Midmark makes Dayton home

The University of Dayton campus is more than a comfortable place to work for Anne Eiting Klamar and her colleagues.

It’s a place for the chief executive and physician to make her company stronger.

Midmark Corp. — the company which Klamar leads as CEO and president — has completed moving its executive team from Versailles in Darke County to what UD calls its “River Campus,” the former NCR Corp. headquarters in south Dayton.

The company has more than a century of history behind it. But it’s the future that spurred Midmark’s move to Dayton, Klamar said.

“My fear is that what got us here is not going to get us there,” said Klamar, whose family holds an ownership stake in Midmark among other investors.

Midmark has invested seven figures into its new home, anchored by a five-year lease with UD. Klamar talks easily about the immediate benefits of the nearly 50-mile move: A shorter commute for many employees, enough physical space for staff to do their jobs and great views of Carillon Park from the building’s north wing fourth floor, for starters.

Many employees were driving north from Dayton and beyondto Versailles anyway, including the company’s chief operating officer who daily drove from Butler County, an hour and 20 minutes each way.

“For a lot of our teammates, it was, ‘Thanks for bringing us closer to home,’” Klamar said.

The move goes beyond commuting, though. It’s the office’s place as a platform to chart Midmark’s future that excites Klamar more. The provider of medical, dental and veterinary health care equipment faces what Klamar says is a more challenging environment in an industry being reshaped in ways large and small by the Affordable Health Care Act.

In particular, the ACA’s tax on medical devices has imposed a 2.3 percent tax on sales. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the tax will generate $29 billion over 10 years.

The downside from Midmark’s perspective is that the tax touches almost all of its products. “It’s millions of dollars for us,” the CEO said.

“The Affordable Care Act has really disrupted our core medical market,” Klamar said. “It’s not about building exam tables anymore. It’s about providing solutions.”

The company is also taking advantage of the college environment, tapping UD and Wright State University students for interns and tapping sensor and engineering expertise at the University of Dayton Research Institute, which is based in the same River Campus building.

Imagine a cover on a hospital exam bed that measures patient vital signs. That’s the kind of project Midmark is pursuing with UDRI.

Or imagine employees only having to take an elevator ride down one floor for leadership training. Or engineering students tackling a stubborn prototype problem. Or UDRI helping with software testing.

Those kinds of endeavors and more are possible now, Klamar said. She likened the partnerships to “going into a candy store when you’re a child.”

“The students, they have nothing to lose,” she said. “If they want a job here, then we have a great record of what they’ve done and how they’re going to do.”

Midmark’s place on campus is paying off in tangible ways. The company will have a role in UD’s new physician assistant education program. UD students will see and use Midmark equipment as part of that.

Susan Wulff, founding chair and director of UD’s physician assistant training program, said students will use 10 examination rooms, set up like typical family doctors’ offices. Midmark donated the electric beds, along with chairs, counters and cabinets. Wulff could not give a dollar figure for the donation, but called it “significant.”

Electric exam beds lower all the way to the floor to accommodate all kinds of patients, she said.

“Our students are learning how to do things on the best equipment,” Wulff said.

Midmark is also helping with exam room workflow, lending expertise on how furniture and equipment might be arrayed. Ideas about how a bed may be placed, so that a doctor can have eye contact with a patient when she or he enters an exam room, are key, Wulff said.

Midmark’s expertise helps students “to look at the whole picture” in patient care, she said. “We’re really indebted to Midmark.”

The program is a 27-month graduate program, resulting in a “masters of physicians assistant practice” degree, she said. The first semester of training will begin in fall 2014.

Midmark continues to have more than 800 manufacturing and engineering employees in Versailles as well offices in West Chester Twp. in Butler County. Klamar splits her time in all three locations, and also travels to Midmark outposts in Los Angeles, Chicago, Europe, India and Hong Kong.

Midmark has about 1,600 employees worldwide.

But Dayton remains home. Klamar is the daughter of a UD graduate, a member of the UD board of trustees and serves on the Dayton Development Coalition board, as well.

“The consensus among people I’ve spoken with is, this is our home,” Klamar said.

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