Oct 16, 2023

Medtronic Mission brings father, son together in operating room

Both Medtronic employees, father, Jeff Meyer, and son, Riley, found themselves working in the same operating room. Riley said it was one of the ‘coolest moments’ he’ll ever have.

When Riley Meyer was in fifth grade, he brought a PillCamTM for his classroom’s show and tell.

Riley told his classmates once swallowed, the device takes thousands of images that can be sped up and turned into a video to uncover possible digestive tract issues.

“And all these little fifth graders are kind of looking at me like, ‘What is he talking about?’’’ Riley joked. “But I was so excited about the technology behind the device that I couldn’t wait to share it with everyone around me. Little did I realize that was my first medical device sales pitch of many.”

Riley Meyer and his dad Jeff
Riley Meyer, left, and his dad, Jeff, pose for a picture while working a case together.

Riley borrowed the PillCamTM, an ingestible camera the size of a multivitamin, from his dad, Jeff Meyer, a longtime Medtronic employee who sells them as part of his job as an executive strategic account manager in the Endoscopy Operating Unit.

Despite Riley’s love for technology as a boy, Jeff never pushed his son to follow in his footsteps; he always believed his kids should follow their own passions.

As it turned out, their passion was shared: One year ago, Jeff looked over his shoulder while working a case in a Wisconsin operating room, and saw his son standing there, also representing Medtronic.

“He’s out there living that same Medtronic Mission that I signed up for,” Jeff said. “We’re on this journey together.”

Meant to be

As a kid growing up in Minnesota, Riley noticed Jeff’s phone calls with physicians from his home office, and knew about the early alarms and cases that took his dad away from home. He also saw the light in his father’s eyes as he spoke about the privilege to make a difference through his work.

When Jeff took his son to the Medtronic Employee Holiday Program in 2019, Riley saw his future come into focus.

“I felt touched by hearing the patient testimonials up on stage, and I remember I was walking out with my dad, and I looked over at him and I said, ‘I'm going to work for Medtronic one day. This is where I want to be,’” Riley said.

Riley did work for Medtronic, initially in finance roles where he could stay out of the shadows of his father’s strong reputation in the field. But he never lost his desire to work closely with patients and physicians.

“I realized that I was running away from where I was meant to be the entire time,” he said.

Riley made a career change and became a market sales representative for Advanced Surgical after a rigorous training course for the job.

‘Coolest moments I’ll ever have’

Riley often leans on Jeff for mentorship and his last name has struck up more than a few conversations with hospital staff familiar with his dad. Outside work, Riley and Jeff talk a lot about work. They can’t help it – they “bleed blue,” Jeff said.

A case in Wisconsin brought the father and son together in the same operating room, the surgeon using both of their respective products.

“I've done a lot of things in my life that have been special to me, but standing in the OR next to my dad, representing a company that not only means so much to me, but also to him, was one of the coolest moments I'll ever have,” Riley wrote on LinkedIn.

Perhaps a career spent helping others was always Riley’s calling. Or maybe with a dad like Jeff, it was an easy choice.


Related content