For more than 30 years, Altimate Medical Holdings Inc. has manufactured and distributed therapeutic standing devices from their headquarters in Morton, Minnesota. They began by making wheelchairs and have since developed their product line to include examination tables, shower assist devices and more.
“The products we make directly impact people,” explained Steven Vannelli, Altimate’s Director of Operations. “They’re helping people here in town and across the country.”
Altimate’s client base is continually growing, with sales now in more than 60 countries, which means their workload is growing too. So, this summer they decided to bring on a design engineering intern and a manufacturing intern to help them out with some extra projects.
Looking for well-rounded individuals with the right skillsets, Vannelli selected Anne Bundy and Jarrod Setterstrom from a collection of candidates he found through the SciTech Internship Program.
“On paper, they all could do the work. The differentiators with these two were their attitudes and their willingness to do things that are outside the box,” Vannelli said. “They answered my questions well and were adaptable and flexible. They proved that they had what it takes to be high-level fulltime candidates.”
Bundy originally had an opportunity lined up with a larger company, but when Covid caused them to cancel, she turned to the SciTech job board instead. “I was lucky to find this internship,” said Bundy. “I’ve always wanted to work in the medical device industry and it’s nice to get a feel for a smaller company. Working at a larger company, most of my internship was writing proposals for ideas I have. Working at Altimate means I’m actually carrying out my ideas and seeing them on the manufacturing line.”
Mapping and testing
Over the summer, Bundy created product value maps for Altimate’s manufacturing processes, mapping the materials’ journey all the way from the supplier to the customer. She also worked closely with many of the builders on the manufacturing floor, measuring their time spent on each unit to calculate their overall productivity. This research was then taken into account for the production floor redesign that she made.
“I’m a very personal person so I liked getting to know all the builders,” Bundy said. “Getting to be out on the manufacturing floor, talking with them and asking questions was definitely my favorite part.”
Setterstrom on the other hand, got the chance to put his building abilities to the test, literally. He designed and tested his own fixture and even created the testing device that they would use to evaluate it. In order to do this, Setterstrom was able to work with wielding equipment his first week on the job which, he said, was one of his favorite experiences.
“As an engineer, it’s a great thing to know how things are built and to physically go out and build it yourself,” Setterstom said.
Over the last ten years, Vannelli has lead internship programs at multiple organizations. “I’ve seen the low cost, high impact of what interns can bring to a company, if the program is set up properly and if the candidates are qualified,” he said. “These two are prime examples. They came in ready to hit the ground running from day one. That’s where you start to see a big return.”
Altimate received two hardworking additions to their workforce and Bundy and Setterstrom were given a chance to flourish and grow in their industry.
“I’ve learned more about my capabilities as an engineer,” Bundy concluded. “It’s given me more confidence.”
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