MedTech Legend J. Mark King on Trust, Mentorship and Results

Mark King is no stranger to the medical device space. He’s been a fixture in the industry for more than 30 years with leadership roles at many leading medtech organizations, including Tegra Medical, Clinical Innovations, AccuCirc/SafeCirc, Avalign Technologies, Argon Medical, Angiotech/AMI Holdings, Johnson & Johnson and Cardinal Health

We’re thrilled to welcome Mark to the KMM team as our new healthcare industry advisor and board chairperson. In this post, we’d like to introduce him by sharing an equally informative and engaging conversation with this highly respected medtech industry veteran and friend.

KMM:  How would you describe yourself?

JMK: As I reflect on the last 30 years, I hope people will say I’m trustworthy. I strive to honor the trust aspect of relationships with customers, employees, and shareholders. This characteristic has helped me build strong, trusting partnerships that are the foundation of my career.

KMM: There are many medtech contract manufacturers out there. What attracted you to partner with us?

JMK: I’ve known many owner-founders, but none as willing as John and Eric to bring others around them to help them lead and grow the business. I have strong professional and personal respect for both of them and look forward to helping them achieve their goals.

KMM: What do you hope to bring to your advisory and chairperson roles?

JMK: I know the capabilities and investments needed to support medtech OEMs. I understand the publicly traded world and the hospital side and have even been in front of the FDA, giving me valuable experience and credibility. I plan to use my experience to help KMM ensure it has the right capacity, people, technologies, facility, and everything else needed to help it succeed and become a preeminent medtech contract manufacturer.  

KMM: You’ve had several medtech leadership roles in your career. What do you think makes a good leader? 

JMK: When you look at your leadership performance, you must have accomplished results. A good person doesn’t always make you a good leader; in the end, customers, employees, and shareholders expect results. I consider myself a results-oriented leader. I set out on a mission with goals and objectives to grow the business at a specific rate while manufacturing the highest quality products possible. I often reflect on those goals and objectives while assessing performance. Even if we haven’t hit the mark precisely on the head, what matters is that we’re moving forward in a directionally correct way.

KMM: What’s your favorite quote?

JMK:  Early in my career, I would send my team a quote of the month. They were short but had profound messages that impacted your life. The one that has been with me for more than 25 years is:
None of us is as smart as all of us.” – Kenneth H. Blanchard
I love this quote because it drives home the idea that everybody has a seat at the table. When everyone contributes and combines talents, it is a recipe for success.

KMM: What events have shaped your life?

JMK: When I was young, I worked in a local pharmacy. It was a company building a chain of drugstores that would eventually sell to CVS. While working at one of the stores, I befriended a pharmacist who was a Purdue graduate. He influenced me to go there, and so I did. As a result, I became the first person in my family to pursue higher education and receive a degree. While at Purdue, I worked at the drug store warehouse, which gave me the income I needed to help put myself through college.  

KMM: What risks have you taken in your life?

JMK: After graduating from Purdue, I was very career-driven. I wanted to be a leader and would take just about any opportunity to help me climb the ladder. As a result, I would get calls from companies asking me to move here, relocate there – and I did. There was a lot of moving. Each time I went, it was a risk. Was it the right decision? Is it worth uprooting my family? Ultimately, I am glad I took those risks because they helped me get to where I am today. 

KMM: How do you make decisions? 

JMK: During my time at Tegra Medical, we always referred to our moral compass when making decisions, which I still rely on today. I always want to ensure that my moral compass points in the right direction and that I’m making decisions for the right reasons.

KMM: What is one of the scariest moments in your career?

JMK: My scariest moment was when I became CEO for the first time. My leadership role became almost exclusively strategic, which was very scary. The company was Clinical Innovations, a medical equipment manufacturer in Murray, Utah. 

KMM: What is the most important lesson(s) you’ve learned?

JMK: There are two that jump out. First, it’s the importance of professional mentoring. Having someone to turn to, provide guidance, and lend an ear for problem-solving can make a big difference. This person can ask the right questions because they’ve been there and know what to do. The mentors of my career are now longtime personal friends – they’ve been meaningful connections.

The second lesson I’ve learned is the importance of active listening. Surrounding oneself with highly accomplished executives and gathering their input will ultimately lead to the best business decisions.

KMM: Whom do you admire?

JMK: I admire my late grandfather. He was a hard-working farmer in the Midwest. He had a 200-acre farm, raised cattle, and worked the garden. He came from nothing and built a great life for himself and his family. It was a time when you didn’t take your car to the mechanic when it broke; you went to Napa Auto Parts and fixed it yourself. I admire that kind of work ethic. 

KMM: What are you looking forward to the most in this new partnership with KMM?

JMK: After years of John and Eric cultivating a vision for the future of KMM, it is now in the execution phase. I’m looking forward to helping them create a contract-manufacturing medical device company that will offer all-inclusive metal processing capabilities and technologies. It will be rewarding working with them to write the next chapters of KMM’s future. 

Learn more about our affiliation with Mark King, stay updated on our new facility, and check out our ultra-precision medtech manufacturing capabilities on our website.