Emergency Response – Developing a new Clinically Relevant ICU Ventilator Fast – Canadian Emergency Ventilators, Inc

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  • Emergency Response – Developing a new Clinically Relevant ICU Ventilator Fast - Canadian Emergency Ventilators, Inc
    January 7, 2022 - January 8, 2022
    11:30 am - 1:00 pm


How do you respond when your country asks for urgent help?

John Walmsley will tell the story of the urgent pandemic development of an ICU-level ventilator and the vital elements of success.

StarFish Medical updated a 30-year-old design into a modern ventilator for COVID-19 in record time. Work began in April 2020 and, less than three months later, a successful regulatory submission was made to Health Canada. The ventilator avoids parts needed for existing ventilators to prevent supply chain conflicts and is made in Canada to ensure supply chain security.



John Walmsley, Vice President, Strategic Relationships, Starfish Medical, Victoria


John is a Professional Physicist and holds a Master of Science in Optics from Queen’s University Belfast. His early career focused on high-reliability optoelectronics development and manufacturing transfer. Since joining StarFish in 2005, John has managed projects as diverse as the Canadian Emergency Ventilators project for Canada’s Response to COVID-19, 3D ultrasound development, emergency medical devices, and laboratory automation. Previous roles include Chief Operating Officer, responsible for StarFish Medical product development, manufacturing, day-to-day QA, internal finance, HR and facilities. From 2011-2016, he led StarFish Medical’s product development activities as Vice President of Product Development. An insightful expert in Product Development innovation and team building, John has over two decades’ experience turning technology into products at companies in the UK, US and Canada. He has overseen the design of over 150 products, including up to 30 concurrently.

As VP, John is responsible for making and growing the company’s strategic relationships. Recently, he led the ultra-fast, design, development, manufacture and delivery of hundreds of new ICU-level ventilators for the Government of Canada. As COO, he led the broadening and strengthening of the company’s capabilities, including establishing eastern-time-zone operations. This culminated in the recognition of StarFish as one of the Globe & Mail’s Top Growing Companies in Canada. As VP of Product Development at StarFish Medical, John built a team of 80 engineering staff, delivering on the most ambitious technical challenges.  His early career spanned Research, Development, New Product Introduction and Product Engineering in high-reliability optoelectronics for Hewlett Packard, Spectra Diode Labs and JDS Uniphase.

A Fellow of the Institute of Physics, John is a frequent industry speaker and university lecturer across North America. He is Chair of the BioMedical Engineering Industry Advisory Board at the University of Victoria and Co-Chair at the University of British Columbia. He sits on review panels for UK Chartered Physicists and Canadian Professional Physicists.



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