McColl School of Business team brings life-saving product to market
Clear Collar is a clear neck brace that keeps patients' necks visible during treatment.
Alan Donaldson's 20 years in emergency healthcare inspired him to invent a clear neck brace that keeps patients' necks visible during treatment. Now he's working to bring the product to market with help from a team of Executive MBA graduates from the McColl School of Business, including his son-in-law Cassmer Ward.
"This is more than a project to us," said Ward, CEO of The Clear Advantage Collar. "This is something we all believe in, and we know it will change the way patients are treated and assessed for the better."
Other neck braces already on the market have a closed, opaque design that subjects trauma patients to the dangerous risks of motion when healthcare providers open them to do assessments, Ward says. The Clear Collar is safer because patients' necks are visible through it. It also saves valuable time during emergency assessments.
The Clear Advantage Collar team also included EMBA students Suzanne Arden, Loree Elswick, Jeremi Snook, and Robert Weatherwax. The business plan they created for the device while still in school won the McColl School's David C. Stephens Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award in 2008, and drew media coverage including a feature story in Charlotte Magazine.
"This team of EMBA students took a product idea and turned it into a successful business," said Dr. Chuck Bamford, professor of entrepreneurship and strategy and the Dennis Thompson Chair of Entrepreneurial Leadership at the McColl School. "So often, great ideas fail to materialize into profitable ventures. Our entrepreneurship program is specifically geared to help students learn how to start and run a real business."
Ward credits the McColl School's rigorous curriculum and emphasis on collaborative study with preparing the team for the challenges of bringing a new product to market.