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Business is life-and-death matter for this firm

Rochester Business Journal
October 4, 2013

Cardiac Life Products Inc. can get a heart pumping-and in rhythm.
The East Rochester company provides automated external defibrillators, cardiopulmonary resuscitation training programs and automated external defibrillator maintenance services.
"Our mission is that we are dedicated to saving lives," says Mary Wynne, company president. "Our biggest obstacle is the lack of people knowing about CPR training and how important it is to own an automated external defibrillator."
The company sells AEDs, cooling garments and CPR training programs to companies and government agencies around the country. Ninety percent of its business comes from Upstate New York. Cardiac Life has 20 employees and expects to reach $5 million in sales next year, up from nearly $4 million so far this year.
Wynne worked in medical sales at Cardiac Science LLC for four years before she started Cardiac Life Products in 2003.
"I saw a need for a full-service organization," Wynne says. "When I sell a defibrillator to someone, it's not if they'll use it; it is when they'll use it."
Automated external defibrillators are used to restart the hearts of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest or heart attacks. Sudden cardiac arrest, a condition in which AEDs are most useful, kills nearly 400,000 Americans each year, according to the American Heart Association.
What makes sudden cardiac arrest unique is the lack of symptoms and the indiscriminate way it affects people regardless of age or health status.
In such a case, Wynne says, the heart "is like a bowl of jelly. It is just sitting there; it can't get itself back together. It needs to be reorganized with a shock of energy."
New York law requires automated external defibrillators in schools, health clubs with more than 500 people and public swimming areas. High schools in New York are required to teach students cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and companies that purchase an AED can claim a $500 tax credit.
More than 60 percent of Cardiac Life's sales are for buildings with government mandates for AEDs. Some 1 to 2 percent of sales are to individuals for vacation homes and campers. An automated external defibrillator costs $1,200 to $1,600.
"It really is growing in priority," Wynne says. "You probably don't have any businesses that don't have a fire extinguisher, although they are very rarely used. It's becoming like that, and it's part of our hope that companies go from one to five (AEDs) or from zero to three."
Rob Conti, director of marketing at Cardiac Life, has firsthand experience with the usefulness of an AED. When he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, his neighbor performed CPR until an emergency responder used an AED to bring him back to life.
"I didn't think anything was going to happen to me like that," Conti says. "It changes your whole thinking. Why wait until someone is dead?"

10/4/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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