Bakken Society Medtronic

Six Employees Receive Company's Highest Technical Honor

The Bakken Society holds annual colloquium to induct new members and leads important discussions around the future of the biomedical device industry.

When Nicole Kirchhof is asked about her reaction to being inducted into the Bakken Society, her reply is exactly what you’d expect from a scientist.

“It’s still incubating.”

She admits she’s still processing the honor, but calls it “humbling.”

Being inducted into the Bakken Society is the highest technical honor bestowed upon a Medtronic employee. Named after Medtronic founder Earl Bakken, it consists of employees who have made multiple technical contributions to the company and to the biomedical device industry. 

Nicole Kirchhof Medtronic

"This is the best place in the world to see innovation on the brink within the clinical arena," says Nicole Kirchhof.

“I got a call from Earl Bakken who told me the news,” says Nicole, a Senior Principal Veterinary Pathologist. “It was sheer joy.”

In August, the Medtronic Bakken Society held its annual colloquium. Each year, the group meets to discuss issues related to the industry like data analytics, R&D, co-morbidities, or emerging markets. This year, the Society focused on the importance of cross-business collaboration and its impact on healthcare innovation.

They also inducted six new members to the Bakken Society as Bakken Fellows.

“Being at the Bakken Colloquium made it official,” she says. “It reinforced the significance and put meaning behind the honor.”

Nicole’s induction comes after 12 years of hard work at Medtronic. As a leading pathologist, she provides pathology support for all the company’s business units and offers expertise regarding patient safety of new or improved medical devices.

“I am looking at problems and asking questions,” she says. “This is the best place in the world to see innovation on the brink within the clinical arena.”

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Michael Hill, Vice President of Corporate Science, Technology and Clinical Affairs, addresses the crowd at this year's colloquium.

Along with Nicole, other 2017 inductees included:

·       Walt Baxter, Senior Principal Scientist, Restorative Therapies Group

·       Kelly Coleman, Distinguished Scientist, Physiological Research Laboratories

·       Patrick Helm, Senior Engineering Manager, Advanced Development

·       Doug Hettrick, Director of Medical Affairs, Coronary and Renal Denervation

·       Kurt Smith, Vice President, Data Science, Technology Solutions, Strategic Scientific Operations

One way to create a more innovative culture is to make connections and involve more people in the work.

Michael Hill, Vice President of Corporate Science, Technology and Clinical Affairs

The annual colloquium — which brings together some of the brightest minds in the company — featured a discussion around meaningful partnerships within Medtronic.

“The best chance for groundbreaking innovation is at the intersection where diverse concepts, cultures, and disciplines collide,” said Michael Hill, Vice President of Corporate Science, Technology and Clinical Affairs for Medtronic. “One way to create a more innovative culture is to make connections and involve more people in the work.”

Nicole is doing just that —  daily connecting with a diverse group of scientists and engineers and believes it’s the key to the future of healthcare.

“I believe my specialty is the most comprehensive, steadfast, and fascinating niche in the biomedical field. And it’s a privilege to live out the Medtronic Mission of alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life.”