Interview: Jake Eva, Custom Orthopedic Solutions, Ohio

Jacob Eva, Custom Orthopedic Solutions

Jacob Eva is a Cleveland native. He earned a BS in Advanced Manufacturing from Ohio Northern University. Since college Jake has worked in 3D printing and prototyping for a number of companies holding roles in sales and marketing as well as managing 7 SLA machines that ran 24/7. Jake joined Custom Orthopaedic solutions (COS), a Cleveland Clinic sponsored company in 2014. In 2018, COS sold their shoulder product line to Arthrex. COS is currently awaiting FDA clearance for their patient-specific airway stenting system. Jake will be a speaker in our upcoming Cleveland Ohio event.

Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?

Jake: My first exposure to 3D printing was while visiting a company I would eventually work for right out of college.  I watched an SLA machine run for almost 15 minutes thinking that it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen.  I had no idea this technology existed until that day.

Jenny: What inspired you to start your career in 3D printing?

Jake: The first company I worked for co-sponsored a CWRU project to create 3D models from CT scans for use in cranioplasty patches.  Eventually, a side company was started to make these skull models for use in surgery and I knew this was just the beginning and there was so much more that could be done.

Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing?

Jake: My 1st supervisor really drove my work ethic and showed me that to be successful in this business, takes great commitment and long hours.  Your whole livelihood revolves around this technology and it can require a lot of attention.

Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work?

Jake: Knowing that what I’m doing is directly helping physicians and patients who need it.  Even if they don’t know me or what it took to get the product to them, improving someone’s life for the better is extremely gratifying.

Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?

Jake: The biggest obstacle right now is the FDA and providing them with all the information they need (or think they need) in order to approve this for sale in the US.  It has taking a lot of trial and error, testing and, most of all, money to get us to a point where we feel we have a good chance at clearance.

Jenny: What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?

Jake: The biggest challenge will be the regulatory pathway and then adoption, not only by physicians and hospitals but by insurance carriers who will eventually fund these treatments.  If insurance carriers are not comfortable with this line of treatment, coverage will not be offered and it will become cost prohibitive to most patients.

Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advices you heard should they ignore?

Jake: Learn as much about the materials and processes as you can and also who to contact as a resource for further information.  This will allow you to select an ideal technology/material for your application. Also, spend time as an operator of the equipment.  This will give you the best understanding of what is possible.

When looking for a provider of 3D printers/materials, you are also looking for a partner of sorts.  Make sure the company you choose to work with is as of the same quality as the product they supply.

Jenny: What was the best investment you made in 3D printing?

Jake: The investment in myself to become knowledgeable about materials and skilled enough as an operator to know how to apply this technology in the medical field.

Jenny: What was the worst investment you made in 3D printing?

Jake: Probably staying in one place too long.  The industry changes so fast you can’t be stuck in one place doing one thing for too long.  If learning and innovation become idle, it may be time to move and grow.

Jenny: What was/is the biggest risk you took in your career?

Jake: Working for COS and taking a chance that our product would take off and the company would be a success.

Jenny: What do you enjoy in your spare time? What are you passionate about outside of your work/3d printing?

Jake: I enjoy spending time with my family and my new little boy; making sure he grows up with the confidence to design/create/problem solve.  I also ride motorcycles and enjoy performing maintenance and upgrades as time and money become available.

Jenny: What is your favorite quote? Why?

Jake: “Sic Parvis Magna” is a latin phrase meaning “Greatness from small beginnings”.  I think it’s a great description of the journey we take in life both personally and professionally.

Jenny: What does the word “3DHEALS” mean to you?  =)

Jake: Building a community that promotes a free exchange of ideas and knowledge to help advance the use of 3D printing technology in healthcare.

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