Jim W. and Tim J. recently celebrated their 30-year work anniversaries with Nonin. When asked what this milestone meant to them both, Jim responded, “Thirty years? It’s hard to believe it’s been that long!”
Since joining the company in 1993, Jim and Tim have been invaluable members of the Research and Development team. They have been involved in many product development projects over the years, including the creation of the world’s first fingertip pulse oximeter.
As a celebration of this impressive work milestone, we sat down with them for a brief question and answer session to learn more about their experiences working at Nonin, and how the company has changed over the past 30 years.
Q: What drew you to Nonin? And which aspects of the company have kept you here for so long?
Jim: I was drawn to Nonin because of the work they were doing. It took me a few attempts to land an interview, but I was persistent because I really like the atmosphere of a smaller company. I have remained at Nonin since 1993 because of the great company culture, as well as the variety of work in R&D.
Tim: I was looking to focus my electrical engineering career on medical devices and was intrigued by Nonin’s product line. I wanted to learn more about pulse oximeter technology and the underlying engineering. Soon after joining Nonin, I learned the company was founded by engineers, and the importance and value of sound engineering has always been a high priority. The friendly small company environment also appealed to me when I joined. Though Nonin has grown considerably over the years it still has that small company “team” feeling where everyone can make a difference.
Q: What have been some of your favorite memories from the past 30 years?
Jim: My favorite memory is celebrating the launch of the original Nonin Onyx fingertip, the cake was shaped like the Nonin Onyx and turned everyone’s mouths blue. I also enjoyed my trip to Germany in 2008 for the Medica medical device conference in Dusseldorf. I saw a very wide range of medical devices at the show and spoke with many show attendees about our products at the Nonin booth. Plus, I was able to spend a few days doing some sightseeing in Cologne!
Tim: Moving into larger facilities as the company has grown has always been exciting and memorable. It’s like moving into a new house! And although getting new engineering equipment is not very memorable, there was a time when our new 3D printer wouldn’t fit through the door of its new home, and the installation had to become “creative.” Lesson learned, measure twice.
Q: What’s the most memorable project you have worked on in your time here?
Jim: It’s hard to pick just one. The Finger-Phantom pulse oximeter tester is memorable because it was the first Nonin project I worked on, and I learned a lot about the function of pulse oximeters. It was the most unique since it had no electronic parts, only chemicals that simulated the light absorption of blood at three different SpO2 values. The Onyx II 9550 was also a memorable project for me. I was able to overcome some difficult performance and manufacturing test challenges without impacting the market release date.
Tim: Being involved in the creation of the first Onyx product, the world’s first fingertip oximeter, was very exciting and memorable. It quickly became very popular in the marketplace, and I believe it cemented Nonin’s reputation for high-quality products and innovative technology. It was also very exciting to be part of the development of Nonin’s dual reflectance regional oximeter technology and related products.
Q: How much has Nonin changed/evolved in 30 years?
Jim: Nonin started out much smaller, there were only about 40 employees in 1993. Also, not everyone had a computer! We had a designated computer lab with three computers for employees to share, and our documentation control system was all on paper. To reference released Nonin prints, you went to a set of six file cabinets that contained paper copies of all Nonin documents.
Tim: There are many more employees at Nonin than when I joined, and our products are now sold in most countries versus only a few. Yet I feel the core commitment to a philosophy of robust engineering and reliable product design that existed when I first joined Nonin still exists today. I also feel that Nonin’s commitment to its employees and end users remains just as strong as it was 30 years ago.
Q: What are you looking forward to most in the coming years?
Jim: Continuing to have design input on new Nonin products, whether it’s the next generation of pulse oximeters or a technology that’s new to Nonin.
Tim: I’m looking forward to contributing to Nonin’s engineering work for the foreseeable future, but I’m also looking forward to spending more time hiking, biking, canoeing, and relaxing with a good book!
Since 1986, Nonin Medical has developed reliable, high-performing technologies and manufactured innovative durable noninvasive patient monitoring devices for healthcare professionals, caregivers, and patients. Nonin pulse oximeters, cerebral and tissue oximeters, sensors, and software deliver dependable performance day after day—even in challenging environments. To learn more, visit nonin.com.