Australian partnership

K2M finds a growing global market for its spinal devices

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Print this page by Joan Tupponce

Eric Major, president and CEO of K2M Inc., realized the severity of the flooding in Australia this year when one of his distributors had to make a critical delivery to a local hospital via rowboat.

“When we have patients on the surgery table, the surgeon needs our products right then,” says Major. “We have partners that are available 24/7 all around the world, and our customer service is 24/7. We will send products any time of the day or night. That’s the type of thing that differentiates us.”

K2M, an innovative spinal device company based in Leesburg, develops products used by surgeons all over the world to treat the most difficult cases of scoliosis and other spinal problems. The company’s product lines include spinal stabilization systems, minimally invasive surgery systems and other advanced technologies.
Founded in 2004, the company began its global expansion in 2008. Whenever K2M enters a foreign marketplace, it becomes familiar with the local culture. “That is our biggest takeaway,” says Major. “It’s critical for us to find a good partner in that country. That allows us to get an understanding of the local needs — how surgeons and hospitals get services and products.”

Currently, the company has about 25 international employees and 200 international sales representatives. “The first countries we sold to were the United Kingdom and Spain,” Major says. The company now has an office in the UK and one in Germany. It has distributors in Spain, Australia, Japan, Greece, Mexico and Portugal. K2M recently won the 2010 Export Achievement Award from the U.S. Commerce Department for its expansion to Ireland.

The company has been working with its distributor, LifeHealthcare, in Sydney, Australia, and New Zealand since 2009. “They are a very strong partner,” Major says.
Major finds Australians to be very entrepreneurial and hardworking. “They are enjoyable to work with,” he says. “They like the U.S. They like working together as a partnership.”

Australian businesses are in growth mode currently. “Because of the vast natural resources there, their economy has been booming,” Major says. “They are part of our continued growth.”

Known for the striking Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, Sydney sits on the southeast coast of Australia on the Tasman Sea. One of the most popular areas in the city is The Rocks. Its sandstone lanes and early 19th-century buildings are home to a variety of boutiques, restaurants and pubs. The city offers a wide range of diversions. The Art Gallery of New South Wales, for example, has a large display of Aboriginal art, while the Sydney Ferries take visitors out to the Harbour Bridge for a climb to the bridge’s highest point. 

The city’s economy
Sydney, known as Australia’s global city, is the state capital of New South Wales. It is home to the Australian Securities Exchange and dozens of banks and large companies. Corporations with headquarters in Sydney include Woolworths, a retail fresh-food chain, and Caltex Australia, a fuel supplier and convenience-store retailer. The information and communications technology industry is one of the fastest growing industries in New South Wales. Other growing sectors include the pharmaceutical industry. New South Wales also has a large manufacturing presence.

Where to stay
In Sydney, visitors can choose from a wide variety of hotels. The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney overlooks Sydney Harbour in the historic Rocks district, near the city’s business center. The InterContinental Sydney also overlooks the harbor and is near the Opera House and the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Sofitel Sydney Wentworth is located in the financial district and is not far from ferry, train and bus stops.

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