by Barbara Kram
, Editor | January 14, 2009
Quite often you read that health care as a sector is less severely impacted than most by today's economic downturn. The story of Bob Gaw
and P.R.N. shows why.
Robert B. Gaw Sr., president of Physicians Resource Network, Inc. (P.R.N.), Fall River, MA says he is sometimes afraid to tell people his business is booming since so many companies are in trouble right now.
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"Business has significantly increased each of the past three years and we expect additional growth year in 2009," said Gaw, who started P.R.N. in 1989. "My goal was to save my customers money," he said, expressing a mission that is proving especially resilient right now.
Gaw started his career in sales while in college as a pre-med major. He felt his grades wouldn't put med school in the future so he got a job as a door-to-door book salesman in San Antonio, TX. "It was the toughest job I ever had, and with my New England accent I practically needed an interpreter," he said. "One thing it did do was convince me that I needed to finish school."
That experience listening to multi-lingual accents comes in handy since Gaw has become very proficient at listening to the many accents and dialects he encounters every day.
"With our international exposure from DOTmed, it is not uncommon to go from a call from a doctor in Dubai to another call from dealer in Panama, then a hospital in Arkansas. I have to train my ear for each accent and I have learned to listen very carefully because one miscommunication can cost you a customer."
While job cuts are making headlines, P.R.N. has added staff.
Two years ago, Gaw hired his son, Bob Jr. to help out with the business. Junior played high school and college football and never missed a game or practice, so Senior figured he had a good work ethic. "I loaded him up with sales tapes and books, we had a long discussion about business ethics, I introduced him to DOTmed, set him loose, and the business started rolling in."
The company has also added John McDonough, RN, BMET who has a unique resume as both a biomedical engineer and an operating room nurse. "When John certifies equipment as 'patient-ready' you know it is," Gaw, Sr. said.
The company is also expanding its product lines. As reported in DOTmed News, they recently got FDA marketing approval for a new product called the VICORDER, a portable, affordable vascular lab capable of producing full page peripheral vascular reports. The Vicorder detects peripheral Vascular Disease (PAD), which can lead to strokes. Pharmaceutical marketing about the condition has helped raise patients' awareness and drive sales in the sector overall. Gaw said sales have been better than anticipated and he expects to partner with another medical marketing company for future growth.
"We expect to add another 15 representatives as well as additional inside support personnel in the next six months to meet the anticipated demand," Gaw said. (Their vascular division, PRNV, sells the Vicorder, along with vascular Dopplers and supplies.)
P.R.N. has expanded its warehouse facilities and can now buy large lots of surplus equipment. "This has given us the ability to offer a variety of equipment and parts at reasonable prices; we work hard to keep our expenses down and pass the savings along to our clients. Our bio-medical department has enabled us to not only sell equipment 'as is' but we are now able to sell patient-ready equipment and offer other companies and hospitals a wide variety of parts. Their rental division helps fill the gap when facilities cannot afford to buy or may need a device for short-term use.
"Things have not changed since I started selling medical equipment over 25 years ago. Quality products blended with excellent service ensure job security. Our company mission is very simple--we strive to help our clients operate more profitably."
Read DOTmed News' previous coverage at: