From Dreams To Devices
April 5, 2023 •TZ Medical
How TZ Medical brings great ideas to life.
Every great company starts with a single good idea. For TZ Medical, that idea came from a vascular surgeon who, in the late 1980s, dreamed up a product he hoped would revolutionize the medical industry by controlling bleeding after dialysis procedures. Our soon-to-be founder, Tom Tribou, helped bring the physician’s product to market, shepherding that brilliant spark of an idea through the manufacturing process and all the way to distribution.
Watching that spark become reality lit the tinder of Tom’s entrepreneurial spirit. In 1990, he sat down in a Portland coffee shop to plan the course of his new company, TZ Medical. Under its banner, Tom hoped to help more physicians, nurses, and technologists bring their dreams of new medical devices off the drawing board and into the lab, making patients’ lives easier along the way.
On that first day, Tom made two bedrock decisions. The first was that TZ Medical would turn the paradigm of medical equipment manufacturing on its head by taking the time to listen to medical professionals on the front lines — like the surgeon who started it all — and meet their needs directly. The second was that it would keep its products at value prices to ensure those bright ideas made their way into the hands of critical-care medical professionals as quickly as possible. With those goals in mind, Tom set out in search of more ideas, and TZ Medical’s portfolio of devices for the cardiac cath lab, electrophysiology, and interventional radiology labs grew from a handful to a host.
A few years ago, TZ Medical was purchased by Trent (Tom’s son) and John (Tom’s son-in-law), but the company’s Core Values and family-based culture continue to be the guiding principles of our success. Today, we help innovators by designing prototypes of their devices, developing them, and putting them on the market. Each spark is run through a competitive selection process and has to get approval from our advisory board of cath lab staff from all over the country before it’s handed off to our 13-strong team of engineers. We specialize in Class 1 and 2 FDA-approved products and focus on unique, problem-solving “sparks” that we think could make a real difference in people’s lives. Once one of our devices hits the market, the inventor earns a royalty on the gross sales, and doctors and patients get a bit more confidence and peace of mind.
Though we aim to release four products each year, in 2019, we’ve been ahead of schedule, dropping five groundbreaking devices into the market in just seven months. We’re proud of everything we produce, but we’re particularly excited about our latest release, StandTall. Designed by an interventional radiologist out of Nebraska, it’s an external vascular sheath extender that conveniently redirects workflow to the right side of the table during left radial artery procedures. Using one makes the process more comfortable for patients, who can pronate their hand during the procedure, and physicians, who can “stand tall” instead of stooping uncomfortably and battling left-arm drift.
Those small improvements change lives, and for Trent and the rest of us on the TZ Medical team, it’s that positive impact on the world that makes our work fulfilling. It’s fun to partner with healthcare professionals who may not have the resources to bring their own products to market and help make their dreams a reality. Even better, we’ve found that because cath labs nationwide face the same problems, we’re able to elevate an innovation out of Nebraska to help physicians across the country.
Everything we do is sparked by ideas from professionals like you, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.