Bradshaw Medical plans to double size of HQ

Bradshaw Medical Inc.

Headquarters: Kenosha

Industry: Surgical instruments

Employees: About 100

The greater Milwaukee region has long been home to manufacturers of hand tools. Historic brands such as Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. and Snap-On have been long-time icons amongst professionals and do-it-yourselfers.

Kenosha-based Bradshaw Medical Inc. makes a series of hand tools as well, but its tools are designed for a highly specialized market – spinal and orthopedic surgeons. The company’s medical instruments are used by physicians to place implants, screws and plates during spinal and related surgeries.

Its top selling tools are ratcheting screw drivers and torque-limiting devices. Torque-limiting devices are crucial in spinal surgery to make sure that screws have not been over-tightened, said Guy Bradshaw, chairman and chief executive officer of the company.

All of Bradshaw Medical’s instruments are made from stainless steel or plastics that can hold up to sterilization in an autoclave.

“We design and manufacture everything in house,” Bradshaw said. “We mold all of our own handles in silicone rubber. Over-molding is a big part of our business, so that the instruments don’t slip during surgery. The physicians are wearing latex gloves and they’re usually dealing with a bloody environment.”

Bradshaw Medical’s instruments are sold to medical original equipment manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson, who include them in pre-prepared kits for specific medical procedures. Those kits include tools, implanted screws or devices and related materials.

Bradshaw Medical, which was started in 2006, has seen significant growth in recent years, largely because of its attention to quality and precision. Its torque-limiting devices have played an important role in its growing reputation Bradshaw said, because they are designed with tighter tolerances than previous industry standards.

“The industry standard is plus or minus 10 percent on accuracy,” he said. “We guarantee all of ours to be plus or minus five percent, and our customers routinely tell us they are holding to three percent. Our customers are seeing ours as being far superior to our competitors.”

Before he started Bradshaw Medical in 2006, Bradshaw worked in medical instrument sales with Snap-On and another Kenosha-based medical tool manufacturer named Beere Medical. After Beere Medical was acquired by Teleflex Medical OEM in 2002, he decided to start his own company.

When the company started in 2006, it had four employees. Today it has more than 100.

In August, 2010, Bradshaw Medical moved into a 30,000-square-foot facility in the Business Park of Kenosha. Because of its continued growth, Bradshaw Medical is now planning to double the size of its facility next year, Bradshaw said.

“Last year we grew by about 30 percent,” he said. “We’re anticipating $22 million to $25 million in business this year, which would be about 45 percent growth. We have plans of hiring 50 to 75 more employees in the next three years.”

Bradshaw’s son and daughter are both working in the business, and he has started looking for acquisition targets that would complement Bradshaw Medical’s current book of business.

The medical field expects that the number of spinal surgeries performed every year will triple by 2015, Bradshaw said, which should create a significant expansion opportunity for his company.

“I think the potential is there, if we can support it, to triple our business by 2015,” he said. “We’ve got to get through the challenges of rapid growth. But we’re at the tip of the iceberg with the Baby Boomers. It’s not really a matter of if the business is there, but if we can support the demand.”

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