Founded in 1934 as a small printing and lithographic company, Beekley Corporation is now a world leading supplier of niche medical and hospitality products. President and CEO Ayn S. LaPlant, began her career at Beekley in 1977 and has been an integral component of Beekley's success over the last three decades.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Ayn and discuss the evolution of Beekley Medical and why a mission to make a difference helps drive our company’s success.
Q: Ayn, could you share with our readers a bit about Beekley Medical, and a brief overview of our business today?
A: Throughout our history, the key to our growth and longevity has been a focus on specialization, innovation, and adaptability. In 1984, we introduced the X-SPOT® - the first professional skin marker for diagnostic imaging.
It was originally intended to mark nipples on chest films to clarify nipple shadows from actual lung nodules. It quickly spread through other areas within radiology to replace a variety of makeshift methods for communicating an area of concern on film.
The X-SPOT's success in these other areas of radiology led to the development of additional modality-specific skin markers for radiological imaging and radiation therapy - most notably the Beekley Skin Marking System® for Mammography which first introduced the concept of specific shapes for identifying and communicating specific areas of interest on the breast for clearer communication between technologist and interpreting physician.
This focus on medical imaging led to the eventual creation of Beekley Medical as a division of Beekley Corporation solely devoted to developing simple, low cost, disposable medical products that help improve communication, productivity, and patient care.
Q: How do you see the company’s future in terms of sales, technology, and product evolution?
Our industries are carefully monitored to ensure our products meet tomorrow’s needs today. One example of this is the evolution of our skin markers for mammography - not only were we the first to introduce lower density markers for digital mammography, we were also the first to identify and address the unique needs of 3D mammography with the introduction of TomoSPOT® for digital breast tomosynthesis.
We also see growth through partnerships with customers, clinicians, inventors, and other manufacturers to produce and/or market professional products that improve upon current methods. Our company size allows us to take on projects that may be turned down by larger companies, and we only accept the projects that truly interest us so that any joint venture is a win-win for both parties. Elequil aromatabs® and Breeza® flavored beverages are an example of these types of partnerships.
Elequil® was brought to us by an ultra-sonographer who had the idea of using aromatherapy as a way to help relax and calm her patients and Breeza was brought to us by a radiologist/inventor who wanted to provide a more palatable solution for patients undergoing abdominal contrast studies. To encourage those types of win-win relationships, we recently established WMB Enterprises to cultivate strategic partnerships with individuals and companies who need help bringing a product idea to market, or to increase sales and market penetration of an existing product.
Because of these partnerships with healthcare professionals which help solve real-life challenges, demand for our products continues to grow domestically and abroad. Not only are we growing internally at our home here in Bristol, we are actively seeking additional global partners to grow with us and fulfill the growing demand for Beekley's products internationally.
Q: And lastly, what would you say makes Beekley unique?
I would say it’s our company culture and passion for what we do. We really believe that we can make a real difference in the world, not only through products that help our customers serve their customers better, but also by giving back to our communities at the local level as well as to the imaging community as a whole.
We’re also very person–centric, one of the few businesses left where you can call in and have a live person pick up the phone during business hours to provide immediate assistance and world class customer care. We consider ourselves as our customers' partner in patient care - we are as invested in improving the patient experience as they are. Beekley is a committed partner to the entire healthcare organization. Everyone at Beekley is invested in ensuring that our products and services help our customers improve efficacy, streamline operations, maximize reimbursement opportunities, reduce waste, and provide a better patient experience.
This type of engagement has been coded into our corporate DNA from the beginning and I believe is the driving force behind Beekley's success and longevity as a company.