Education & Career
Tony has always been a jack-of-all-trades type. At Augsburg College, a small liberal arts college in Minneapolis, he vacillated between Physics, Philosophy, and English majors. “Ultimately, I finished with an Art degree (!) though I spent as much time in the computer lab as the art studios, exploring early digital art tools and resources on what would eventually become the Internet.”
After that, Tony worked for 8 years at a burgeoning digital service bureau where he could scratch both his artistic and technical itches. He initially split his time between design, file prep, and technical troubleshooting for a broad range of content, formats, and devices. For his last 2 years there, he led the experimental “multimedia” department where he produced product launch CD-ROMs for a local medical device company. “I found this work to be extremely fulfilling. I loved doing it all – the design, writing, animation, programming, data flow, testing, and mastering. I learned something new every day.” When they shut the department down, Tony left and continued the same work as a freelancer.
Founding Medicom Health
At one of his first freelance clients, Tony met Barb Goergen, who was doing much of the research and writing for the health awareness tools the company was creating. She shared his desire to build high-quality health awareness tools that were feature-rich, attractive, and intuitive to use. At that time, powerful, data-driven tools were created by more technical types of people who usually lacked graphic design savvy or (what we now call) good UI skills. Conversely, the simplest and most elegant tools often had little depth or utility. Together they began to build some great tools and were rapidly expanding their client base. Unfortunately, the company they worked for undervalued their 4-person department. “So, we decided to buy our assets and clients and spin-off on our own as ‘Medicom Digital.’”
In the first 10 years, Medicom Digital completed 300 custom software projects, including health assessments, economic models, and disease awareness tools. Their clients were a Who’s Who of big pharma and national medical associations, including the AHA, NCI, NIH, National Sleep Foundation and many others. “Eventually some high-profile projects caught the attention of healthcare providers and we built the first versions of our HRAs at their request.”
In 2010 they pivoted away from custom development and dedicated the company to new HRA platform, including a name change to “Medicom Health Interactive” and eventually, just “Medicom Health.”
Over the years, Tony has worn many hats in the company, often simultaneously– the major themes being leadership, infrastructure, product development, and marketing. A few years ago, he stepped away from day-to-day product dev and currently leads Medicom Health’s marketing efforts. “Of course, as President and co-founder, I am actively involved in corporate management, board activities, partnerships, business development, investment activities, etc.”
Family: Married (to Alex), with a daughter (Millie, age 12), and a Dachshund/Schnauzer mix (Lila).
Hometown: “I grew up the second youngest of 5 kids in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the home of the University of Northern Iowa. Also, my dad was my high school principal for a year.”
Activities: “I like to read, mostly horror or sci-fi a la Stephen King. I will pretty much watch any and all-time travel movies. I both love and hate running. And I wish I could do more traveling and camping with my family.”