Norm Weldon Awarded Phoenix Lifetime Achievement Award
The award is given annually to individuals in recognition of outstanding achievement in the medical device and diagnostic industry. The awardee is selected by representatives of the four founding organizations of the Phoenix Conference; Elsevier Business Intelligence, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Versant Ventures, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
“The Phoenix Lifetime Achievement Award goes to an individual who has made a significant contribution over the course of their career to advance medical technology as an innovator or entrepreneur,” said David Cassak, Managing Director of Medical Devices of Elsevier Business Intelligence. “Norm’s career obviously exemplifies that. The work he has done building and mentoring small companies has made him a leader in the medical diagnostics field.”
In 2004, the Weldon Family provided a $10 million gift to transform the Purdue biomedical engineering department into a full-fledged school. The school was named the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering in honor of the family's gift. Building upon Weldon's experiences, the rapidly growing School is already well-recognized as a leader in translating life-saving technologies into clinical practice via industrial partners.
Weldon has forty-eight years’ experience in senior management in the medical device and electronics industries. He has been CEO of CTS Corp., in Elkhart, Ind., and president of Cordis Corp., in Miami, Fla. He currently is managing director of Partisan Management Group, a venture capital fund he co-founded in 1992. From 1986 to 1996, he was president and CEO of Corvita Corp., a medical device company he co-founded in 1986. The company was purchased by Pfizer Inc. in 1996.
“As Medtech leaders, we help people live longer, more productive lives,” said Weldon. “I have had the ultimate joy of meeting productive people treated by Medivance who were admitted to hospitals as dead on arrival. I have experienced the supreme satisfaction of meeting Neuronetics patients who have fully recovered from decades of intractable depression. Few others in any profession have the rewarding experiences that we enjoy.
“But me getting a lifetime achievement award at my young age of 78 is a bit premature,” quipped Weldon. “Most of my best achievements are still ahead. The best is yet to come.”
Weldon earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture in 1956, a master's degree in management in 1962 and a doctoral degree in economics in 1964, all from Purdue.
A native of Kentland, Ind., Weldon has been a friend and adviser to Purdue biomedical engineering since its inception in 1974. He enjoys mentoring students and returned to campus recently to meet with the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering ambassadors where much of an informal discussion over lunch centered on Weldon’s tips for entrepreneurial success.
His parting advice to the next generation of biomedical engineers: “You’re in the right field. Keep learning. Read the paper. Go to the trade shows. Talk to the grey hairs, and pay attention.”
Weldon is the tenth recipient of the Phoenix Lifetime Achievement Award. Another Purdue alumnus, Ron Dollens, received the award in 2006. Dollens earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1970 and an honorary doctorate in pharmacy in 2001, both from Purdue.
In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, a Most Promising New Product Award, Emerging Growth Company Award, and an Innovator’s Award also are presented at the conference. NeuroStar TMS Therapy System©, a treatment of Major Depressive Disorder and pioneered by Neuronetics, Inc., won the Phoenix 2012 Most Promising New Product Award. Neuronetcs, Inc. was co-founded by Weldon in 2001.