Awards Recognize Unsung Heroes in Sterile Medical Packaging

This year’s superstars in sterile awareness work tirelessly — often behind the scenes — to ensure patient safety and prevent healthcare acquired infections or HAIs.

June 16, 2024

3 Min Read
2024 Sterile Aware Award Winners
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Charlie Webb, founder and CEO of Van der Stähl Scientific, knows firsthand the value of recognizing industry peers for their contributions to healthcare packaging and infection prevention. After his patented containment system for transferring blood tissue was passed over for an award favoring a curvaceous shampoo bottle, he channeled his disappointment and frustration into developing an awards program powered by peers, many of whom go unrecognized for their work in advancing sterility.

Now in its second year, the resulting Superstars in Sterile Awareness awards were presented to five recipients at thePACKout, the medical packaging conference that took place from May 13-16. During the awards presentation, Webb noted that “people who get awards, tend to get awards,” while people at the tip of distribution services are not getting the recognition they deserve.

“We’re trying to recognize ground-level people who are doing amazing things,” he said. “The idea is to recognize people who aren’t always the ones being recognized; the ones that are doing the heavy lifting and hard shoveling every day.”

Being recognized and rewarded for excellence is an incentive to do better, Webb noted, and has been since the days of receiving gold stars in kindergarten.

“It’s meaningful for humans to be recognized. Oftentimes when it’s forgotten then it changes somebody who could have really done so much more, but because they perhaps weren’t seen or don’t have recognition never had the opportunity to really shine,” he said.

Following are the 2023 Superstars in Sterile Awareness award winners presented in alpha order by last name.

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Justin Anderson, President/CEO of Tensor Surgical

Anderson set up his own cleanroom, invested in a packaging machine, and started packaging surgical devices during the evenings and on weekends. Webb calls him a one-man show.

“It’s incredible the amount of validation that came out of this tiny little room,” he said.

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Elon Goldbaum, Vice President, Client Solutions & Packaging Engineering at Network Partners

Webb describes Goldbaum as “one of these quiet geniuses in our industry.” Whenever Webb has a question about validation, Goldbaum is the person with the answer.

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Kelly Mawer, Production Scientist at Biolyph

Webb describes Mawer as “one of the most anally retentive quality persons I’ve ever met.” He recalled a time when someone in his lab signed off on a calibration test for another person who had to leave early. Mawer saw that the signatures didn’t match and kicked them back.

“These are those people that do that granular work on quality management systems … the ones that make sure we get these devices sterile to the point of care,” Webb said.

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Sarah Rosenblum Ptach, President, Canyon Labs

“So many of us have a career crush on Sarah because she does such cool things,” said Webb. “She’s omni-present. My wife Lisa has adopted her as her corporate daughter.”

Of her award win, Ptach made the following comments on LinkedIn:

“I am so honored & humbled to have received a SterileAware, “Superstars in Healthcare Packaging” award at this years the[PACK]out conference. Knowing the history of this award from Charlie Webb CPPL & Lisa Wassberg Webb makes it even more meaningful.”

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Amy Stewart, Medical Product Development Manager at Printpack Medical

According to Webb, Stewart’s organization skills are matchless.

“She’s a wonderful person to work with. Kudos for your incredible organization skills and all you do for our industry,” he said.

Of her award win, Stewart made the following comments on LinkedIn:

“SterileAware started from a place of recognition that something needs to be done and inspiring the collective movement to make an individual impact. Honored to share this award with recipients including my close industry colleagues Elon Goldbaum and Sarah Rosenblum Ptach.”

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