Medline Industries is relying on its Redmond workforce to compete in the fast-growing field of medical-device reprocessing.
The company, based in Mundelein, Illinois, is settling into a newly built, $12 million office and manufacturing facility in Redmond’s Desert Rise industrial park, where it employs about 165 people, most of whom are involved in washing, sharpening and testing more than 1,000 different items, from compression sleeves to electronic surgical tools.
“Our people are key because they’re the ones that make the decisions,” said Steve Bettis, vice president of operations at Medline ReNewal, the device reprocessing division.
Medical device reprocessing is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which must approve single-use devices for re-use. Medline and other companies that gather the devices from hospitals and surgery centers become the manufacturers of record, Bettis said. So preparing items to go back into use is a painstaking and heavily documented process.
“It takes a good 15 days to get a device through our process,” he said.
Medline ReNewal is part of a $500 million industry with the potential to grow to $2 billion to $3 billion, according to the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors. The association’s members include Medline ReNewal, Stryker Sustainability Solutions, Hygia Health Services, Innovative Health and Vanguard AG of Germany. Medline also competes with Sterilmed, which is part of Johnson & Johnson, Bettis said.
The local operation became known as Medline ReNewal after Medline, a privately held medical products company, purchased a homegrown company, Medisiss, in 2012.
A substantial part of Medline ReNewal’s business is washing and sterilizing compression sleeves, which prevent blood clots, Bettis said. That process also has to meet FDA standards, so even the laundry is computer-monitored.
The new building, fully occupied in May, replaces a collection of leased facilities and brings Medline ReNewal’s office staff under one roof for the first time, Bettis said.
Medline, which considered moving Medline ReNewal to another state, took advantage of incentives offered by the state of Oregon and Deschutes County in 2015 to keep the division in Redmond. At the time, the company estimated it would invest $7.5 million in the land and a new building at 1500 NE Hemlock Ave. and create 28 new jobs, in addition to the existing 165, according to a 2015 report to the Redmond City Council.
The city spent about $1.35 million to prepare the 12-acre site for development, and it was reimbursed through state transportation and public works grants. Medline will have to repay one or both of those grants if it fails to maintain current positions and add new jobs after five years, according to the 2015 agreement with the city.
The company also received a $28,000 forgivable loan from Deschutes County. Medline would have to repay the loan if it fails to create 28 new jobs by July 27 and retain them for one year, according to a summary of the county’s loan agreements.
Medline declined to comment on its hiring at the new facility so far.
“It is our policy not to share financials,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “What I can tell you though is that we are dedicated to driving economic growth by creating job opportunities in the community.”
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