Davenport SAF-T Systems announces formation of company advisory board

Seven-member board brings expertise in orthopaedic surgery, mechanical engineering, finance, communications, senior care, product development, social science and research

MINNEAPOLIS (July 15, 2020) – In another important milestone in its mission to reduce devastating injuries from falls among adults 65 and older, Davenport SAF-T Systems™ has announced the formation of its first-ever company advisory board.

Members of the board will share key technical and professional advice and counsel as the company develops its novel wearable technology to reduce injuries from falls—a public health crisis and $50 billion drain on healthcare in the U.S.

“We are thrilled to welcome this group of distinguished experts to our team,” said company founder and chief medical officer Jay Davenport, M.D. “In order for us to develop the SAF-T VEST™ to help seniors maintain their health and independence, we needed an advisory board with deep experience in key disciplines critical to our success. We’ve certainly accomplished that with these individuals.”

Meet the advisory board

Lance Silverman, M.D.

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

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.

Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan is a senior consultant with the AMK Group. Dan is a product management and technical expert with deep experience in product development and managing profit and loss business and programs. He has delivered results and defined business and organizational strategy at companies such as Daikin Applied Americas, Target and Honeywell. Dan holds a BS degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He also has an MBA from the Carlson School of Management. He and his family live in New Prague, Minn.

Mae Davenport

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. Dr. Davenport’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. Mae and her family live in St. Paul.

Joel Prevost

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.

Steve McCarthy

Steve McCarthy is a leading health care communications strategist in the Twin Cities with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of settings. With his strong background as a writer and producer in broadcast journalism, Steve has a proven record of driving results at healthcare systems including Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, Park Nicollet Health Services and UnitedHealth Group. Steve provides executive level-counsel to help organizations elevate visibility, boost reputation and build pride, trust and loyalty among employees. He and his family live in Mendota Heights, Minn.

Chris Narveson

Chris Narveson is a mechanical engineering lead at Nextern in White Bear Lake, Minn. Nextern collaborates with innovators, clinicians, and companies to create, iterate, optimize, and manufacture best-in-class medical devices. Previously, he provided technical leadership and management guidance at Caztek, a full-service product development and engineering analysis firm in St Paul. Chris has consulted with Davenport SAF-T Systems on our product design and development. He holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University, and a M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of St. Thomas. He and his family live in Minneapolis.

About the founders

Jay A. Davenport, M.D.

Jay A. Davenport, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, is principal investigator and chief medical officer at Davenport SAF-T Systems. He brings 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. Dr. Davenport seeks to    address a critical issue facing the nation: the soaring cost of care for our rapidly aging population. In his surgical practice, he cared for patients from across Minnesota’s vast Iron Range, an area dotted with small mining towns about 75 miles north of Duluth. In Dr. Davenport’s nearly 30-year career, a large segment of his surgical practice involved treating elderly patients injured in falls. He received his medical degree from the University of Kansas and served his residency at Dickson-Dively Midwest Orthopaedic Clinic in Kansas City, Mo.

Ryan Davenport

Ryan Davenport has worked in healthcare delivery and medical device communications for more than 20 years. As owner of DavenPR, L.L.C., he provides strategic PR/media relations counsel to a variety of clients, including those in healthcare and medical device. 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 worked closely with device engineers, clinical trial designers, scientific investigators and clinical consultants. Prior to that he was a media relations and public affairs expert at Fairview Health Services, he helped manage communications for hospital grand openings, groundbreaking treatments and complex care model innovations.

About Davenport SAF-T Systems
Davenport SAF-T Systems is developing the SAF-T VEST, a wearable technology designed to reduce the risk of injury in falls. Injuries suffered from falls are a growing public health crisis. In 2015, the direct medical cost of fall injuries in the U.S. topped $50 billion.

Invented by founder Jay A. Davenport, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, The SAF-T VEST is equipped with sensors that continuously monitor the user’s center of balance. When an unrecoverable fall is detected, a microprocessor will trigger a network of airbags to inflate in a fraction of a second, absorbing the impact of the fall and deflating rapidly for a soft landing. The airbags protect the pelvis, hips, upper extremities and head.

University of St. Thomas Engineering Students to advance SAF-T VEST prototype

MINNEAPOLIS (July 9, 2020)—In a major step forward, Davenport SAF-T Systems™ is collaborating with a team of senior engineering students at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.) to develop a first-generation prototype of the SAF-T VEST™.

As a senior design clinic sponsor, Davenport SAF-T Systems, including founder Jay A. Davenport, M.D., will provide guidance to these young engineers and answer key questions about the device as they move through various stages of development.

In return, the team will update the company on their progress and any challenges they may be facing along the way. The students will generate critical data necessary to building a prototype that functions as designed.

As the project sponsor, the company pays a fee to the University of St. Thomas to cover project expenses, including materials used to develop the prototype. While that is a phenomenal bargain in the world of engineering and technology development–it presents a challenge for the company as a small, non-revenue startup.

The company has set up a Go Fund Me site to help defray these costs and meet other expenses as the SAF-T VEST moves closer to commercial launch. Your donation of any amount will help advance this critically important work. Learn more about our campaign.

About the Company
Davenport SAF-T Systems is developing the SAF-T VEST, a wearable technology designed to reduce the risk of injury in falls. Injuries suffered from falls are a public health crisis. In 2015, the direct medical cost of fall injuries in the U.S. topped $50 billion.

The SAF-T VEST, invented by founder Jay A. Davenport, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, is equipped with sensors that continuously monitor the user’s center of balance. When an unrecoverable fall is detected, a microprocessor will trigger a network of airbags to inflate in a fraction of a second, absorbing the impact of the fall and deflating rapidly for a soft landing. The airbags protect the pelvis, hips, upper extremities and head.

GoFundMe campaign to drive prototype development, patent fees

Davenport SAF-T Systems, developer of the SAF-T VEST, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to aid in the development of this innovative, wearable technology. The crowdfunding campaign, called “Stand Up for Fall Protection, has set a goal of raising $5,000.

“We’re just so amazed and thankful for the support we’ve already received,” said Ryan Davenport, vice president, Davenport SAF-T Systems. “We believe in this technology and the fact that so many folks are getting behind us and spreading the word about our campaign confirms just how much our solution is needed.” Donations will help defray costs associated with engineering and patent fees. Learn more about the campaign.

Nationwide poll reveals widespread concern among seniors about risks of fall injuries; support for a solution

MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 8, 2019) A survey commissioned by Davenport SAF-T Systems reports strong awareness of the problem of injuries from falls, and a willingness to consider the potential of a new, wearable solution.

Nearly 400 adults ranging in age from 45 to 75 and above from across the country were asked about their level of concern for fall injuries and their impressions of the potential for a wearable fall protection solution.

Among the key findings: More than 8 in 10 adults age 45 to 75+ reported concern about the risk of a fall injury—either for themselves or for a loved one. About 77% of those surveyed believed the SAF-T VEST, as described, could reduce fall injuries. Further, 67% of adults age 55 to 75+ reported they would consider wearing the SAF-T VEST to protect them in a fall. And among adults age 45-54, 44% said they would recommend the device to a loved one.

Finally, perhaps most compelling, a full 90% of those surveyed considered the SAF-T VEST to be “new and different” from what is currently available.

The survey, conducted in July, involved 383 adults. Results were considered accurate to within +/- five percentage points.

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Davenport SAF-T Systems named semifinalist at 2019 MN Cup competition

MINNEAPOLIS (June 28, 2019)–Davenport SAF-T Systems was named a semifinalist at MN Cup, an annual competition of emerging Minnesota entrepreneurs. With nearly 1,000 entrants, the company is among just 88 start-ups selected to advance to the semifinal round.

“MN Cup has been a great experience for us,” said Ryan Davenport, VP at Davenport SAF-T Systems. “We’re honored to be advancing to the semifinal round of competition, but the best part of this experience is meeting so many talented people developing such great ideas. The support and knowledge we’re gaining is tremendous.”

MN Cup was established in 2005. It is a program of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at the Carlson School of Management. Entrepreneurs from across the state participate in MN Cup for a chance to win cash prizes. The program also connects these new businesses with tools, resources and support to launch and accelerate the development of their new ventures. 

Davenport SAF-T Systems is competing in the Impact Ventures division, for start-ups pursuing goals that would benefit a large segment of society.

This is the first year Davenport SAF-T Systems has participated in MN Cup. The company was established in January 2017 by Jay A. Davenport, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon from northern Minnesota. Dr. Davenport is developing a wearable technology–a smart vest–that is designed to reduce injuries from falls.

The SAF-T VEST(TM) is patent pending. The company is seeking capital to build working prototypes. In early April the company resubmitted a federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant application to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help pay for costs associated with prototype development and early testing. The company’s original grant request was submitted in 2017. Although the application was not funded at the time, Davenport received positive and constructive feedback for the device’s novel approach to reducing injuries from falls.

In August, the company will submit a formal business plan, an investor slide presentation and a one-minute video to MN Cup. The materials will be formally reviewed by judges. The top three entrants in each division advance to a final round of competition.