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DMD Conference Awards

The conference award has been established to honor those persons who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the Medical Devices Community over a sustained period. The recipient has a history of contribution to the common good, growth and excellence of the medical device enterprise in this region.

Conference Awardees:

Just HerderStephen N. Oesterle, M.D. (2017 Awardee)

Dr. Stephen Oesterle currently serves as an advisor to several private equity groups and operating companies in the healthcare industry including New Enterprise Associates, Temasek Holdings, Samsung and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Oesterle recently retired from Medtronic plc, the world’s largest medical device company. He joined Medtronic’s executive committee in 2002 as Senior Vice President for Medicine and Technology. In this role he provided leadership for Medtronic scientific research, formation of technological strategies and continued development of strong cooperative relationships with the world's medical communities, technical universities, financial institutions and emerging medical device companies.

Previously, Dr. Oesterle served as Associate Professor of Medicine at the Harvard University Medical School and as Director of Invasive Cardiology Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. A teacher and innovator in the field of interventional cardiology, he has also developed and directed interventional cardiology programs at Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles; at Georgetown University; and at Stanford University.

Dr. Oesterle is a 1973 summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College and received his medical doctorate with honors from Yale University in 1977. He completed his internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and served as a post-doctoral fellow in interventional cardiology at Stanford.

Dr. Oesterle resides in Minneapolis with his wife Adrienne and two children.


Just HerderSusan Alpert, PhD (2015 Awardee)

Susan Alpert, PhD, MD is currently the principle of SFA Consulting LLC, a one person firm focused on the strategies needed to place medical devices into the global market. Dr. Alpert joined Medtronic in July 2003 as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance. She was Senior Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs at her retirement in May, 2011 and in this role was responsible for all Medtronic global regulatory policy efforts. Prior to joining Medtronic, Susan served C.R. Bard, Inc., as Vice President of Regulatory Sciences. She also previously worked at the FDA where she held a variety of positions in the Centers dealing with drugs, devices and radiological health, and foods, including six years as the Director of the Office of Device Evaluation. She is a microbiologist and pediatrician with a specialty in infectious diseases and has practical experience in laboratory research and clinical trials.

Susan is Chairperson of the board of SWHR (Society for Women’s Health Research), an organization promoting research on gender differences in health and disease, and has served on the board of the Food Drug Law Institute (FDLI), a forum for the FDA and the legal, business, academic and consumer communities to exchange perspectives on public policy, law and regulation relating to products subject to FDA jurisdiction. She served on the board of advisors for the Medical Technology Leadership Forum (MTLF), an educational organization focused on policy makers, the general public, and the media regarding critical issues affecting the development and adoption of advanced medical technology. In addition, Susan served on the board of the Women Business Leaders (WBL), an organization of women leaders in the health care sector and on the board of the Minnesota International Center. She is also a past Chair of the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society and a Fellow in that society. Susan served on the Executive Committee of the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI), one of the public/private partnerships working with the FDA to streamline the development of medical products.

Susan completed her undergraduate degree at Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City and holds a master’s degree and PhD in Biomedical Sciences from New York University. She received her medical degree from the University of Miami (Florida) and completed her clinical training at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York and at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.


Just HerderJust Herder, PhD (2014 Awardee)

Just Herder is a full professor of Interactive Mechanisms and Mechatronics at Delft University of Technology (0.8 fte) and of Mechanisms and Robotics Design at the University of Twente (0.2 fte). He has widely published in international peer-reviewed journals and conferences and has received several international awards. He is EC member of IFToMM, board member of several international IEEE and ASME conferences, associate editor in different international journals, and Editor-in-Chief in another one. Six start-up companies have emerged from his research and he holds over a dozen international patents in different areas of mechanism design.


RandyRandy Schiestl, PMP (2013 Awardee)

Randall (Randy) Schiestl, PMP is the Vice President of Research and Development at Boston Scientific. He has BSME, MBA and Executive MBA degrees from the University of Minnesota. Randy received the UMAA Alumni Service Award from the College of Science & Engineering in 2011.


NormNorm Dann (2012 Awardee)

Norman Dann, Mentor, Innovation Fellows Program, Medical Device Center, University of Minnesota, board member for several medical device companies. Mentor Innovation Fellowship, Medical Device Center, University of Minnesota. Formerly: general partner, co-founder Pathfiner Venture Capital Funds. VP Sales and Marketing, Sr. VP Development Medtronic Inc. Founder of The Dann Company a sales and service organization representing medical device and laboratory instrument manufacturers. Project manager Designers for Industry. BSIE Pennsylvania State University.


laskeTimothy G. Laske, PhD (2011 Awardee)

Tim is currently the Vice President of Product Development for the AF Solutions Business at Medtronic and a Bakken Fellow and Technical Fellow. His previous roles at Medtronic include Senior Product Development Director for Heart Valves, Senior Program Director for Transcatheter Valves, Technology Director for Therapy Deliver in Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management, and technology management and design engineering positions in Tachyarrhythmia Lead Development. Prior to his tenure at Medtronic, he worked as a Design Engineer at Ford Motor Company in Crash Safety and Advanced Vehicle Systems Engineering. 

Tim has a Bachelor of Science degree in both Biological Sciences and Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. He received his Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his PhD inBiomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota where he serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor.

His doctoral research was centered on the use of isolated working hearts in the design of medical devices (Visible Heart®: www.visibleheart.com). In addition to medical device design and cardiac physiology, his research interests include the study of hibernation physiology in wild black bear populations. 

He is active in supporting the development of Minnesota and the U.S. as centers of excellence in medical devices and biotechnology, including trade trips with Governor Ventura and Pawlenty to China and Governor Pawlenty to Canada. He is also on the Board of Directors of the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, has 49 U.S. patents, and numerous publications in the field of Biomedical Engineering.


nazarianRichard Nazarian (2010 Awardee)

"We have worked diligently to assemble the highly talented and motivated workforce that presently makes up Minnetronix."

Rich Nazarian graduated from Stanford University in 1984 with Bachelor and Master degrees in Electrical Engineering.

Rich has worked in the medical device development field for over 20 years. He began as an engineer leading product development efforts for implantable artificial heart electronic systems, cardiopulmonary bypass systems, laser imaging systems, and other medical and industrial devices for 3M Company. He is:

  • A five-time winner of 3M divisional technical excellence awards and a one-time winner of the corporate technical excellence award.
  • The principal inventor on nine patents ranging from telemetry systems for implantable devices to networked cardiopulmonary bypass systems.
  • The principal author of numerous papers ranging from artificial heart control systems to medical device development methods.
  • A 2006 Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in Washington, D.C.
  • A 2008 recipient of "One of 100 Notable People in the Medical Device Industry" Award by the editors of Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry Magazine.

Since founding Minnetronix with Jonathan Pierce and Dirk Smith in 1996, Rich has worked as its President and CEO, and has continued to be a leader in the development of new and innovative medical devices. These include diverse instruments ranging from cancer treatment systems to heart-lung machines, nerve growth stimulators, and ventricular assist devices.


BergmanRebecca M. Bergman (2009 Awardee)

Becky joined Medtronic 2 years ago, and she has been a leader in the advancement of biologically oriented sciences at Medtronic. She is currently Vice President, New Therapies and Diagnostics in the CRDM business unit. 

Previously, Becky was Vice President, Science & Technology, with responsibility for Medtronic’s Corporate Life Sciences Research and the Materials and Information Science R&D groups as well as overseeing Corporate innovation programs and other corporate technology initiatives. Prior to this job, Becky held scientific and R&D management positions of increasing responsibility within the corporation.

She has received several of Medtronic’s highest honors. This includes membership in the Bakken Society, an honorary society for Medtronic’s most distinguished scientific and technical contributors, and recipient of the Wallin Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership at Medtronic. In 2000, Becky played a key role in development of Medtronic’s “Vision 2010,” a 10-year strategic plan for the corporation. Since that time Becky has been a leader in technology strategic planning and execution of new corporate R&D initiatives.  

Becky holds a B.S degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, and she has completed graduate studies in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota. She has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota and has taught Biomedical Engineering courses there. Becky is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. She recently served on the Committee on Engineering and the Health Care System that developed a report from the National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine entitled, “Building a Better Delivery System: A New Engineering / Health Care Partnership”. She currently serves on the National Advisory Council for the NIH’s National Institute for Biological Imaging and Bioengineering. Becky also serves on the Board of Directors for TEI Biosciences, Inc. and the Bakken Library and Museum, and she is on the Board of Trustees of The College of St. Catherine and Gustavus Adolphus College.


Fred Colen (2008 Awardee)

Fred Colen is Executive Vice President, Operations and Technology, Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM) at Boston Scientific Corporation. Previously, Fred was the Company's Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. He joined the Company in 1999 as Vice President of Research and Development of Scimed and, in February 2001, he was promoted to Senior Vice President, Cardiovascular Technology of Scimed.

Before joining the Company, Fred worked for several medical device companies, including Guidant, where he launched the Delta T DDD Pacemaker platform, and St. Jude Medical, where he served as Managing Director for the European subsidiary of the Cardiac Rhythm Management Division and as Executive Vice President, responsible for worldwide Research & Development for implantable pacemaker systems.

Fred was educated in The Netherlands and Germany and holds the U.S. equivalent of a master's degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus on medical technology from the Technical University in Aachen, Germany. He was the Vice President of the International Association of Prosthesis Manufacturers (IAPM) in Brussels from 1995 to 1997.


WhahlstromDale Wahlstrom (2007 Awardee)

Dale recently retired from Medtronic after 24 years. Most recently he served as Vice President of Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management Venture Programs. Prior to this he served as Vice President/General Manager of the Cardiac Rhythm Management Therapy Delivery business. Before Medtronic, he held management and sales positions at Litton Microwave and Burroughs Corporation.

Today, he serves as the CEO for The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota. The Alliance is an organization dedicated to the advancement of bioscience based businesses in the state of Minnesota.

Dale received his MS in Manufacturing Systems from the University of St. Thomas in 1994, and his BS in Engineering and Technology with focus in Electronic Engineering from St. Cloud State University in 1978.

He is currently a member of several industrial advisory and governors boards for different universities and companies. In 1988 he was a recipient of the Medtronic Star of Excellence Award, and in 1997 he received the Wallin Leadership Award. In 2002 Dale was recognized as the outstanding graduate of the year by the engineering department of St. Cloud State University. He currently has seven patents in medical device technology with several more pending.


GovePeter Gove (2006 Awardee)

Peter was vice president of Corporate Relations and a corporate officer at St. Jude Medical from 1994-2005. His responsibilities included corporate communications, company spokesman, U.S. and international public policy and government relations. He was St. Jude's liaison with the University of Minnesota, active in the Advanced Medical Technology Association, served on the Medical Alley board of directors and is a founding member of the Medical Technology Leadership Forum.

Prior to joining St Jude Medical, Peter held several executive positions with Control Data Corporation. Earlier in his career, he devoted a decade to public service for the State of Minnesota and U.S. government in both the executive and legislative branches.

Peter is on the board of directors of three private companies, two in Minnesota in the medical technology industry and the other in Sacramento, CA in the online government information market. For the past 6 months, he has volunteered as a co-chair for the Citizens League Medical Facilities Study Committee whose report will be released. He is also on three nonprofit boards.

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