By R.J. DeLuke
The relatively new president and CEO of AngioDynamics, the medical device manufacturer with operations in Glens Falls and Queensbury, said when he took the reins for the company last year, he saw there was a need for some changes to be made if the company was to continue to compete in the hyper-competitive field it operates in.
But Jim Clemmer did recognize the company has strong core values and a great knowledge base within the company, he told the audience gathered at the annual luncheon of EDC Warren County on June 27 the at Great Escape Lodge.
“I’m proud of the quality of the people in our plant,” he said. But he is challenging his work force to be more innovative and efficient.
He said when the federal Affordable Care Act came into being “it woke up the industry” because it brought many more patients into the health care system.
The medical device industry “had gotten a little slow. People lost their edge and efficiency. ACA was “a wake-up call.”
“We’re adapting to that,” said Clemmer. While competition in the industry is very strong, “challenges become opportunities if you’re willing to accept them.”
He is confident that the people at AngioDynamics will do just that. He said the talent at the local company is its most important aspect. And the company will embark on more leadership training for its staff to help them meet the challenges, and also to ensure workers continue to grow with the company, and thus with the local community.
The company employs about 900 people.
Processes are being changed for higher efficiency in the area of research and development to get “more products to market, and faster,” he noted.
In a streamlining effort, Clemmer said AngioDynamics is closing manufacturing plants in Georgia and the United Kingdom and consolidating manufacturing at its plants in the Glens Falls Technical Park and in Queensbury.
Among the innovations the company is working on is manufacturing the “nanoknife,” a microwave device used to treat cancer.
“Now we’ll be making those products here when we move our operation here at the end of the year,” he said, saying it has shown results in extending the life of pancreatic cancer patients.
Clemmer said AngioDynamics is reinvesting $5 million of its profits back into the business, to position the local medical device maker to compete with other, some larger, companies.
It will be used for new product development, employee training and research. The company is launching a plan to develop new products that will ensure the sustainability of the operations in Glens Falls and Queensbury.
“I felt it was necessary for our company to have a reset,” Clemmer said. But he is confident in the company’s path.
“I trust what we do here … We trust it’s the right move for this company,” said the CEO. “We’re raising our bar internally.
He told businessmen and officials gathered at the event that products from Queensbury will be shipped to Asia, down to Latin America and places in between.
“We want to make sure AngioDynamics remains a part of this region,” he said. “We’re proud to be a part of this community.”