Why I Picked Spartan Medical®: Q&A with Forbes Butterfield, CEO of SURE Retractors Inc.

Sep 28, 2022

In this Q&A, Forbes Butterfield discusses why he chose to partner with Spartan Medical®, the benefits of doing so, and what makes working together a uniquely advantageous union.

Can you provide a bit of background on your company and the SURE Retractor Systems?

SURE Retractors Inc. owns SURE Retractors Ltd, which is a Scotland-based, innovative medical device company. We have developed the range of SURE – surgery-ready, sterile-packed cervical, lumbar and mini open retractors.

All the retractors come packaged in one box for each of the product offerings. The retractors are also radiolucent, which means that the doctors can see exactly what they’re operating on. This was done because retraction hasn’t really changed much in the last 40 years as most doctors continue to use metal retractors in big trays that need to be re-sterilized. This doesn’t really fit the ASC model, because the majority of ASCs don’t have onsite sterilization and have limited storage space. Our products come packaged pre-assembled and ready to use. Quite simply, the staff order them, use them and reorder. Our aim is to make the logistical, OR and staffing process much more efficient, while reducing costs and solving problems.

How did you hear about Spartan Medical Inc.?

I was introduced to Vince Proffitt through a mutual acquaintance of ours. Spartan Medical’s appeal to me was the fact that they had an established spine and orthopedic distribution business, especially with the VA and the DoD. More importantly, I think the overriding factor on my decision to start out with Vince, honestly, was because he’s such an inspirational leader. He understands business, always has a new idea and where to make an impact. He gets things done.

In what ways are you counting on Spartan Medical® to help maximize the rollout of the SURE Retractor System?

I think there are two things: Firstly, we want to do some introductory cases with doctors that Spartan Medical® has very good relationships with, because that’s an important part of launching a product. You want to know that it works perfectly, and you want feedback — good or bad — so you can then adapt if necessary. Secondly, Spartan has built a strong footprint in the VA and DoD, so they already have existing contracts and KOLs which can change behaviors and help drive adoption. They also have solid relationships with ASCs, which will help us validate the model that we believe is going to be the key to really driving growth.

“Spartan has built a strong footprint in the VA and DoD.”

What about your experience with Spartan Medical® made you trust that this revolutionary product would be in the right hands with their team?

Meeting Vince — he is someone that you don’t forget. He wants to drive the products, solve problems, and grow his business. He has built Spartan from scratch since 2008. The management team that Vince has assembled are fantastic. All of the executives I work with are individually brilliant, but when they come as a group, their experience is second to none.

From a personal point of view, I think what they do with the Proffitt Brothers Foundation® is incredible, and I think that it shows what Spartan’s ethics are and what they want to do. It’s not just about making as much money as quickly as you can, it’s all about giving back and genuinely doing what you say you’re going to do.

What is Vince Proffitt’s role in this partnership?

Vince was the lead investor in SURE when we raised money about a year ago, and has been extremely influential and helpful in terms of not just the connections and the ideas, but his energy and drive make working with him a pleasure. Vince and I are now working on an additional three or four projects along with some of the board and advisory board members. Vince is now doing some alternative products with them, not necessarily healthcare, but it’s always been that way, when you work with good people, the sky’s the limit. Working with Vince and his team, the number of ideas that have been generated is incredible. At SURE we now have a management team that any Fortune 500 company would love to have on board.

““When you work with good people, the sky’s the limit.””

Can you talk about any of the benefits that SURE has seen so far as a result of their partnership with Spartan Medical®?

There are numerous benefits and more come up all the time. We’re building a product portfolio, not just with SURE, but a couple of other products that fit the single-use, sterile, surgery-ready offering absolutely perfectly. We have already developed a specific product for the U.S. military, and we are always looking at ways to add to our IP portfolio.

Why would you recommend a partnership with Spartan Medical®?

I think the following all apply: Number one, Vince. Number two, they’ve got a great team at every level of the organization. Number three, they’ve got great connections. They’re going to drive the ASC market. They see that as a huge opportunity, as all the large strategic companies now do. Vince can see that; he’s got the vision. Spartan does not take on every product they are offered, not by a long way. They cherry pick the best products that they believe can make a significant difference, generate revenue, and grow a successful company. Another thing I will say: I’ve seen how Vince treats his employees – he’s incredibly generous, and none of it’s fake. He really cares about his people and what he has set out to do, and that’s the difference.

“Spartan does not take on every product they are offered… They cherry pick the best products that they believe can make a significant difference, generate revenue, and grow a successful company.”


To learn more about SURE Retractors Systems, click here.