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Olympus holds groundbreaking for new Bartlett facility

Posted by | July 18 2016

Original article appeared in the Memphis Business Journal

“Silicon Valley of medical device” is in Memphis

A planned groundbreaking for Olympus’ new $12 million facility in Bartlett was moved indoors due to the weather, but the results were the same.

Olympus executives along with local and state economic development officials see the project as another step toward the city’s growing dominance in the medical device industry. The company built its original 66,000-square-foot facility in Bartlett in 1984 and it currently employs more than 150 people. It is expecting to hire another 280 when construction is complete.

The new facility, which will service and distribute a variety of medical equipment and devices such as endoscopes, surgical devices and generators, is expected to be open by late spring 2017. Joe Doherty, executive vice president of strategies for Olympus, said the company’s proven success with the existing facility moved the company toward its decision to expand here as well.

“We knew we could have qualified employees here,” Doherty said.

The company also wanted to be closer to its east coast customers, and logistically, Memphis provided the best option for that as well. John Threadgill, president of the Bartlett Chamber of Commerce, proves the region is the epicenter of the device industry, and it also proves that Bartlett “is open for business” when it comes to those companies.

Allen Borden, assistant commissioner of business development for the Department of Economic and Community Development, said the Memphis region’s growing reputation in the device industry is giving the area the reputation as the “Silicon Valley of medical device.” And if that’s the case, Olympus could be like Apple, since it has been here for so long.

Keith McDonald, mayor of Bartlett, said keeping a company like Olympus “catches the attention” of other device companies that may be looking to move or expand.

“They tend to cluster, and we already have that kind of cluster going,” McDonald said. “It’ll grow exponentially.”