in the Operating Room
Betty Adams Roach '43
Lambie 73 is a master salesman of life-saving high technology
surgical products that are often so new and complex he has to train
his customers how to use them. This means Lambie or, more likely
these days, the sales representatives of the company he founded
and manages, often don surgical gowns and masks and stand ready
to provide on-the-job support to surgeons and nurses in hospital
is president and CEO of State of the Art Medical Products Inc. (SOTA),
a specialty surgical sales company launched in 1982. SOTA, which
employs 32 people, has a special mission: to bring new technologies
to the surgical market. Products of the manufacturers SOTA
represents, Lambie stresses, must provide benefits to the
patient, hospital, and surgeon. By insisting on products that
make a difference, he says, we have helped many
patients to a better quality of life.
a product-focus concentrated in the operating room, SOTA has two
sales divisions: surgery and pain management. The surgical sales
division sells products utilized in vascular, cardiac, general,
and neurosurgery. The pain management division works with interventional
pain specialists, mainly neurosurgeons and anesthesiologists who
specialize in pain management.
salespeople, therefore, spend many hours in the operating room.
In the OR, Lambie explains, theyre there to learn or
to be prepared to answer questions about the product. Before any
procedure where a new item is being used, the salesperson provides
education to the surgeons and nurses involved in the procedure.
Some of SOTAs products are so demanding that the surgeon must
first attend training courses at other locations to obtain certification
to perform the procedure.
among these unusual instruments and devices are a new mechanical
heart valve, dialysis catheters, high-speed drills for neurosurgeons,
and a spinal cord stimulator that utilizes catheters containing
electrodes that block pain impulses to the brain. Another key product
is a device used to measure the actual blood flow through a new
coronary artery graft.
came to Moravian after his former eighth-grade teacher (a Princeton
basketball recruiter who had watched him develop in high school
sports) recommended him as a football talent to Rocco Calvo. He
started as tight end for three years, played on the 1970 championship
team, and remembers Rocco as a leader who had the ability to bring
out the best in his players and coaches. I received
an excellent education at Moravian, he says. I know
there are many times I draw upon what I learned at Moravian both
in business and in my personal life.
charge to business success as owner of a multimillion-dollar enterprise
confirms this belief. His first job after graduation was in salesselling
Green Giant Foods, Dole Pineapple, StarKist Tuna, and similar products
for a food brokerage firm. He soon moved to a dental products company
and, despite a starring sales record and good promotions, quit to
join Shiley Laboratories, a manufacturer of surgical products. But
when Shiley promoted him to Midwest regional sales manager and tried
to transfer him to Chicago, Lambie said noI like the
East Coast. He knew then it was time to do something on his
own and launched his own business.
on-the-job experience with Shiley, then the worlds leading
manufacturer of heart valves, had provided valuable know-how that
he quickly put to good use in organizing and managing SOTA. A unique
responsibility as a surgical products salesman had involved going
into hospital operating rooms during surgery to provide technical
support for items he had sold. He also spent many hours reading
product training manuals and medical publications. And so it goes
the owner and chief executive, Lambie not only oversees the entire
operation of his company but also bears responsibility for finding
new technologies, maintaining relationships with manufacturers,
and determining which surgical markets SOTA should enter.
support also is a major concern. The sophisticated nature of SOTAs
products necessitates a 24-hour emergency system to handle critical
problems. Emergencies range from a nurse calling in the middle of
the night because the OR crew may be experiencing a problem requiring
technical support, to situations where someone forgot to order
an item. Three persons are always on call.
staff includes his brother Craig, who oversees the pain management
division, and his wife, Dena, a nurse whose background includes
four years as an operating room director. Mrs. Lambie provides technical
research for new products under consideration; she also helps train
the companys product specialists, who provide technical support,
make key presentations, and provide continuous training
to SOTAs sales teams and customers.
its nearly 20 years of existence, SOTA has received numerous sales
awards. Many times we have taken a company from zero dollar
sales to several million dollars in annual sales in our territory,
Lambie notes proudly. But the most satisfying thing about his job,
he says, is that we are providing products that make a difference
to a patient.