Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Starfish Medical hopes corporate-culture award lures more engineering talent

web1_vka-scott-phillips
Scott Phillips, chief executive of Starfish Medical in Victoria. TIMES COLONIST

Scott Phillips, chief executive of Victoria-based Starfish Medical, is hoping the latest accolade for the country’s largest medical-device design company may come with a competitive advantage in the fight for engineering talent.

With 27 open positions within the company, the expectation of 40 per cent growth this year and plenty of promise and work on the horizon, Phillips hopes an award for company culture will act as a beacon for talent.

“In this environment, the tightest market any of us have ever seen in the medical labour market, anything we can do to have people understand why they should apply for jobs at Starfish is helpful,” said Phillips.

The latest sparkle comes from being named by talent management firm Waterstone Human Capital as one of the 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures (growth category) in the country for 2021.

Another Victoria-based company, Accent Inns, was named one of the 10 most admired cultures in the emerging category.

Phillips said said there is definitely less movement within the industry, which leaves them having to hire younger engineers in the hope that they fulfil the potential they promise.

Phillips said winning the award means a lot.

“It’s wonderful,” he said. “To win an award for our great culture, is important as it’s something we take a lot of pride in.

“You hire for fit as much as for technical capability, but you have to have both. It’s damn hard to do 50 different things at a time and each one has to be the best thing in the world for our clients to be successful.”

Phillips said it’s not like there can be one person at the top conducting the operation like a symphony — it has to operate like a hive with individual groups always on task.

“That’s all about culture,” he said.

Starfish has been very busy in recent years.

In 2017, to attract more business from the medical technology hubs of the eastern U.S., it acquired Toronto medical-device designer Kangaroo Group. It set Starfish apart as a national medical-device developer and set the table for expansion.

When the pandemic hit, Starfish was part of an effort to manufacture 30,000 ventilators in Canada to meet an expected shortage of the life-saving medical equipment.

Phillips said the program ended at the start of 2021, earlier than expected, leaving a hole in the company.

“It’s been a year of filling that capacity,” he said, noting they are now running a company as big as it’s ever been and there is still plenty of room to add people to the mix.

The awards will be presented in Toronto on March 31.

aduffy@timescolonist.com