Meet the Davenport SAF-T System team

Jay A. Davenport, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, cared for patients from across Minnesota’s vast Iron Range, an area dotted with small mining towns about 75 miles north of Duluth. In his 30-year career, a large segment of his surgical practice involved treating elderly patients injured in falls. The tremendous burden of recovering from a broken hip or a head injury is difficult for patients, their families and our healthcare system. He decided to develop a solution that could begin to address this $50 B public health crisis.

Jay A. Davenport, M.D., SAF-T VEST inventor and
founder, Davenport SAF-T Systems

As founder, inventor and chief medical officer, Jay A. Davenport’s work has fueled the development of a novel wearable device designed to reduce the severity and risk of injury caused by falls. He bring a deep clinical knowledge of bone and joint injuries caused by falls and the biomechanics of a fall. Dr. Davenport’s background as a registered physical therapist effectively intersects with his training as a surgeon to guide the development of a solution to a problem for which he’s uniquely qualified to address. His goal: to create a safe, effective solution that will reduce the consequences of losing one’s balance and falling. This will allow users the courage and ability to remain ambulatory and independent later in life.

Ryan Davenport, CEO and co-founder

Ryan Davenport is CEO and co-founder of Davenport SAF-T Systems. He has worked in healthcare delivery and medical device communications for 20+ years. As owner of DavenPR, he provides strategic PR/media relations counsel to clients in healthcare, medical device and other industries. Prior to starting his own firm, Ryan worked for a Fortune 500 medical device company in corporate communications. He brings deep insight into technical product research and development, clinical trials and commercial product launches. He has worked closely with device engineers, clinical trial designers, scientific investigators and clinical consultants. As a media relations and public affairs expert at one of Minnesota’s largest healthcare systems, he helped manage communications for hospital grand openings, groundbreaking treatments and complex care model innovations.

Mae A. Davenport, Ph.D.,
director of research

Mae Davenport, Ph.D., conducts social science research for human and community well-being and their connections to the natural environment. She is motivated by research that addresses real-world problems. Mae’s work aims to reduce uncertainty for decision makers, promoting social justice, and improving environmental sustainability. As a professor at the University of Minnesota, she is trained in social-behavioral human subjects research (NIH, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative), data security, research ethics, and fiscal responsibility.

As the director of the Center for Changing Landscapes she leads a team of researchers and students through strong communications planning, careful data management and coordination, and continuous reflection, learning and adaptation. Mae is eager to collaborate with Davenport SAF-T Systems and its team of medical experts, engineers, communications experts, and researchers with the clear goal of enhancing the lives of seniors and others so that they can remain healthy, active and generative throughout their lives.

Meet our Advisory Board

Tanvi Bhatt, Ph.D., lead scientific advisor

Tanvi Bhatt, Ph.D., is professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). As a leading expert in the study of falls and the neuromechanical basis for balance recovery after slips and trips while walking, Dr. Bhatt has conducted extramurally funded research since 2012 and has been published in 100 peer reviewed journals. She has presented her research widely, including at prestigious national and international conferences.

Dr. Bhatt received her BS in Physical Therapy from University of Mumbai in 1997 and her Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Manitoba in 2000. She began her doctoral work at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2001 and received her Ph.D. in Movement Sciences/Motor Control in 2006. Dr. Bhatt and her family live in Chicago.

Lance Silverman, M.D.,
clinical advisor

Lance Silverman, M.D., is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He founded his independent practice Silverman Ankle and Foot in 2005. Dr. Silverman is a board-certified member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. He received his medical degree in 1996 at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He served a four-year residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich., and was awarded a fellowship in foot and ankle surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Silverman and his family reside in Minneapolis.

Brian Kohlbeck, finance strategist

Brian Kohlbeck is chief financial officer at Phillips Distilling Company.  Brian has extensive corporate finance experience at General Mills, Best Buy, Lands’ End and Gander Mountain.  He has a proven track record delivering business results and driving financial performance as a financial and operational leader. He also brings strong skills in strategic planning and analysis, new business model development and innovation, acquisition and divestiture analysis and business restructuring.  Brian and his family reside in St. Paul.

Joel Prevost, long-term care industry advisor

Joel Prevost is a healthcare leader with more than 17 years of experience in long-term care and aging services. He’s led campuses and communities including home care, hospice, palliative care, TCU, assisted living, long-term care, adult day and creative arts through life-long learning. Joel embraces the potential role of technology to improve long-term care. He has experience partnering with innovators to bring virtual reality to seniors to improve quality of life. Joel holds a B.A. from Montana State University and an MBA from Augsburg University in Minneapolis. Joel and his family live in Golden Valley, Minn.

Get to know our engineering and design partners at Kablooe Design

We work closely with highly trained experts to build and evaluate our novel solution to reduce devastating injuries from falls. Kablooe Design, our official engineering partner, also specializes in “making products people love.” 

Let’s meet two of the talented Kablooe partners to help us move the SAF-T VEST from concept to creation.

Matt Mills, mechanical engineer

Matt Mills
Matt loves to take things apart to see how they work. With a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, he aspires to enhance human experiences through mechanical design and to improve the relationship between users and mechanical systems.

“My favorite things to disassemble are devices I use daily,” he said. “I love to explore the mechanisms behind everyday devices…and learn how they work.” Matt’s curiosity makes him a perfect fit at Kablooe.

“We have extraordinarily talented people and an exciting and innovative culture.”

So, what does Matt think about the SAF-T VEST?

“What excites me most is the challenge of excelling through the product development process and working toward a system that will reliably and effectively protect its users.”

Blake Eisenschenk

Blake excels at building innovative devices that not only function as designed, but that can also be replicated, or manufactured, easily and effectively. “Manufacturing is key when developing new technology, he said.”

Blake Eisenschenk, mechanical designer

There might be several ways to make an important part of a system using different manufacturing methods, but Blake said the one you choose needs to be the best.

“Understanding the design and engineering guidelines to go from a prototyped part to a part that will be manufactured thousands of times is crucial.”

Blake and his colleagues often use 3D printing technology to identify and eliminate design flaws quickly, improving efficiency and reducing cost. This approach will also be used in developing the SAF-T VEST.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this team,” Blake said. “I think many people can relate to the problem the SAF-T VEST is solving.”