Partners for Win-Wins
Steelhead Surgical
In the dynamic and ever-evolving field of medical technology, Steelhead Surgical stands out as a beacon of innovation and commitment to excellence. As an independent franchise of Arthrex – one of 62 national agencies who support the world’s leading orthopedic medical device manufacturer – Steelhead Surgical has carved a niche for itself by prioritizing not just the continued success of its products, but the development and education of the medical professionals who use them. This, in turn, drives business growth and enhances patient care. 

Harry Ault, the owner and the visionary behind Steelhead Surgical, understands the importance of investing in human capital. He believes that loyalty is built by providing value and investing in people. This philosophy is the cornerstone of Steelhead’s business model, which Harry describes as a “triangle of business, people, and goodwill.” By focusing on these three pillars, Steelhead not only fosters a positive work environment but also guarantees long-term success.

Steelhead Surgical’s dedication to investing in people is evident through its comprehensive educational initiatives. With a network that includes doctors who have treated sports legends like Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant, Steelhead is at the forefront of medical innovation and excellence. The company provides a state-of-the-art lab where surgeons can practice procedures before performing them on patients. This hands-on training ensures better patient outcomes, as surgeons refine their techniques and build confidence in a controlled environment. This lab is more than just a training ground; it symbolizes Steelhead’s commitment to continuous learning and improvement.

Harry leans on his team leaders, Amber Markey and Henry Rolfs. Their work ensures that both new and experienced surgeons are well-equipped to handle the challenges of modern medicine. An acclaimed reputation, and the reliance of so many surgical professionals, requires consistently sound financial operation.

Henry, the Director of Finance & Corporate Operations, makes sure all dollars go where they need to go in a timely manner because the business can’t slow down. He manages the company’s operating line of credit with Lewis & Clark Bank. His growing role has opened up space for Harry to remain strategic.  

Harry says, “Lewis & Clark Bank gives me confidence that our banking partner understands the unique needs of our business.  Communication is easy and personalized.  I value this relationship.” Since 2020, the Lewis & Clark team continues to provide Steelhead Surgical with the necessary capital to deliver consistent performance to its customers and further expand an already-impressive market footprint. 

Amber, Director of Medical Education, plays a crucial role in this process. With a background as an NCAA Division 1 clinical trainer at the University of Portland and a professor at Linfield College, Amber brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. She is responsible for prepping the labs, educating new hires, and expanding the reach of Steelhead’s network of surgeons. “The lab is the heartbeat of the building,” says Harry, “and it really means something to people well beyond these walls.” 

The company’s distribution network spans across Oregon, Washington, and Northern California, with a focus on ACL and shoulder surgeries, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma, spine, and the newly added cardio thoracic area. Steelhead Surgical maintains a substantial inventory of parts worth about $70 million, ensuring they can meet the needs of their clients promptly and consistently.

While Steelhead Surgical is fundamentally a sales-driven company, with 76 employees, including 60 sales representatives, the relationship between sales and education is symbiotic. Sales reps are not just sellers; they are technology consultants who work closely with surgeons to understand their needs and challenges. This close collaboration fosters mutual respect and trust, which is essential for supporting a surgeon’s workload effectively. Steelhead’s sales team is rigorously trained and tested over a two-year period, ensuring they are knowledgeable and capable of providing top-notch support in the operating room. This extensive training program underscores the company’s commitment to excellence and the value it places on education.

Founded in 2014, Steelhead Surgical has grown from a small operation with 12 employees to a thriving enterprise. Harry’s vision of independence and growth has propelled the company to expect a 15% growth rate each year. The company’s headquarters, a 90,000 sq. ft. building that once housed the first Henry Ford dealership in Portland, is a testament to their innovative spirit and commitment to preserving history while pushing the boundaries of modern medicine.

Steelhead Surgical’s unwavering commitment to investing in people and education is a driving force behind their success. By providing unparalleled training opportunities, fostering a culture of mutual respect, and maintaining a strategic business model, Steelhead Surgical not only improves their business and stabilizes revenue streams, but also ensures that patients receive the best possible care. This win-win approach exemplifies how investing in people can lead to outstanding outcomes for all stakeholders involved.
“Lewis & Clark Bank gives me confidence that our banking partner understands the unique needs of our business.  Communication is easy and personalized.  I value this relationship.”
- Harry Ault, Owner