Driven for a cure
Published: Monday, January 28, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 7:05 p.m.
ALACHUA - Rick Staab was already head of a growing medical imaging devices company and active in the community in 2005 when his oldest child, Tyler, was diagnosed with dystonia, a neurological disorder with muscle contractions that force body parts into abnormal and sometimes painful positions.
Personal: Married, three children ages 10, 7 and 3
Dream partners for lunch: God and Jesus. "I've got questions."
Best advice received: "Probably from my father: Work hard and keep your integrity."
Favorite book: James Clavell's "Tai-Pan"
Favorite movie: "Cool Hand Luke"
Favorite CDs: A couple by Jack Johnson
Education: Bachelor of science in biology/mathematics, Hampden-Sydney College, Va.
His drive to find a cure has given him more motivation to grow his company, InterMed, and to be more involved in the community. He and wife, Michelle, founded the nonprofit Tyler's Hope to fund research and awareness of dystonia and pediatric neurology.
As an individual and through his company, Staab is involved in numerous other charity and community organizations. He is this year's president of the Gainesville Jaycees and his goal is to get members more involved in other charitable efforts and to grow its membership.
His company is currently expanding its nuclear medicine division with 3,000 square feet of storage space at its Progress Park facility in Alachua being converted into a showroom, training and refurbishing facility.
Although he won't reveal sales or revenue figures, Staab said his goal is to grow InterMed into a $100 million business. His motivation is finding a cure for his son and the 50-50 chance the genetic disease will strike his other two children.
"I need to have control over things and this is one thing that's been very difficult because I have no control over it," he said. "So my way is to focus on business and Tyler's Hope. The business I want to drive so that I have more money and more ability to feed finding a cure for dystonia."
Like many companies, InterMed is involved in philanthropic activities. What sets it apart, Staab said, is the degree to which he and the employees are involved.
They write their fair share of checks, he said, but are also very hands on with numerous events and activities - medical causes through Stop! Children's Cancer, the McKnight Brain Institute and Shands, organizations such as the boys and girls clubs and ARC. InterMed is organizing a recycling program at Progress Park and is working with other park companies on a charitable fundraiser. There are others.
"We constantly are doing something," he said. "We're not that big of a company, but we get together and do good things in the community."
He has similar plans for the Jaycees. The Junior Chamber of Commerce has donated $200,000 in the last few years to charities, but Staab said he wants to get the organization involved in more hands-on activities to raise their profile, recruit more members and be able to provide more labor and money for more charities, including his own.
The Jaycees big events are a haunted house at their clubhouse by the airport each Halloween and running a campground leased from the county during Gator Nationals.
The Jaycees are a way for young people - the cutoff age is 41 - to get involved in the community, develop leadership abilities and have fun doing it, he said.
Staab became part of Alachua County's community almost by accident. After graduating from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, he was on his way to a job in Pompano Beach and stopped in Gainesville to visit his father. While here, he found out he lost the job before it started.
He took a temporary job at Shands, where he met the owner of Technical Shared Services, a medical device and services company. He went to work for TSS, learning biomedical engineering at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala and electronics at Santa Fe Community College.
Staab said he was promoted quickly as the owner was taking care of business in his home country of Nicaragua. Because the absent owner was neglecting the business, he said he struck out in 1994 with Dave Bauerle, who already had InterMed X-ray and was a consultant to TSS.
Bauerle handled the X-ray business while Staab handled biomedical devices such as defibrillators, ventilators and diffusion pumps. Today, Bauerle still heads the separate X-ray division while Staab oversees biomedical services, ultrasound and nuclear medicine divisions.
InterMed sells and services imaging devices and trains operators. The company has about 80 employees, most of whom are engineers servicing the medical devices in-house at hospitals, medical clinics and doctors offices from South Florida to North Carolina.
About seven years ago, InterMed moved into an 18,000-square-foot facility in Alachua. Staab also owns an adjacent vacant lot and is building a facility for biotech companies to lease lab space in Progress Park. The company is growing about 10 percent to 15 percent annually, Staab said, and will grow more through partnerships with major device providers.
Anthony Clark can be reached at 352-374-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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