Spartan 100s Club Members Discuss Company Evolution

Dec 21, 2022

2022 has been a truly historic year for Spartan Medical Inc., one marked by tremendous growth, a company-wide pivot, and several notable accolades. As we look forward to a new year and the beginnings that come along with it, we are also reminded of our humble origins. What we’ve done in the last few years is a result of the hard work we have been diligently building upon for over a decade.

In the Q&A below, “100s Club” members Tim Lewis and Mark White discuss what it’s been like to be a member of the Spartan team for the last ten years and throughout this period of change. They talk about Spartan’s evolution, the 100s club, what makes their employment meaningful, and what’s next for the business.

Tim Lewis
Mark White

1. How long have you worked at Spartan Medical Inc. for?

Tim: 10 years.

Mark: 10 years and eight months.

2. What are some of the main reasons why you’ve stayed at Spartan for so long?

Tim: Spartan’s culture is so unique. I love our company, and the people are fantastic to work with. Our executive team is amazing and we have a great CEO. So, it’s actually very easy to stay here. I’m also a veteran, so I feel like I fit in well.

Mark: It has been a fun and exciting challenge! My roles and responsibilities have changed over the years, and I have been able to learn and grow with the company. Also, I have always believed in the company’s vision and put faith in our CEO, Vince Proffitt. With his business acuity and leadership ability, he could have quickly become a leader of one of the major medical device companies. Still, he chose to start his own company and make a more significant impact on our veterans. That is the main reason I have been here so long! I am very grateful to have worked for a leader like this and a team that pulls together.

3. What is the Spartan 100s club, and what does it say about Spartan?

Tim: Spartan’s 100s club is based on your length of employment, but it goes deeper than that. Once you hit 100 months with the company, you’re inducted into the club. I think it says that Spartan values the people that work here.

Mark: It is a club honoring the employees who have worked for Spartan for 100 or more months. For a small business, having this in place is extremely rare and says a ton about what we value.

4. In the last three years Spartan has grown 283%, and has placed on two major lists as a result (2112th in the Inc 5000, and 10th in the Washington Business Journal’s fastest growing companies in the D.C. area). Do you feel like the growth has affected your day-to-day operations? If so, how have you been supported in that change?

Tim: You have to be a multitasker, and if you’re not a multitasker at heart, you quickly learn how to do that. It’s a skill that I’ve developed over the years after being put in charge of certain projects. It was uncomfortable at first, but along the way my skills have improved and I’ve only gotten better. And, all I have to do is speak out and I get support both from the CEO and the employees around me. I’ll get as many people as we need until we accomplish the mission.

Mark: Our day-to-day operations have changed because we have been able to become a solutions-oriented company.  Every day, we are challenged to develop real-time solutions across the entire spectrum of our product portfolio, which has expanded dramatically over the past few years.  The nice thing about this is that we have a diversified talent pool; we can help each other if we need expertise in a new area.  The ability to come together as a team has been unique and is the key to our success.

5. Spartan has a strong company culture of teamwork, with everyone working under the “Spartan Shield” – has this period of growth affected the strength or overall cohesion of the group at all?

Tim: I can say with certainty that it’s brought our team closer, and I feel like overall, certain people have stepped up to make things even better each year. We work as a team, and I think that’s really important.

Mark: If anything, it has made our teamwork even stronger.  We have expanded into so many new markets that we have had to rely on each other’s unique experiences to come up with solutions, frequently on the fly or on short notice.  We all have learned and gained a great deal of experience throughout this process, and it has made the bond between the team even stronger.

6. Talk about the impact on roles and communication, if any. Are you still able to correspond with your team quickly and effectively?

Tim: For our GINGKO project, we were managing COVID-19 testing in six different states with 300 nurses and allied health professionals out in the field. Managing something like that was completely new for us, but the team we put together was absolutely fantastic and we were able to accomplish everything in a very quick manner. Some of us were talking ten times a day.

Mark: Yes, the ability of the team to pivot and take on new responsibilities has been essential, and everyone has stepped up. The communication from the leadership on the vision of the company has been beneficial in keeping everyone on the same page.

7. What makes Spartan uniquely equipped to handle this kind of rapid progression?

Tim: We have a unique value proposition with the federal government, and being able to use those skills in the civilian market has really helped us grow. But again, it comes down to the people. Everyone on the executive team has 20+ years of experience, so there’s a lot of combined experience through different sectors of our business. We’re all consultants rather than salespeople. We don’t sell specific products; we really consult and find out what the needs of our customer are. And I think that makes us different from anyone else in our market space.

Mark: Our diverse backgrounds.  Everyone brings different experiences to the table, and we can share these experiences and learn from each other to come up with the required solutions.

8. What has been the most exciting part about being at Spartan for this period of growth?

Tim: I would say probably getting recognition for some of the awards that we’ve gotten, like Washington Business Journal’s ‘Best Places to Work’ and being listed at 2112 in the Inc. 5000.

Mark: The most exciting part has been learning so many new things and being part of a company that was able to pivot from our core business to a new market sector. Only a few companies were able to reinvent themselves and survive.

9. Outside of its growth, what are some of the differences you can reflect on between now and when you first began your career at Spartan? In other words, how has Spartan changed since you started working there?

Tim: Well, we’ve gone from working out of the basement of our CEO’s house to almost a full floor in a large building in Rockville, so that’s definitely a big change. Our government contracts have also expanded tremendously.

Mark: When I started at Spartan, Spartan was a local spine and biologics distributor.  We then obtained our Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business status and were awarded several government contracts.  These contracts were nationwide, so we quickly expanded our business model.

10. What has been the biggest improvement?

Tim: Each year we get better, and that’s because with more experience we’re able to hone our skills and logistics.

Mark: Spartan’s ability to change and adapt to the marketplace.  When the Covid pandemic hit us, it was predicted that over 25 percent of Orthopedic companies would not survive.  We were not only able to survive, but we also had our most significant growth years.

11. Can you talk about some of the recent projects you’ve been working on?

Tim: Our COVID-19 testing project is still going strong, we’ve been working on that for about a year and a half now. We’re delivering COVID-19 testing solutions in six different states for K-thru-12 public schools as well as colleges and universities. We also have the Maryland GO-VAX program distributing COVID-19 vaccines, we’re doing vaccinations in Texas, and just won a grant for Tennessee as well. We’re also in the process of building our core business back up since a lot of our focus has been on COVID in the last couple of years.

Mark: We have been working on getting a spinal implant product through the FDA approval process, then getting the product into alpha and beta clinical trials and launching the product nationwide.  Another project that is starting to come together is the creation of an Advisory Board.  Since we have diversified our business, having advisors from all sectors of the business world is critical to our long-term success.

12. What do you expect for Spartan Medical’s future?

Tim: We’re working with some new companies to expand our business in the sterile prepackaged market. We think that is going to be a big area of growth for us. This model allows hospitals and surgery centers to order a prepackaged, sterile product that’s ready for surgery. We’re also working with Fort Dietrich in Maryland to get these prepackaged sterile products out to the entire military.

Mark: One exciting adventure will be expanding our core business in the Ambulatory Surgery Centers.  This is one of the fastest-growing markets in our field, and Spartan is poised to be a significant player. Spartan will also begin to invest and help develop start-up companies with breakthrough technologies to bring this technology to our veteran population.  Spartan will become known as the go-to company when businesses want to turn development ideas into FDA-cleared products.

Keep an eye on our newsletter for the latest company news.