Incinerate the Problem: The Growth of Nexterra Medical
A six-year-old boy living in South Africa watches as a scientist dissects a shark right in front of his eyes. The stomach is opened. Bits of plastic and metal are pulled out and placed on a tray. Little Greg McKie shifts uncomfortably. Why was there that much garbage in the ocean for the shark to eat? There had to be a way to make less trash.
Fast forward a few decades to 2015 when adult Greg ’22MBA (pictured below) worked for a distribution company supplying dental and medical materials to local practices. He learned the ins and outs of the operations side of these offices and saw how much waste was created, including materials that were hazardous. He’d worked with an inventor at his alma mater, Ole Miss, on a device that stuck in his memory. It was a machine that would incinerate contaminated needles in just a few seconds, preventing accidental injuries and eliminating used needles in the environment. The inventor passed away, but his device would never fully leave Greg’s mind.
While getting his MBA at Crummer, Greg took Dr. Peter McAlindon’s entrepreneurship class, and he was required to select a project for the course. Greg knew exactly what he was going to choose. Fortunately, he was selected as one of five groups to pitch his business idea in front of Sergie Albino ’10MBA, CEO of ecoSPEARS. Serg encouraged him to take the next entrepreneurship class and to grow his idea, becoming a mentor for Greg. It became more than just a school project, Nexterra Medical was born.
Nexterra’s device fully destroys needles and kills blood-born pathogens. It’s portable, no sharps container is needed, and it’s a cheaper way of disposing needles. More importantly, it stops plastic needles from ending up in the ocean where they can be consumed by sea life, and it keeps nurses safe from accidental contamination. Greg has taken a bottom-up approach with marketing and has been focusing on smaller facilities like dermatology offices where they use a lot of needles. He hopes to grow into hospital groups, and even schools, stadiums, and military facilities.
“Crummer helped me create the right path for a successful venture,” Greg said. “It made me understand what it takes to reach the next stage.” But Greg wasn’t finished with his involvement with Crummer after he graduated. Nexterra was selected to be featured for a capstone project. A capstone project is where Crummer students are partnered with local businesses to get hands-on experience. Several students worked together to help on the marketing side, getting Greg key meetings with the Advent Health Hospital COO and introducing him to the innovation center at Orlando Health. They also helped optimize the functions on his website, creating a more user-friendly exterior.
“I had a great experience working with Greg and Nexterra for my capstone project!” said Michelle Perry ’23MBA (pictured right). “My team and I learned a lot about consulting strategy, start-ups, and the medical sales industry. We were able to set Nexterra up with several meetings with potential clients, and we walked away feeling like we made a difference.”
Making a difference is a theme for Greg with his focus on global sustainability and helping prevent injuries. $13.5B is being spent on “safety” needles and sharps disposal annually but still 385,000 needle injuries occur to medical staff every year, costing additional billions of dollars for treatment and liability. Nexterra aims to eliminate this. “Right now, the main focus is getting everything together to look more presentable to future investors, building a team, and building the pipelines for other pilots,” Greg said.
He’s come a long way since those early days in South Africa watching shark dissections, but Greg and Nexterra Medical are helping to clean up the oceans one needle at a time.
If you are interested in becoming a change-maker like Greg, make an appointment with one of our admissions specialists to get started on earning your MBA at Crummer.