Steve Parker is the CEO of Arterius Limited, a Leeds, UK basedcompany developing technical and scientific solutions and working with healthcare innovators to enhance and develop next generation patient centric products.
Steve brings a wealth of leadership and commercial experience and has held a series of senior roles in International medical device companies over a period of over 40 years. He is a seasoned medical device, leader with a proven ability to build and create high growth strategies and global support infrastructure to commercialise disruptive and innovative medical technologies. Mr. Parker has substantial experience in creating sustainable businesses within multiple healthcare delivery systems and cultures in both traditional and emerging markets through establishing technology adoption and economic market access programmes.
A leap of faith to join the health care industry and lead a successful organization
Steve says that he found the healthcare industry by chance when he took an apprenticeship in engineering at his local hospital at the age of 17. “Academia was not for me, and I was introduced to a very “hands on” approach to personal development,” he further states.
Steve quickly found himself working within a team of diverse healthcare professionals supporting critical care areas of a hospital with a common aim of delivering benefit to people when at their most vulnerable inspirational. Now over 40 years later he finds himself providing leadership to an equally inspiring team each individual making their own journey. “We are truly privileged to be in our industry surrounded and working with talented individuals who make a real difference to people’s lives,” he exclaims.
Success and challenges go hand-in-hand
Success can be defined in different ways in different situations. In a business situation such as Arterius, success points to identifying opportunity, planning the exploitation of that opportunity, but most importantly building the infrastructure, team, and culture to be able to deliver the plan to the benefit of all stakeholders.
“As leaders it is our job to define a directed and achievable plan to meet a defined goal. As an individual success can mean something very different and personal, family focused, personal development, but importantly for the individual, success is what you want to make it,” says Steve.
Any business is all about overcoming challenges to make progress towards an ultimate vision. In the early stages of his career, Steve was fearful of the next challenge, both within the business but also personally. Losing a role out of the blue at a large corporate allowed him to come back stronger and make different career choices that he would never have considered. That quickly taught him that we often become stronger both, in business and personally, as we overcome each roadblock and challenge along the way, if life gives us the opportunity of re-evaluating a strategy or position and the potential to steer a new or altered course, we should take it.
Arterius – Its services and growth under Steve’s exceptional leadership
Arterius was founded by two very talented pioneers in biotechnologies and interventional cardiology. As a disruptive company, they have developed several innovative and novel technologies that could make a real difference to existing medical device applications. “We are currently in an envious position and as a small company we must decide which of these technologies will progress and which can be spun off to provide the commercial focus we need,” explains Steve. More and more larger MedTech companies rely on and collaborate with smaller and more agile companies such as Arterius to accelerate innovation.
The healthcare industry is dominated by the large corporates that do an excellent job of promoting and delivering continuous innovation and healthcare improvement across the globe. This size and scope can also restrict their speed of innovation and they are increasingly turning to scientific research undertaken by smaller and more agile companies like Arterius.
Steve notes that at Arterius, the core values are Integrity, Collaboration, Innovation and Passion and these values drive everything they do. They ensure that the whole team shares ownership and visibility of the business and importantly the culture to allow scope for free thinking and innovation within a very structured and regulated environment.
Steve states that he is well on his way through his healthcare career and his immediate goal is to build a robust and sustainable business focused on innovation at Arterius. Future opportunity for him would entail working with emerging companies in a supporting and non-executive capacity along with his current CEO role.
Steve’s successful journey as a healthcare professional
Before joining Arterius, Steve spent over 40 years in medical devices, starting out as an apprentice at 17 working the UK NHS healthcare system. He transitioned into the industry as a field-based service engineer in an early pioneering cardiology company, Marquette Electronics, that spurned his lifelong interest and passion in the cardiovascular and critical care space.
Steve transitioned through various marketing and sales roles to manage the UK sales teams at St Jude Medical, at the time when it was transitioning from the “gold standard” heart valve business to a diverse cardiovascular medicine business. “I learnt a huge amount here integrating 6 separate businesses from different countries and cultures into a single cardiovascular franchise. I subsequently spent over ten years leading the commercial operations in all global markets outside of the US for Abbott’s Point of Care Division building both distributor and direct operations in many geographies across the world including emerging markets in China, India, and Latin America,” he states.
Having set up commercial operations with larger medical device business Steve wanted to shift his focus to smaller emerging businesses with a different set of challenges and opportunities. He spent the 8 years before joining Arterius building an AI focused cardiovascular imaging business from an initial university spin out.
As a successful professional, Steve has received many recognitions and awards over the years both personally and on behalf of the business. He claims that as a leader the real recognition comes from the individuals he has managed along that journey. Inevitably, he has managed people both into and out of businesses for a variety of reasons, but connections with individuals is what he considers to be his rewards. Individuals that he has managed out either by redundancy or direct termination who have come back subsequently to acknowledge how they were treated fairly and provided or requested future endorsement and who have grown into global leaders as part of their own journies.
Responsibilities as the CEO of Arterius
The CEO of a small company is involved in everything from negotiating multimillion dollar investments to ordering the stationary. Steve considers himself to be lucky at Arterius as he has a talented team of chemists and engineers that can advance the various technical streams independently.
The key role for any CEO is to establish a direction for the business and communicate it well to ensure everything the business does contributes to that journey within the parameters of a legal and ethical framework. “The CEO is an enabler ensuring that the culture, the structure, and the funding is in place to support the team in delivering the Vision whilst steering the course of legality and regulation,” says Steve who considers himself to a flexible leader.
Staying motived and maintaining a work-life balance
There is a lot of discussion about a personal work life balance and each person approaches it differently. Over the years, Steve has found a comfortable place that works for him where the lines between work and home-life are not hard defined. It allows him to be flexible in his approach without feeling resentful if business priorities take priority.
“It is extremely important to recognize that everyone is different and such differences should be encouraged by any structure a business has. Everyone has their own personal challenges that we can only imagine and a flexible approach to how we manage people on a day-to-day basis should support this flexibility. Ultimately people respond better if they are being heard and supported,” explains Steve.
Steves advice to aspiring healthcare leaders is: Do not give up on the prize. Healthcare is a place of privilege where we can live out our dreams of establishing and growing a great business but one that can really and genuinely improve or save lives. Understand where the business needs to go, what are the critical success factors that we must get right and avoid distractions. To quote the great Olympian Ben Hunt Davis – “Only do it if it makes the boat go faster”.