by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief | August 14, 2023
The medical equipment industry is mourning the loss of Robert “Bob” Valencia, a pioneer who touched countless lives during his 45 years in the business.
Valencia passed away on July 22, 2023 at the age of 68. As family and friends gather at his funeral today in Colleyville, Texas, HealthCare Business News is celebrating his legacy as a brilliant and deeply knowledgeable medical industry insider.
Born in Baltimore, Bob received a degree in biochemistry from the University of Texas in 1979. By 1982 he was working for Siemens Medical Systems, where he had a sales position focusing on cath labs, monitoring, and surgical systems. Over the decades, he brought ingenuity and dedication to many roles in the medical equipment industry.
Most recently, he served as president of ICV Medical Systems, and senior VP of sales at Tranzrad. The owner of Tranzrad, Matt Smith, worked alongside Bob for nearly 20 years.
"I do recall exactly where I was standing when he called me the first time (was in regards to cath lab work)," Smith told HCB News. "It didn't take long for us to become friends and before you knew it the "adventures" began. Our first trip was to Aguascalientes Mexico where I was to work on a very old GE lab. To give you an idea on how old the machine was the hard drives on this lab weighed like 70 lbs and the OS was on 5.25" floppy."
Smith and Valencia traveled extensively together, all over North America and as far away as Beijing. Even as a globe trotter with more frequent flier miles and hotel vouchers than anyone could ever use in a single lifetime, Smith says Valencia remained someone who would, "give the shirt off his back to many of his business associates and customers."
According to Smith, one things that made Bob unique in the industry was that he often understood the technology he worked with better than the physicians (cardiologists, vascular surgeons, etc) who used them. He would drop everything to provide technical support, even at the least opportune moments.
"[Bob] had many stories and one that seems to sum up how much he cared about his business was when he received a call during his own wedding reception (previous marriage from his now beloved widow) from a customer," Smith recalled. "This was many decades ago when he worked for Siemens. The story was he left in own wedding reception in his tuxedo to help address what ever issue this very large hospital was having with the equipment. Keep in mind he was in sales not service."
Stephan Anderson, owner of Heritage Radiology, began working with Valencia about eight years ago. Right off the bat, he was awestruck by Bob's technical skills, creativity, knowledge, and his love for clients, associates and friends.
"He taught me a literal master class on our industry and introduced me to the best of the best," said Anderson. "Those companies and people who would make you and your clients proud to do business with. And EVERY client loved Bob. When he came on-site confetti would fall, seriously."
Valencia's influence on Anderson was so profound that it shaped the way he approaches new situations.
"What stands out for me was his total and complete honesty and bluntness about always doing the right thing," he said. "He impressed even my wife who coined the phrase 'what would Bob do' when I was making a business-related decision."
Bob Valencia is leaving behind more than just a sterling legacy in the medical equipment industry. As a sports and automobile enthusiast, connoisseur of fine food, and devoted Grateful Dead fanatic, his zest for life was unmatched.
He is survived by his wife, Sherri Valencia. His daughter Sarah, his son Jordan and wife MaryMichael. Step-children Cody, his fiancé Allison, Amber, her husband Cliff, Justin, and his wife Lilly. His sister, Deborah Valencia, and seven grandchildren.
You can read his official obituary here.