Voices of Minnesota

Pioneers of the Medical Device Industry in Minnesota Oral History Project


DATE: 1995-2001

INTERVIEWERS: Kirk Jeffrey and David Rhees

Minnesota has long been recognized as one of the nation's leaders in nearly all phases of the health care industry, including both medical technology and health care delivery systems. In the course of its development, the health care industry has also become an important component of Minnesota's business community, providing employment for thousands of Minnesotans and products that are distributed across the world.

The Minnesota Historical Society has chosen to document a key segment of this important industry by focusing on the development of medical device technology. As is true in any new industry, the impetus for its founding and development has been provided by people - the people who generated the ideas, designed the products, and created the marketing organizations that form the industry. Some of what they did has been chronicled, but a great deal remains locked in the memories of those who blazed the trails that created today's industrial structure.

Pioneers of the Medical Device Industry in Minnesota captures the unwritten history of the interpersonal relationships and individual, intellectual efforts that have framed the development of the medical technology industry in Minnesota and the nation. A major focus of this project is the founding and growth of the major companies that are important to this history.

The Project includes interviews with a group of key players in the industry's history to date. They were selected in consultation with advisors whose different perspectives on the evolution of medical technology, medical history, and business and organizational history and structure have ensured interviews with both depth and scope. The advisors also helped determine the major topics that formed the basis for the interviews and for research by project staff. Each interview explores the individual narrator's role in the industry and his or her perspective on its growth and development.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEWS: 32 hours 39 minutes

TRANSCRIPTS: 567 pages