the most exciting project I have been involved with since I began working in this field back in 1981- more than 15 years ago.

"Every great and commanding moment in the annals of the world is the triumph of some enthusiasm." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

My wife and I moved to South Florida in 1984 with our 2 year old son, Ryan and only $600 savings and no job. I had left employment with American General Medical Corporation of South Carolina a few weeks earlier. I was the first employee of A.G.M.C. and helped build them up to more than $4 million in annual sales. We slept in a campground our first three weeks here because we could not afford a hotel. With the baby crying and my wife crying and indicating that she wanted to go home to our parents in Minnesota, I asked my wife to give me one more day to find a job. I went to a nearby tree and for the first time in a long time got down on my knees and prayed for help.

I had come to South Florida with hopes to gain a position in the International Marketing Department of Cordis Corporation. The President of this division of Cordis at the time was Richard Spencer, our current Vice President of Sales and Marketing here at World Medical Manufacturing Corporation. Unfortunately, at the time of my arrival in Florida, Cordis had just begun to have some difficulties with their pacemaker business and a hiring freeze had set in.

The next day I received two job offers, one from Anmed and another from IMA Medical Group.

"There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know UNTIL HE HAS TRIED." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In February of 1986 World Medical Corporation, the predecessor of World Medical Mfg. Corp. (1988), was formed in the bedroom of our apartment with one computer, based on a business plan written in 1981. In 1982 Dr. Alexander Balko, a lead researcher of World Medical Mfg. Corp., implanted a covered Nitinol serpentine stent in animals in the U.S.A., the first ever done. This was the predecessor to the TALENT" system of today. We now employ 85 people here in the U.S. and in Ireland, and sell our products in 65 other countries.

Endovascular technologies have the potential to change healthcare substantially. We have proven with recent implants the ability to isolate aneurysms even with NO proximal neck below the renal arteries. This opens up greatly the number of potential patients for endoluminal treatment.

Along the path of going out to the market to "make things happen" with the TALENT" project, I have had the pleasure to come to know some of the most brilliant and impressive people I have ever encountered. The kind reception and listening time I have received from the likes of Juan Parodi, M.D., Michael Dake, M.D., Rodney White, M.D., Barry Katzen, M.D., G. Becker, M.D., T. Buckenham, M.D., P. Fry, M.D., L. Machan, M.D., Gunther, M.D., D. Vorwerk, M.D., W. Stelter, M.D., D. Lammer, M.D., V. Havel, M.D., R. Uflacker, M.D., E. Diethrich, M.D., G. Dorros M.D., M. Wholey, M.D., F. Criado, M.D., F. Veith, M.D. and M. Marin, M.D. has been one of the greatest honors I could imagine.

With this honor comes the responsibility of providing something of value for the time these very busy physicians grant to us.

These gentlemen are at the top of their profession. They have worked long and hard to establish a position of leadership among their peers. Many of them, like Dr. Katzen, began a few decades ago in a much more humble status paying their dues as he did making house calls in the Bronx. They can relate with our humble beginnings.

Our new efforts which combine living, growing cells with synthetic materials we hope will bring the field to another level in the future. In the meantime in the present we are challenging the field to utilize glues and adhesives for endovascular applications. We are finding ways to make graft materials thinner, yet stronger.

This is certainly an exciting and challenging field. It is a great joy just to be involved and to have the opportunity to work with some great people!

Written by Howard J. Leonhardt



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