Inventor and Medtronic Founder Earl Bakken Remembered in Minnesota

October 22, 2018 06:56 PM

An electronics repairman who started one of the world's largest medical device companies in 1949 has died at age 94.

Medtronic said in a statement that co-founder Earl Bakken died Sunday at his home in Hawaii.
Bakken developed the first external battery-powered, transistorized heart pacemaker and commercialized the first implantable pacemaker in 1960. Bakken and his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie, grew Medtronic from a struggling operation in Bakken's Minneapolis garage to a multinational medical technology company.


At the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, they are mourning Bakken's passing. 

"It is a sad day," Michael Sanders with the Bakken Museum said. "His invention was the foundation of not just Medtronic but really this entire medical device manufacturing industry."     

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Bakken received his own pacemaker in 2001 and had a second one fitted in 2009.

Medtronic has 86,000 employees worldwide. Its corporate headquarters are in Dublin, but the operational headquarters are in the Minneapolis area.

Medtronic chairman and CEO Omar Ishtak says the contributions Bakken made to the field of medical technology cannot be overstated.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Medtronic moved its corporate headquarters from the Twin Cities to Dublin, Ireland back in 2014.  As a result, it doesn't appear on the Fortune 500 and other lists that rank the corporations in the United States.  But to put Medtronic's size and growth in perspective, below is where Medtronic would rank if it did qualify for the Fortune 500 list.  



Joe Mazan

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