‘Acting’ out and up, up, up – the continuing epic story of Merit Medical’s Fred Lampropoulos
Jun 24, 2019 11:45AM
By Jennifer J Johnson
South Jordan anchor businessman and Merit Medical CEO Lampropoulos received the “Giant in Our City” honor downtown May 31, with SoJo Mayor Dawn Ramsey and husband, Dan Ramsey, among the 1,000-plus in attendance. (Salt Lake Chamber)
By Jennifer J. Johnson|[email protected]
“The first act of a very long play.”
That is how Fred Lampropoulos describes the current state of Merit Medical, his decorated,$1 billion patent-brimming medical technology company, which has a market capitalization of $3 billion and is credited with saving 15-20,000 lives around the world globally each day.
Lampropoulos, simultaneously nearing 70 years of age and $70 million net worth, might be seen as being closer to the third act of a remarkable life and career, which has included serving as a Special Forces officer and honorary colonel in the Utah National Guard, making a run for governor of the state, and a series of accolades and awards, including being inducted into the Utah Business Hall of Fame and receiving the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology.
In May, Lampropoulos added another feather to his cap: The “Giant in Our City” award from the Salt Lake Chamber. On the heels of his being named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the MoutainWest Capital Network in February, Lampropoulos has, in one year, received the highest honors bestowed by, arguably, Utah’s two most notable business organizations.
Merit Medical’s first-quarter 2019 results, announced in April, exceeded already bullish expectations, with the company delivering 8–10 percent growth, making 2019 yet another epic year in the first act of the medical-device company known for disposable devices utilized in medical procedures.
Who is Fred Lampropoulos?
If the name “Fred Lampropoulos” is unfamiliar? It is worth studying.
The man whom the Deseret News billed as having “a tongue-twister” of a Greek name when he ran for governor more than 20 years ago is a key contributor to the economy and well-being of South Jordan.
Situated at an address that bears the company name—1600 West Merit Parkway—medical device company Merit Medical also has global offices in Houston, Australia, Brazil, France, Ireland, Mexico and Singapore.
The company’s current and future promise of jobs is certainly a boon to South Jordan, where the company landed more than 20 years ago, when Lampropoulos decided to purchase 60 acres in SoJo for $500,000—at a time when the company was doing $10 million, in sales, versus its current $1 billion in sales. Prior to investing so heavily in SoJo, where the executive calls “home,” the company’s buildout strategy was a “cubicle-by-cubicle” expansion up to 85,000 square feet of office space.
Back then, Lampropoulos recently told a reporter, he was absolutely convinced that Merit would become the med-tech powerhouse that it has become. His conviction came from his having architected, from the outset, a 100-year plan, which included purchasing the 60 acres in SoJo.
So his answer, more than 20 years ago, when asked, “Are you out of your mind? You’ve got a business doing less than $10 million. Why are you buying 60 acres?”—was not crazy, just calculating.
Not crazy, just calculating
Today’s calculations seem “on plan,” as Merit comprises 14 manufacturing businesses and, annually, delivers market-pleasing numbers, representing double-digit growth in core business and product lines.
Per the 100-year plan, the company looks to double in size over the next five years.
South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey, along with her husband, Dan Ramsey, and more than 1,000 members of the community were in attendance at Lampropoulos’s having been named “A Giant in our City” May 31 at downtown’s Grand America Hotel.
"It was a privilege to be there to see Fred named the 2019 Giant in Our City award from the Salt Lake Chamber,” she said. “He is a philanthropist who generously gives back and has been a wonderful community partner for many years. We are truly grateful to have Merit Medical as a large employer in our city, and South Jordan is proud to have one of our own chosen as the Businessman of the Year for the State of Utah."
Taking note of Merit’s over-the-top, unique employee benefits, such as onsite health care and free, onsite dental care, SoJo Director of City Commerce Brian A. Preece said: “Merit Medical is a very responsible employer, providing many benefits well beyond the basics usually offered by an employer of this size.” He added, “Every community should have a few companies like Merit within them; they make for a better overall living experience.”