Innovation — Small Company
Vice president of finance
Direct Flow Medical, Inc.
451 Aviation Blvd., Suite 1070A, Santa Rosa 95403, 707-576-0420, directflowmedical.com
Employees: About 85
Professional background: CPA
Education: B.S. Business Administration, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; MBA, University of San Francisco
Comment about Michael Burgess: “Mike has broad financial and general management experience. He is a high integrity individual, tireless worker with an exceptional attitude that for a fast growing medical technology Co is paramount and has established him as a leader within our organization in all finance, administration, human resource, IT and facilities. In addition he is a great person, father and family man.“– Bernard Lyons, Ph.D., president and CEO,Direct Flow Medical, Inc.
What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?
The CFO is responsible for providing executive management and the board of directors with financial information, progress toward strategic goals, aligning internal operations to business needs and involvement in setting goals and objectives as part of the executive team.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your industry?
No question, the regulatory environment is much tougher that it has ever been with more testing and more clinical data being needed than ever before. Time to market has lengthened dramatically from 10 years ago and you have to be prepared to succeed over the long term.
Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past?
Starting a clinical trial in Europe during which our company’s aortic valve systems has been successfully implanted in over 40 patients, so far. Our employees, advisors and partner physicians have worked extremely hard to make it to this point, but it’s worth it for us and especially the patient’s that are experiencing improved clinical outcomes. We are very excited about the future.
What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?
Get involved. You need to understand the business, the products, the market by working with others. Business knowledge is key, working with the individuals that design, make, market and sell the product is so important. You can always learn the dollars and cents, but understanding what drives the company will give you the respect of others in the company and make it much easier to drive your ideas and create value
What’s the best advice for weathering today’s economic environment?
Be able to build a company in an exciting market as capital efficient as possible. You never know when you need to have those funds as they say the best laid plans don’t always work and you will need money to go farther than you ever thought.
How do you think your business will change in the next five years?
We are being transformed from an R&D stage to revenue generating commercial company. The change will mean significant challenges including competition from much larger competitors, but we’ll have a distinct advantage with our second generation technology and clinical results.
What is a decision you wish you hadn’t made? What did you learn from it?
For a while I left the medical device industry to work in a new industry, both the new company and new industry was rewarding, but nothing like working at Direct Flow Medical, Inc. that has a product that improves and saves lives.
What is your most memorable business experience?
Being a manager for a medical device company that achieved United States FDA approval on their very first product.
What is your greatest business success?
Being a manager of the same company that was successfully acquired by a fortune 500 Company in the biggest medical device deal ever at that time.
What was your toughest business decision?
In my career, I’ve gone through a couple of layoffs and have had to deliver the bad news. I feel for employees that lose their jobs and everyone suffers, the employee, their family, friends, community.
What would your friends be surprised to find out about you?
I think they know pretty much all there is to know, I’m not real exciting.
Most admired businessperson outside the company:
Steve Jobs – he knew what his customers wanted, even before they knew.
Current reading: Time Magazine, but I really just skim the articles, since I can’t sit down for a long read.
Most want to meet: John Muir (but that can’t happen)
Stress relievers: Taking a hike without the kids!
Favorite activities outside work: Bike riding, hiking, working out, taking my boat out on the Bay.
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