By Anna Lardinois, Startup Storyteller
Maker llc, founded in 2012, might be one of the region’s most inventive workplaces. The collection of creatives has been producing graphic designs, product designs, and environmental designs for over a decade.
The Mequon-based design firm has recently gotten a whole lot more inventive. It has spun out a design company that focuses on medical devices, Maker Healthcare Inc. With an emphasis on technologies used by those with disabilities or injuries, the new company aims to “disrupt the assistive device industry” with its revolutionary wheelchair technology.
Launched in 2021, the new company was co-founded by industrial designer and CEO Ryan Ramos, and Maker llc CEO, Heidi Ramos. The pair are partners both in business and in life. The couple met while students at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), and have been inspiring, and challenging, each other ever since.
Influenced by the working relationship between married industrial designers Ray-Bernice and Charles Eames, the pair believe their collaborative work is the strongest representation of their skills. “Our aesthetic sensibilities fuse seamlessly,” Heidi Ramos said.
For both Maker llc and Maker Healthcare, the magic happens because of its employees.
From the workstations where artists create and engineers design, to the workshop where prototypes of cutting-edge adaptive device technology are being shaped, everyone on the team is part of, and invested in, the creative process.
The creativity that comes from the necessity of wearing multiple hats appeals to Jason Pittman, Vice President of Product Engineering. Pittman spent the majority of his career at GE Medical where he honed his skills developing products for the healthcare industry. With more than 20 years of experience in Mechanical Engineering, he enjoys his new role because it allows him to flex his creative problem-solving skills while working on multiple projects with teammates that have different areas of expertise.
Jamie Payne, a Mechanical Design Engineer with more than a quarter of a century of product development experience, is another member of the team who built his career at a major corporation but decided to join the Maker Healthcare team.
Payne stated that startups are “great places to gain a variety of professional experiences because employees are exposed to all aspects of the entire process,” unlike the siloed approach to engineering that is part of the more traditional experience.
Newly graduated Product Engineer, Ally Doll, agrees. She is delighted with the variety of projects she gets to work on at Maker Healthcare. She is energized by the creative atmosphere of the workplace and enjoys working with her clients.
Graphic Designers Izzy Ahrens and Sarah Wilson also appreciate the opportunity to flex their creative muscles by working on a variety of projects. As Ahrens said with a laugh, “It’s when worlds collide- graphic and industrial design!”
Leading them all is Ryan Ramos. With more than 20 years of design experience, CEO Ramos has led projects for some of the nation’s most recognized companies. He began his career as an Industrial Designer at GE Medical where he developed a passion for how design could positively impact patient outcomes. He later served as the Director of Design for the Health & Education division of Steelcase.
The Qualified New Business Venture certified business is in growth mode. The company is currently raising a seed round and has so far secured $500,000 of capital. While raising funds, the company continues to work on its unique wheelchair with patent pending design elements that promise to dramatically improve the functionality of the tool for its users. The company states that the wheelchair is just the first in a planned series of intelligent products for the assistive device industry.
To learn more about this emerging company and provide feedback on the use of assistive devices, connect with the company here.