Howard Samuels: What do you enjoy most about working at Advanced Bionics?
Cedric Navarro: The patients. I’ve been involved in the medical device industry for the past 20 years. Before that I worked in aerospace, in defense, at a missile company! I changed my life from designing things that have the potential to harm people to things that help people. Really there is nothing more profound than knowing that all of the time you spend and devote makes people hear. I’ve worked on devices for neurostimulation and pain management and other areas and it just doesn’t have the emotional payback that you get from working with our patients.
Tracey Kruger: Definitely the people. I am an audiologist by background, and spent several years working with cochlear implants in a clinical setting before coming to Advanced Bionics in 2000. As you know, we have an active program at AB where recipients come in on a regular basis to help us to develop new products. They provide input regarding products that we are working on to tell us how well they work and what needs to be improved. I am always amazed at the altruism that drive most of these individuals to help in this manner. Most just want to give back and assist others who will receive a cochlear implant.
Although I don’t get to spend as much time participating in these activities as I would like, it is really rewarding to see the impact new products can have on recipients of our technology. It is this positive impact on real lives that keeps so many employees at AB long-term and why we are so passionate about what we do.
One great example is a 2-year old girl who visited us with her family a couple of weeks ago. She was implanted at a very young age and has age-appropriate language already at the age of two years. I saw her running around playing with her brothers, one of whom also has a CI and is doing extremely well, and she has a totally different life than she would have had, in terms of her ability to verbally express herself and to hear those around her. Her situation is totally different than if she hadn’t received a cochlear implant.
Another wonderful aspect of working at AB is the people who work here – most don’t consider what we do just a job. It is very inspiring to work alongside so many talented and caring individuals who work in our company because they care about making a difference.
It’s an incredible feeling you get when you contribute to something that helps other people, and having a chance to make the technology better. Everybody within these walls has an opportunity to make the cochlear implant better and that is really motivating!
CN: One of the other things that really set Advanced Bionics apart in terms of drive for the quality of our products and our systems, is an internal program that we call ‘Connect To Patient’. It’s a unique program where we bring recipients of our cochlear implants into the company on a regular basis and they talk to employees about the experiences they have with the products and services provided by AB. It’s open to all employees from manufacturing personnel to design engineers and customer service employees.
We don’t only bring in those individuals who are our highest success stories, we also bring in people and families who have had issues for one reason or another. Their stories really resonate with employees and remind them about the importance of what it is we do and why we are here.
HS: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. We appreciate your honest and open responses.
This interview and subsequent transcription from the recording was conducted entirely using Advanced Bionics cochlear implants.