The local employment sector was given a welcome boost this week after a Longford engineer picked up one of the country’s most prized business related awards.
Dwain Tarmey, a project engineer with medical devices firm VistaMed, fought off a string of rivals to be crowned gradireland’s Graduate Employee of the Year award for 2011.
The 27-year-old, who originally hails from just outside Lanesboro along the Roscommon border, secured the honour following his work in designing, developing and bringing to market a pioneering orthopaedic device.
Put simply, the inflatable balloon catheter allows osteoporosis patients to leave hospital after just 24 hours with improved mobility, reduced pain and improved quality of life.
Now just over two years later, the device has reached the US and more than 50 countries worldwide. VistaMed has also secured a new contract and expanded its staff roster by 20 due to a massive 500 per cent increase in production.
It’s quite a turnaround not just for Mr Tarmey but also for VistaMed. A month after joining the company in February 2009, the firm lost a major client, leaving Tarmey with one engineer for support.
Yet for all his own input in reviving VistaMed’s fortunes, the softly spoken former Lanesboro Community College student was quick to complement the patience and support of his fellow colleagues.
“They (VistaMed) were delighted for me. I am delighted for the company; it has given us some added business and we have hired a lot of people since. The team at VistaMed have been great, Ciaran Gilmartin especially for his assistance and guidance,” he said.
Having studied polymer technologies at Athlone Institute of Technology before going on to obtain a Masters degree, Tarmey was initially tasked with leading an all-island project organised through business development body InterTradeIreland.
Impressed by the evident success of the catheter, judges were especially taken with the devices’ prospective impact on VistaMed’s long term output, with sales projected to increase by 33 per cent by the end of the year.
His parents, Martin and Bernadette have also been quietly revelling in their son’s achievements this week. Clutching a printed copy of last Friday’s Irish Times with a photograph of Dwain alongside Brendan Baker from NUI Mayooth and Gavan O’Brien of gradireland, Mr Tarmey snr said the family were “absolutely delighted” with the news.
For the man at the centre of it all, the events and euphoria of last Wednesday have all but dissipated as thoughts now turn to finding new objectives and more importantly furthering the VistaMed name.
“The challenge of finding a solution to our customers problem, taking the idea into production stage and reaching a successful result-that’s what I enjoy,” he added.