Russell Newman was appointed to President of HealthTronics at age 35 (approx. $170M revenue) in February 2014, he lead the successful spinoff of HealthTronics from publicly traded pharmaceutical company Endo International, “Endo” (Nasdaq: ENDP) to Private Equity (Altaris Capital Partners) (2014). In four years as President of HealthTronics; revenue has grown more than 20% and profitability of the company has nearly doubled. He’s lead the expansion of the company’s service offerings to become a full suite provider of mobile, surgical solutions, as well as the company’s geographic footprint and technical capabilities with nearly 50% growth in employee base since 2014.
HTA - Tell us about your personal/professional background?
I am originally from Long Island, NY. I'm a graduate of the University of Texas which is where I met my wife and why I’m still in Texas. I have two kids – 11-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. In what spare time I have, I like to hike and play golf. I began my career at HealthTronics in 2008 as a senior financial consultant, and was soon promoted to Director of Business Planning & Operations. Prior to joining HealthTronics, I held various positions with Dell, Inc., Arthur Andersen and Property Crossing LLC.
HTA - What did you learn at your first job that impacts how you lead HealthTronics today?
I worked from a fairly young age in the retail and service industry, but one of my first ‘real’ jobs was providing telephone technical support for IBM. While there is a tremendous amount of satisfaction in being able to solve a customer’s problem, the steps required to get there will most certainly test the patience of you and the customer. Maintaining an even temperament, staying calm and reassuring, displaying confidence and remembering that there’s a customer who needs your help on the other end of the line have stayed with me since then. While the problems are different and the likelihood of me solving anyone’s email crisis has gone way down, the ability to focus on the customer remains…as does the satisfaction.
HTA - Since you became President in 2014, growth and acquisitions have been significant. What have been the keys to that success?
Since 2014 we have laid out an aggressive plan to become the premiere mobile healthcare solutions provider. We know that we still have a ways to go, but we have thoughtfully sought out partners who can bring us closer to that goal by adding new technologies and expanding our geographies. We feel like we have a disciplined approach to acquisitions and a streamlined approach to integration that our team manages that allows us to bring new companies in and to see the benefits from day one.
HTA - Tell us about your early mentors, and how they have impacted your career?
I’ve had a number of formal and informal mentors and role models…each of whom have left me with a little something that I still carry with me. Whether it’s with critical thinking skills, presentation style, or how to handle difficult situations…I still think of many of them frequently. However, one stands out and the lessons I learned from him didn’t come from the office but from his simply named “Nothing To It But to Do It” marathon training plan (which he used to help me successfully complete my first marathon).
The simplicity of the message and the accuracy of its prediction continue to surprise me as I tackle new challenges personally and with HealthTronics.
HTA - How do you foster creative and innovative thinking? How are ideas shared and implemented within HealthTronics?
This is something that is definitely a work in progress for us. We have such a dispersed workforce that we are constantly talking about how to get ideas from our remote teams since they are the ones in front of our customers. We’ve deployed some technology around it to help accumulate ideas and feedback. But, I’d say today if we need to find a solution and get creative, we still go to the tried and true method of getting the team in a room with plenty of dry erase markers, flip charts, and sticky notes.
HTA - What are the most important decisions that you face daily at HealthTronics?
I would say it’s generally how we allocate our two most precious resources – time and money. We have a great business that’s built on providing outstanding service with our highly trained technologists and state of the art equipment.
Unfortunately, we haven’t figured out a way for our equipment or staff to be in two places at the same time. So that means we are constantly exploring creative ways to maximize the available time for our customers while ensuring we aren’t investing too far ahead of the demand.
HTA - HealthTronics has really been aggressive with Value-Based Care. How’s that journey been?
It’s been an evolution for sure. I think we are seeing a lot of health care providers really start to embrace the concepts whether it be new payment models, outcomes reporting, or custom service delivery options…but there are still a number of unknowns.
Having said that, we know at the end of the day, if we focus on providing access to extremely high quality and efficient service that we’ll continue to be a valuable partner to our customers as more of those questions get answered.
HTA - How do you learn? What are you reading?
I spend a fair amount of time in the car and on the road, so podcasts have been fantastic for me. I like to listen to a variety of topics from the Ted Radio Hour and enjoy the unique perspectives from the guys at Freakonomics. Tim Ferriss has become my go to for personal growth and development and a friend turned me on to a local show called the National Security Law Podcast done by two Professors at UT which is enjoyable even for a non-attorney.
I tend to read more non-fiction and just finished a really fun (and motivational) book called Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzler
HTA - Where do you want HealthTronics to be in five years?
In the healthcare market we’re in today, five years feels like forever with how rapidly things are changing. From a company standpoint, we have some very aggressive growth targets and we know that if we continue to invest in a way that ensures we are continuing to add access to high quality, low cost services for our healthcare provider partners, we’ll have no issues hitting those goals.
HTA - Are there any civic groups or volunteer organizations that you support?
For us, we see ourselves as part of the Austin community. It gives us a lot, especially our people, so we want to give back and make sure where our people live is a vibrant and thriving community.
We support the following organizations:
- Boys and Girls Club
- Central Texas Food Bank Empty Bowl Project & Food Drive
- CASA Superhero Run
- ZERO Prostate Cancer Run
- Eldercare Fan Drive
- Toys for Tots
- Texas Stars men’s health awareness events
- Round Rock Express men’s health awareness events
- HealthTronics has generously sponsored one of Dell Seton Medical Center’s new and advanced Operating Rooms that uses innovative and cutting edge technology. We committed $100,000 to help fund and make this operating room become a reality