Restless with simply selling products. Unmanageable, according to his wife Judee. Traits that didn’t serve Doug Overturf well as an order taker, he says in Repertoire’s latest Distributor Profile.

“I loved working with customers and asking myself, ‘What do I need to do to turn this guy around?’” he says.

But, that wasn’t enough.

In 1980, with Judee’s help, he founded CoMedical (Seattle, Wash.). His goal was to distance himself from commodities selling. In fact, “I originally didn’t intend to become a distributor,” he points out. “But, I met someone who was selling sharps containers, and had an opportunity to make some money if I stocked his product. I remember meeting him in his hotel room. He had a model of his sharps container carved in wood!” It turned out the plastic boxes designed to house needles were just the items to jumpstart his new business. The Overturfs rented a classroom in a vacated school building – his first warehouse, he laughs.

Today, CoMedical boasts 10 field reps and a territory that includes Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Alaska. It carries a diversified line of products from a broad range of disciplines, including surgery, anesthesia, respiratory therapy, infusion therapy, woman’s health, interventional radiology, dialysis and critical care – a reflection of the company’s growth over the last three decades.

Overturf is pleased about the way he’s run his business. In fact there are two things he would never change: the company philosophy and its approach to the marketplace. “I’ve always thought we had a sound and good business model,” he says. But, when it comes to hiring – and firing – he wonders if he could have done a better, if not different, job. “When you are a small company, you must look at the big guys,” he says. “There are a lot of things they do right,” he points out, and hiring is one of them.

The second? Read his story in the latest issue HERE


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