EMDT’s series of interviews offers personal perspectives on the diverse industries and associations that serve the medical device technology sector. Here, we talk to Heinz-Peter Hippler, IVAM's new Managing Director.
|Heinz-Peter Hippler is Managing Director of IVAM, an international association of companies and institutes in the fields of microtechnology, nanotechnology and advanced materials.|
Q If I were not talking to you right now, what would you be doing?
A I would probably be answering e-mails or preparing for an upcoming meeting.
Q How did you get into the industry?
A Because of my job history. I’ve been active in the measurement technology sector for many years, and, inevitably, you start to like working in small dimensions such as micro- and nanotechnology.
Q You took over the position of IVAM Managing Director from Uwe Kleinkes. Is there anything that you intend to do differently?
A Well, first of all I will continue with the same determination and consistency with which Dr. Kleinkes established and expanded IVAM. Because of my past, which has been influenced by industry, I almost certainly will incorporate a few aspects dealing with marketing, sales and “go-to-market” strategies.
Q Is there a particular area that you would like to focus on?
A Yes—increasing our membership numbers. I would also like to expand our activities in the area of medical technology. And we need to create awareness of the ongoing demographic change, which will affect particularly small- and medium-sized member companies. I think it is our job—as an association—to recognise the warning signs and trends early on, to perform analyses and to suggest actions that should be taken.
Q What did you do before joining IVAM?
A Originally I studied to be a physics engineer. For 10 years I developed optical and laser-optical measurement methods and systems for the iron and steel producing industry. After that I joined the industry as a product manager and served as a sort of moderator between sales and product development. In the process, I began to enjoy communications and networking. I have also served as the European operations manager for a US company and, until recently, the global marketing and sales manager for a high-tech firm in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Q What is the best thing about your work?
A The challenge of developing an endeavour and being able to implement the entire sales spectrum (some people call it communicating, negotiating, enforcing something).
Q What is special about a trade association such as IVAM?
A The acumen with which, more than 15 years ago, people realised that micro- and nanotechnologies will one day be of extreme importance for pretty much all areas in life.
Q What do you think is the most important medical device invention ever?
A Well, I want to limit my answer to mechanical developments and say that I find minimally invasive surgery absolutely fascinating.
Q What should people give more attention to?
A To think outside the box and explore all possibilities of cross-sectional technology in micro- and nanotechnologies.
Q What do you see as the most exciting development in the nano- and microtechnology sector right now?
A This area is so diverse that it is difficult to name just one thing. At Compamed/Medica in the fall, our member companies will be showing the entire spectrum of innovative solutions for tomorrow’s medical device technologies. Companies will demonstrate how to develop innovative medical devices using new production technologies, system integration methods and materials that can, for instance, improve implant attachment.