On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, members of Alachua County Emerging Leaders (ACEL) had the opportunity to have lunch with Dr. William Petty — a local success story and founder of Exactech, Inc. This was part of ACEL’s Lunch With A Leader program, which is a lunch series organized by our Professional Development Committee.
Dr. Petty is an orthopaedic surgeon by profession, but is noted most prominently as being the founder and current Executive Chairman of Exactech, which develops and produces bone and joint restoration products that help surgeons worldwide make patients more mobile. With global headquarters in Gainesville, Exactech manufactures innovative solutions that improve patient outcomes for hip, knee and shoulder surgery. The local company distributes products in more than 30 markets, including the U.S., Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific.
The lunch began with an introduction of Dr. Petty by Stacia Madden, a member of ACEL’s Professional Development Committee, who spearheaded this event. Dr. Petty provided background on himself and then spoke about the very early and humble days of Exactech. He described coming together in 1985 with two other co-founders, starting the company with virtually zero dollars in profits and funding. He remembers joining his co-founders during the early days of the company to celebrate individual product sales. It was thanks to a $400,000 bank loan for product development that allowed them to jumpstart the company and develop their first hip replacement product.
Speaking for about 20 minutes and then taking questions from ACEL members in attendance, Dr. Petty spoke proudly of the truly customer-centric approach employed by Exactech. He also described hiring as being ‘the most important thing to an organization.’
Throughout the lunch, he stressed the importance of his company’s value system and, more generally, Exactech’s belief in managing by values. These values include integrity, compassion, teamwork, excellence and innovation. Thank you for your helpful insights, Dr. Petty, and for a great conversation.