Fred Reuning: Clinical Nutrition Rockstar
May 5, 2020|ROCKSTARS in Clinic Nutrition
Fred Reuning is a nutrition innovation rock star who has contributed significantly to the field of clinical nutrition. He is currently the Vice President of marketing and sales and cofounder with Brian Johnson of U Deliver Medical LLC and has introduced a greatly needed product in the enteral nutrition world; a simple, patient operated delivery system for enteral nutrition. First, let’s look at Fred’s path to success …. It’s fascinating as it involves an international career opportunity and an introduction to silicone, that marvel material of medical devices that set the pathway forward for Fred.
Fred grew up in central Pennsylvania in the shadow of Geisinger Medical Center. His father was a college professor and had a tremendous impact on Fred’s “curiosity gene” and his desire to solve problems. At the age of 13 he was exposed to an international experience when his family moved to Austria. He later attended Washing and Lee University (W&L) and was focused on a career in finance. He took advantage of a program during his college years that allowed him to travel to and study in Vienna for some additional “international experience.”
Once Fred graduated from W&L, he attended Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies to pursue a MA in International Studies and Economics. While at Hopkins he worked for GAO as an auditor of the World Food Program which was his first exposure to nutrition. He remained interested in obtaining further international exposure and education after receiving his MA and entered a program that gave him work experience in Germany. He decided to move to Germany only to find out he had to personally find his “job opportunity.” A daunting task. Fortunately, Fred had family in Germany who encouraged him to at least give it a try …. so, he put together a resume and was stunned to land a position with Bayer the Biochemical/Petrochemical company and was introduced to ……. silicone. Fred worked and learned in Germany and ultimately returned to Boston where he landed a position with a company manufacturing silicone parts for the aerospace and automotive industry (he also got married). One of their suppliers, Dow Corning, encouraged his company to explore the world of medical devices and the need for silicone components. That task was assigned to Fred and began his introduction to the world of medicine.
In 1997 Fred began a career with Novartis/Sandoz as group manager for enteral access devices; this was a time of development for enteral feeding tubes and enteral pumps. Fred and his family moved to Minnesota. It was during this tenure that Fred met Bob Williams at Novartis who became a friend and a mentor. He taught Fred how to ask the right questions and how to seek the right solutions to complex problems. In the year 2000 Fred transitioned his career to Smith Medical where he was director of marketing for vascular access devices. In 2005 he pivoted his career to Vascular Solutions where he was Vice President for their varicose vein therapy business. Still, Fred had the ‘nutrition soul” inside of him. In the year 2009 he accepted a position with Nestle Nutrition where he stayed until 2015 and served as a senior marketing manager for North America on the medical device side focusing on enteral feeding pumps, administration sets and feeding tubes.
In 2015 Fred began a new chapter in his life: consulting in the business of medical devices as a new company; Fred 2.0. The bFed™ product line (Bolee™ Bag, Bolink™ Large and Small Caps) was birthed in 2018. bFed™ was developed by Fred based on the years of knowledge he obtained in industry and manufacturing and his additional knowledge of the nutrition space. The development of bFed™ also capitalized on Fred’s and his business partner, Brian’s, exposure to many tube feeding patients and parents who were ‘frustrated” with the enteral delivery systems available to be used at home. Patients expressed frustration with trying to use syringes or other ‘home made devices” for delivering tube feeding. He and Brian did their own market research and realized patients and families were looking for a solution that was simple, reusable and reasonable in price. The current practice was time consuming, messy, inexact and produced a negative impact on their quality of life
The bFed™ system consists of a flexible container that can store up to 375 cc (the bolee bag). It has 2 connecting tubes with caps).The large cap tube fits the bolee bag. The patient or family member simply opens their container of tube feeding, or makes their own blenderized feeding, and pours it into the Bolee Bag Attaches the Bolink™ Large Cap and this system is connected to the feeding tube or an extension set. You can simply hold the bag up to allow it to flow into the feeding tube or gently squeeze if needed to deliver the contents. The Bolee™ bag can be washed with soap and water and used again. The Bolee bags can be pre-filled and stored in the refrigerator and can be easily transported for events outside the home. There are commercialized pureed products on the market that are sold in small, flexible containers (pouches). For these products there is a Bolink™ Small Cap tubing that screws onto these pouches and allows deliver of the contents into a feeding tube.
The bFed™ system has had a tremendous impact on resolving patient and family frustration with home tube feeding and has improved their quality of life and independence. This solution was created together with Brian through Fred’s love of international learning and nutrition, his inquisitive mind and an opportunity in Germany that introduced him to the world of silicone.
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