R. Sean Churchill, MD Background In Engineering
I’m a practicing orthopedic surgeon, fellowship trained in shoulder, and just practice exclusively shoulder work. I’ve been at my present location for the last 17 years.
I’ve always tended to look at things a little bit differently I think, than a lot of physicians.
Whenever I was in an operating room, whether it was a vascular case, or a plastic surgery case, or orthopedic case, I always looked at what was being done. I would always be thinking about how I would do it if I could design the equipment or the tools, or the implants and such.
It’s All About Relationships
I have had interactions with Jeff Ondrla dating back to my residency. My undergraduate degree was in Engineering, and I was actually a professional Engineer for three years to save up money for medical school.
When I was a third-year resident, I had a proposal for a new system to work with the DePuy fracture stem. I wasn’t at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation at that time, and I talked to Dr. John Brems who is the shoulder chairman, and he thought it was a great idea. So I actually went to a junkyard and got some parts off of a 1972 Pinto and made up some prototypes.
I went to the lab and test them out, and then he thought they were good, so we made a proposal.
We flew down to Warsaw to meet with the DePuy team. That was my first interaction with Jeff Ondrola, in 1997. Immediately Jeff and I hit it off because we’re both engineers.
Over the years I kept in touch with Jeff on various projects, and we’d actually been involved in a startup company, The Deo Valente Orthopedics in 2004, which we ultimately ended up selling to Tornier in 2007. Don Running was also involved with DVO, so we got to know each other during that time as well.
Then the Tornier administrative executive who handled the whole acquisition was Rob Ball.
I’ve known these guys and worked with them now for, Rob Ball’s the shortest, which is 11 years, and Jeff Ondrola now for 21 years.
We work together and we enjoy each other, and we all kind of work at the same pace and have the same view on things.
At The “Genesis” of Genesis Innovation Group
When there was talk about starting up Genesis as an ongoing entity, I really thought of it at that point as more of a product development company. I liked the concept of taking an idea that an entrepreneur might have developed, but couldn’t go any further with it, and then we help develop it and then get it to the marketplace. Then recycle and repeat, and move on to the next project.
To me, rather than having a one and done, which was what Deo Valente Orthopedics ended up being, we had a great product, we sold it and then we all sat around and stared at each other and said, “Well what do we do now?”
I liked the idea of this ongoing entity, and so it seemed natural that I would work with these three guys and the four of us come together to form Genesis Innovation Group.