Matt’s journey from the Space Science to Healthcare
ORIGIN STORY – Matt Shields
The concept of “supply” can be examined in several ways – but at its core, it connects a product/service with a recipient in a timely fashion. For Pentalym founder Matt Shields, this balancing act has always been a lifelong obsession – initially as a CSIRO project engineer overseeing the lifecycle of millions of telescope components for the launch (and ongoing maintenance) of Australia’s ASKAP radio telescope project in 2012.
But it was his own personal experience that helped him learn the real importance of supply chain technology. You might even say it’s a subject close to his heart.
Engineers love tools. For Matt, he spent many years tinkering with state-of-the-art tools at the CSIRO’s cutting edge – from soldering irons and circuit boards to the innovative hardware tracking tools that he pioneered for ASKAP. Outside the lab, Matt was also familiar with the tools of an elite athlete – for his bike or other outdoor pursuits. But it was while out running one innocent winter morning at precisely 7am in 2016, that he suddenly needed a tool he’d never given any thought to in all his 40 years. A tool that would mean the difference between life and death.
They call it a ‘widow maker’ heart attack – medically known as an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Essentially, it’s the worst kind of heart attack you can have, where a major artery of the heart is completely blocked. On that day, Matt’s heart experienced a sudden STEMI event – and the chances of survival were slim. You see, it becomes a race against time, as many of the billions of purpose-built cardiac muscle cells within the human heart start to irreversibly die off. That’s millions of cells every second.
The cruel irony for Matt was that while he had mastered the art of supply chains on one of the most complex projects in Australian engineering history, it was a breakdown in the vital supply chain within his body that threatened to end him. Yet, he was lucky. It took 112 minutes, but the blockage was removed. All thanks to the help of his medical team and the availability of the right ‘stent’ – a tool that treats blocked coronary arteries. A tool that saves lives.