2013 Career Achievement Awardee
Ronald W. Dollens (BS 1970)
Ronald Dollens earned his BS in Pharmacy from Purdue University in 1970 and a MBA in Marketing from Indiana University in 1972. Upon graduation, Ron joined Eli Lilly and Co. in 1972 as a sales representative in Toledo, Ohio. He also served the Rochester, New York, territory before being transferred to the company’s headquarters in 1976. In 1978 he was named manager of economic studies and in 1981 became manager of the Los Angeles north sales district. He was named director of business planning for the Medical Devices and Diagnostics Division of Lilly in November 1982. In April 1985, he became senior vice president of sales, marketing, research, and development for Advanced Cardiovascular Systems (ACS), Inc., a Lilly subsidiary located in Santa Clara, California. In 1988 he became president and chief executive officer for Advanced Cardiovascular Systems. ACS began as a Silicon Valley start-up funded by a local venture capitalist and a Stanford University cardiologist. The first product in 1982 was an angioplasty catheter for the treatment of coronary artery disease. The company was acquired by Lilly in 1984 and has become a worldwide leader in coronary angioplasty, having treated over one million patients.
In July 1991, Ron was transferred back to Indianapolis when he was named president of the Medical Devices and Diagnostics Division of Eli Lilly and Company. He was responsible for business development and technology acquisitions in the medical device and diagnostic systems area. His responsibilities included the IVAC Corporation, San Diego, California; Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc., St. Paul, Minnesota; Physio-Control Corporation, Redmond, Washington; Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, Inc., Santa Clara, California; Devices for Vascular Intervention, Redwood City, California; Origin Medsystems, Inc., San Carlos, California; and Heart Rhythm Technologies in Temecula, California. In 1994, these companies were split off from Eli Lilly and Company to form Guidant Corporation.
At the formation of Guidant Corporation, Ron was named President and Chief Executive Officer. Guidant Corporation was one of the world’s leading makers of medical devices for heart and artery-related disorders. Under Ron’s leadership, Guidant sales grew from $862 Million to 1.9 Billion in just 4 years. Guidant was known for the development of the multi-link stent and the first implantable defibrillator. Ron retired in 2005 from Guidant, a Fortune 500 company that was acquired in 2006 in a $27 Billion transaction.
Ron serves on numerous advisory boards and executive councils, and he has received many awards over the years both individually as well as the companies he managed. He was recognized by Ernst and Young—Indiana Heartland as the Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999. He was named one of “The 50 Best CEO’s” in 1999 by Worth Magazine. Business Ethics Magazine named him one of the “100 Best Corporate Citizens in America” in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2005. He received a Distinguished Alumni award from the College of Pharmacy in 1993, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award in Medical Device and Diagnostics in 2006.