Never Walking the Grey

May 17, 2024

This episode features a conversation with Aaron Emerson.

In our recent podcast episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with Aaron Emerson, CEO of CEGA based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Aaron shared his journey from practicing law to leading a groundbreaking medtech company, offering valuable insights into innovation, entrepreneurship, and the complexities of the healthcare industry.

The Genesis of CEGA

Aaron Emerson, along with his co-founder Dr. Ty White, conceived CEGA in 2012. The idea sparked during a casual conversation between the two college roommates, discussing the physical challenges of patient movement in healthcare settings. This led to the creation of their first product, MUV, aimed at assisting healthcare professionals in moving patients more efficiently. Despite its initial market challenges, this product set the foundation for future innovations.

Pioneering Patient Transfer Technology

Recognizing the high costs and limitations of existing patient transfer devices, CEGA pivoted to develop a more cost-effective solution. Aaron described their innovative approach to lateral transfer technology, likening it to an air mattress with thousands of micro-perforations, significantly reducing the physical effort required to move patients. As a result, their breakthrough invention of the Smart Seam, allows the device to be removed from beneath the patient without direct contact, reducing risks of bleeding and infection, and improving patient outcomes.

Entrepreneurial Journey and Risk Management

Before venturing into medtech, Aaron practiced law, which equipped him with a conservative approach to risk management. However, the entrepreneurial path required balancing his legal prudence with quick decision-making. He emphasized the importance of having a co-founder, citing the complementary partnership with Dr. White as crucial to their success. Aaron highlighted the necessity of being able to pivot and adapt, a common theme among successful entrepreneurs.

Building a Trust-Based Investor Network

CEGA adopted a non-traditional approach to funding, relying heavily on personal connections with friends, family, and colleagues, many of whom are physicians. This approach not only provided financial backing but also built a robust support network rooted in trust. Aaron shared that the majority of their investors are based in South Dakota, although they have garnered support from outside the state as well.

Vision for the Future: celer, a division of CEGA

Looking ahead, Aaron discussed the launch of their celer program, aimed at creating direct relationships between manufacturers and hospitals to streamline the supply chain and reduce costs. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerabilities in the healthcare supply chain, and CEGA aims to address these issues by offering transparency and direct purchasing options. Aaron believes this approach could revolutionize the industry, making healthcare delivery more efficient and cost-effective.

Leadership and Organizational Growth

Throughout the conversation, Aaron reflected on his leadership philosophy, which has evolved with the company’s growth. From a “wartime CEO” during challenging times to trusting his team’s competencies, Aaron’s approach emphasizes adaptability and the importance of building a strong, cohesive team. He underscored the value of hiring trustworthy individuals and the significant impact each team member has on the organization’s success.


Aaron Emerson’s journey with CEGA exemplifies the spirit of innovation and resilience in the medtech industry. His insights into patient transfer technology, entrepreneurial challenges, and future visions for the healthcare supply chain provide a comprehensive look at the dynamic world of medical technology. As CEGA continues to grow and adapt, their commitment to improving patient care through innovative solutions remains steadfast.

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