This past summer, groundbreaking inventor Dean Kamen was honored with the prestigious MDEA Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 MD&M East convention in New York City. Kamen is the owner of many patents including the newsworthy Segway; but more importantly, he has created many life-saving medical devices.
While his list of game-changing medical devices is long and impressive, Kamen is more than just an inventor; he is also an advocate for science and technology education. During his MDEA Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech, he touched on how few qualified people go into the medical device industry. To fight the skills gap in the medical device (and other) industries, Kamen founded FIRST, an organization that is committed to encouraging students around the globe that “…science, technology, and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding but are proven paths to successful careers and a bright future for us all.”
FIRST is more than just an educational program; it is in fact a major step in closing, and ultimately reversing, the technology skills gap we now face. According to HR consultants, the Manpower Group, in 2013, 35% of 38,000 employers reported difficulty in filling jobs due to a lack of available talent.
To Kamen, and many other experts, this lack of science and technology-savvy workers threatens the medical device industry and our global economy. Kamen has made direct pleas to the U.S. government to increase accessibility to FIRST programs so as to close what he refers to as America’s “Innovation Deficit”.
So, while Dean Kamen has, and will, continue to invent innovative medical devices, we firmly believe that Kamen’s push to raise America’s and the world’s science and technology education standards will in fact be his lasting legacy. The entire Hammill team believes that it is critical that we all help Dean Kamen’s vision of better future come true.