WMU News

Firm expands with new BTR Park facility

March 7, 2005

KALAMAZOO--A Southwest Michigan design and product development firm will capitalize on its recent success and reinvigorate its strong ties to Western Michigan University by expanding and moving its company headquarters to WMU's Business Technology and Research Park.

TEKNA Solutions Inc. will build its new 24,000-square-foot headquarters on a four-acre site located on the northeast side of the park, according to company President Kris Eager. He expects to break ground in early spring and occupy the building by late this year. The building site is on the cul-de-sac known as Tech Circle and will be constructed by Delta Design Systems of Kalamazoo.

TEKNA, founded 17 years ago by WMU alumni Kris and Claire Eager, is an advanced concept design and engineering firm primarily involved with product development in the life sciences and medical device sectors. Founded under the name IDEA Design and Product Development, the company recently changed its name to TEKNA and has a work force of 25.

Once final plans for the building have been agreed upon by TEKNA and the BTR Design Review Committee, they will be shared with neighborhood associations near the park, according to Bob Miller, a WMU associate vice president, and the university's point person for the BTR Park.

"That has been our practice with every new construction project at the park and the neighbors really appreciate it," he says.

TEKNA fills client product design needs, from conceptual design to engineering and even final product assembly and distribution. The company specializes in enhancing the usability, aesthetics and unique functional qualities of its customer's products. TEKNA's clients range from Fotune 500 companies, such as Stryker Corp., to startup entrepreneurial groups looking to enhance their entry into the marketplace.

TEKNA has extensive experience in medical device product development, having participated in the development of more than 200 medical-related products.

"Our strength in delivering innovative, effective, user-friendly product solutions is a cornerstone of our business," says Kris Eager. "We start with our customer's market research and idea, develop the concept, and incorporate ergonomic requirements, styling, user interface, engineering, and material and manufacturing principles. We then provide multiple scale models, prototypes and product graphic solutions to aid in the ongoing market research and product development. Throughout the entire iterative design, TEKNA also offers full project management services and can manage a product process development program from the ideation phase to product shipment."

Due to TEKNA's extensive medical product development portfolio, it has recently been selected by GE Medical Plastics as an information technology partner to help expand the use of specialized plastics in medical product design.

"This new association will be an excellent resource for our current customers and will be helpful to life science startups located in the BTR Park as their products mature and require ancillary products, unique packaging and custom drug-delivery solutions," says Eager.

With the addition of TEKNA to the BTR Park, more than two-dozen firms will be located there. All of the companies fall into one of the park's three targeted areas of focus--advanced engineering, life sciences and information technology. In addition to the engineering design work and life sciences product specialty, TEKNA has become increasingly more involved with products and systems requiring graphic-user interface design, adding an information technology element to its diverse portfolio of services. Because of the wide range of products TEKNA develops, the company is the first at the BTR Park to incorporate all three of those disciplines.

"We've developed a very collaborative relationship with our clients, partnering as a team when it comes to product design. Our multidisciplinary approach has allowed us to be a complete provider and interact seamlessly throughout the entire product life cycle," says Eager. "Our staff, many of whom are also WMU graduates, are looking forward to the move to this unique research campus, as well as developing new relationships with the University's industrial design and engineering departments and other BTR Park companies."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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