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VOL. 122 | NO. 160 | Friday, August 24, 2007

Despite Strong Engineering Resume, Darty Keeps Focus on Team

By Amy O. Williams

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"We commercialized a technology that can help people and that is something we can be proud of. Luminetx has tremendous potential, and it is a bright star for Memphis."
- Mark A. Darty
Name: Mark A. Darty
Position: Executive vice president of research, development and manufacturing
Company: Luminetx Corp.
Basics: Darty organized and led the design, development and manufacturing of the VeinViewer.

On paper, Mark A. Darty's long list of accomplishments in the engineering field is impressive, to say the least.

In addition to his work as executive vice president of research, development and manufacturing at Luminetx Corp., he
has been a lead engineer at McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (now The Boeing Co.) and developed avionics - aviation electronics - for the F-16 fighter aircraft. He also has created products such as solid state power systems for NASA and wearable computers for the U.S. Army.

In person, however, Darty diverts attention away from himself and toward others and the collective teams he has led over the years.

Darty, 43, was named to his position at Luminetx in 2005, after having been a member of its board of directors. He organized and led the design, development and manufacturing of the company's key product, the VeinViewer.

Two years later, as the company responsible for bringing the vein-imaging system to market revamps its marketing strategy, Darty's team-centered approach fits in nicely.

"When it comes to the development of all these things, it's not just one person," Darty said, referring to the many patents that adorn the walls of his office. "There is always a team of people that contribute to success."

Part of Luminetx's new marketing strategy has meant bringing in new faces from the medical sector. The company has named former Smith & Nephew executive
Rodney Schutt as its chief operating officer and former General Electric executive
Jim DelMauro as its new managing director.

The new positions followed the departure of Luminetx CEO Jim Phillips, who took a role with the company as vice chairman of the board.

Investing in emerging technology

Prior to joining Luminetx, Darty was the senior director of North American technology research for Brother International Corp.

Darty, who was born in the Memphis area, worked for Brother out of its Bartlett offices for about seven years. During his time there, Darty became interested in nanotechnology and several of those patents in his office are the products of research done while at Brother.

Brother began its work in nanotechnology research and development after Darty went to the president of the company's North American operations and suggested the company look into such emerging technology.

"I told him, 'We can build relevant products with nanotechnology,'" Darty said.

So the company invested in equipment such as microscopes that could see objects 10 times smaller than human DNA and Darty and the other researchers at Brother began to build things.

"We created molecules from raw materials and built from the bottom up," Darty said.

Darty had plenty of training in engineering before he brought that expertise to Brother. He earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1988 and later received his master's degree in engineering from the University of Alabama at Huntsville in 1998.

On the cutting edge

After graduating from UT, Darty joined the research and engineering division of General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas. There he designed and developed avionics for the F-16. In 1990, he went to work for McDonnell Douglas Aerospace.

There, Darty met Dr. Jim Blackmon while the two were working for the Phantom Works division of the company, which does advanced research and development for Boeing.

"We hit it off right from the start," he said. "He was a superb innovator and a great inspiration to me.

"He taught me about strategic (research and development), patents and managing programs and people to success."

While at McDonnell Douglas, Darty created new products ranging from automated, solid state power systems for NASA to wearable computers for the U.S. Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

His first patented invention
attracted interest from NASA and led to equipment that went into service on the International Space Station. In recognition of his contribution to space exploration, he was awarded a U.S. flag flown in orbit on the space shuttle in 1996.

Darty said he was glad to bring his experience to Luminetx, and also proud that the company was able to get the VeinViewer to market as quickly as it did, in less than a year.

"We commercialized a technology that can help people and that is something we can be proud of," he said. "The market pull for the VeinViewer seems strong. Luminetx has tremendous potential, and it is a bright star for Memphis."

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