The 2015 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Heritage Award

April 28, 2015

Bill Virgin





To the extent that Washington has any sort of biomedical industry, much of the credit can be given to Physio-Control, founded 60 years ago by Dr. Karl William Edmark. Physio-Control and Edmark are best known for the heart defibrillator, once a revolutionary idea. Today a standard piece of emergency medical equipment, its still the core component of the company vision: a society in which no person dies suddenly as a result of an acute, treatable medical event.

The business has had an eventful corporate history, going from independent to private equity to a subsidiary of a larger firm to publicly traded to subsidiary of another device company and now back to ownership by a private equity firm. It is the trunk of a family tree of executives and businesses that branched out into other medical-device ventures, but Physio-Control itself is growing. It recently landed several large international orders, has accelerated R&D spending and acquired property adjacent to its existing campus.