Building A Prosperous Business Starts With Building Up People
What makes for a successful business? Is it the product, the location, or is it something more? As I look at the many prosperous business and community leaders found here in our state, I am convinced the key to a building a strong, profitable business starts with building up people. While many business leaders support this idea, I believe one who truly exemplifies it is Fred Lampropoulos, president and CEO of Merit Medical.
To truly understand Mr. Lampropoulos, it’s important to learn a little bit about his upbringing and how his family found themselves in Salt Lake City. At 14 years old, his mother told him to gather up his belongings and throw them in a bag because they were leaving Boston for Utah. His first home in Salt Lake City was Pioneer Park, where his family lived out of their car. Thanks to outreach from the Greek community, his family was later able to establish a home for themselves. Mr. Lampropoulos says the generosity of the community taught about him the importance of giving back.
“I think the important thing that I’ve learned, and the thing that I’ve tried to do, is to try to find the balance of building a business and taking care of my employees but also being involved in the community to the best of our ability,” says Mr. Lampropoulos. “So whether it be the Junior Jazz, Tuacahn in southern Utah, Utah Opera in Logan, or STEM education, the homeless shelter, the Food Bank, the Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army… here at Merit, we’ve really tried to do what companies ought to do, and I think we’ve been immensely blessed and rewarded for those things.”
Mr. Lampropoulos founded Merit Medical in 1987 with the goal of becoming the world’s most customer-focused healthcare company. Now, 30 years later, Merit is a leading manufacturer and marketer of disposable medical devices and holds over 800 patents and pending applications representing thousands of inventions used in diagnostic, interventional, and therapeutic medical procedures. With facilities in the United States, The Netherlands, France, Ireland, China, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Singapore, and Australia, Merit Medical employs close to 6,000 people and generates nearly $1 billion in global revenue.
Merit Medical is an essential part of Utah’s thriving economy and its role in our state’s growing medical device industry is about increase dramatically. Merit recently announced a new agreement with the state in the form of a post-performance Economic Development Increment Finance (EDTIF) tax credit rebate that will result in the creation of more than 1,000 jobs, $71 million in state revenue, and an estimated $505 million in capital investment.
As you may have guessed, Mr. Lampropoulos is not the kind of leader who takes credit for his company’s success. Instead, he always makes it a point to celebrate the team. “To have a staff of people who have been around, who understand the culture, who understand the message, and who have that loyalty—that’s what helped build this business,” he says.
Putting his employees first is something Mr. Lampropoulos learned during his service in the US Army. “I was taught three simple things: if you keep your men informed, if you feed them, look after them, and if you don’t put your interest in front of theirs, they will follow you to the ends of the earth and they’ll die for you,” he says. “Think about those simple rules in business, pretty simple stuff, but those are the keys to success and they’ll get you just about anywhere you want to go.”
To make sure our businesses and community continue to succeed, I think we all could take a page out of Mr. Lampropoulos’ book. Let’s build each other up, take the time to reach out and support one another, and watch for the magic that happens next.