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November 3, 2008
Jones Lang LaSalle


How’s this for cool? Silver Spring-based SimQuest is developing the first 3-D open-surgical simulator, backed by grants from NIH, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Science Federation (a murderers’ row of investors if we ever saw one). The simulator will give novice doctors a place to steady their scalpel before starting on you, says company founder Dr. Howard Champion (a great name if we ever heard one).


The machine uses physics-based surgical simulation software, along with force-feedback robotics (so cutting into an arm feels like cutting into an arm, yikes) and a stereoscopic screen for accuracy. The doctors use real medical tools connected to sensors that record every motion for review once surgery is complete. “This is worlds above all other simulators because it takes the place of early operating room training, so the doctor can make mistakes without anyone getting killed,” Howard says. The seven-year-old, 30-person privately-funded company is also working on simulators for orthopedics, neurology, and emergency care.


Howard is best known for creating the MedSTAR Trauma Unit at the Washington Hospital Center. The English-born doctor started early in his career working in civilian trauma centers and recognized the challenge of training military doctors for the types of injuries found in battle. “We trained them in Emergency Rooms in D.C. and L.A., treating late-night gunshot wounds because that’s as close as we had.”


The leadership at MAVA (that’s the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association for you newbies) had the honor of ringing the opening bell Thursday at the New York Stock Exchange. Pictured are: Grant Thornton’s Tony Ricciardella, Comerica Bank’s April Young, NYSE’s Lawrence Leibowitz, MAVA’s Julia Spicer, Updata Partners’ John Burton, Core Capital Partners’ Mark Levine, Boulder Ventures’ Jonathan Perl, H.I.G. Ventures’ Bruce Robertson, The Carlyle Group’s Ryan Schwarz and Paladin Capital’s Niloofar Howe. The Dow average climbed 190 Thursday, so we thank them.

Satellite Of Love (It’s a Lou Reed song)

We love cell phones, satellite TV, and our XM Radio, so we are thankful to GMV VP Theresa Beech, whose company makes the ground control software used by NASA to keep all those things orbiting the planet. We recently met Theresa in her Rockville office, the U.S. headquarters of the Spanish company, and she tells us GMV operates more than 125 satellites from 25 countries (and six continents).


“You know the movie ‘Apollo 13’ and the guys in mission control? Well, the type of software they are using is what we do,” says Theresa, who was an engineer at Boeing before coming to GMV. The company was also just awarded a multi-million dollar contract from the Hammers Company to handle critical elements in the Mission Operations Element of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, but Theresa spends more time navigating herself to her children’s soccer games.


Bob Somerby, left, Harvard roommate of Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones, more recently a commentator and comedian on The O'Reilly Factor and Politically Incorrect, dispensed jokes and insights to the business development group Accelerent the other day in Fairfax. As usual, our sponsor Hilary Fordwich, business development whiz, was in the center of things as emcee, here also with her client Tony Summerlin, Director of Touchstone (for whom she’s hosted Sustainability/Green Issue roundtables recently), her own trusty accountant Bob Bender of Aronson, and GM of the Palm in Tysons, Tim Seymour.

David Stegon dressed as a rock star for Halloween while his girlfriend was the corpse bride. Now that he’s used up all his creativity, he needs story ideas: David@Bisnow.com
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