Behind the scenes at Lake Oswego’s own global medical device maker

Biotronik, one of the world’s largest producers of pacemakers and defibrillators, is based in Berlin, Germany.

The electronic innards in those devices come from Lake Oswego, where Biotronik, has its North American headquarters.

Inside long-slung warehouses off Boones Ferry Road, Micro Systems Engineering Inc. employs 350 people in electronics assembly, as well as sales and marketing for Biotronik.

“The electronic manufacturing is 100 percent done in Oregon,” said Juergen Lindner, general manager at Micro Systems Engineering, a division of Biotronik.

I got to take a tour of the facility last week during a job fair put on by the BioCatalyst Professional Certificate Program. Oregon Bioscience Association developed BioCatalyst to enable mid-career professionals to earn sector-specific bioscience certificates and qualify for well-paying jobs.

The program received $325,000 in financial backing from the state and Business Oregon. A cohort of 38 is currently enrolled in one of two certificate tracks — the Medical Device Foundations or Quality Assurance.

The applied STEM training is tailored to unemployed and underemployed management professionals, said Oregon Bio Executive Director Dennis McNannay.

“We’re trying to fill a gap,” he said.

Already, 26 people, some with PhDs, have graduated from the program, which soft-launched in October. The courses are offered at no cost to qualified candidates.

The average wage for biotech and life sciences in Oregon is $62,538, compared to the statewide wage of $43,685, according to The Battelle Institute.

Other tracks included in the BioCatalyst program are manufacturing, medical software, circuit board foundations and pharma foundations.

BioCatalyst isn’t Oregon Bio’s first training program. Since 2009, the association has offered a professional training program called BioPro, which has trained 1,600 bioscience workers.

Elizabeth Hayes
Staff Reporter-
Portland Business Journal


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