The Airway Company was formed with the mission of helping people breathe and improving the patients' quality of life. Our satisfaction comes from the fact that, to date, thousands of patients have used and enjoyed the advantages of the Shikani Speaking Valve. Our primary responsibility is to the doctors, therapists, and patients who use our products. We strive constantly to provide the highest quality products, services, and information in order to meet their needs.
Our Goal:
To pursue innovative airway-related products that have the potential to help thousands of adults and pediatric patients breathe and speak better. Our success is grounded in our ability for innovation and the development of break-through airway products that are uniquely designed for efficiency and patient comfort.
Although a tracheotomy can be mentally stressful and physically handicapping, we at The Airway Company believe it does not have to limit the quality of a patient's everyday life. Both temporary and permanent trach patients deserve the opportunity to breathe freely and speak clearly. With the proper clinical support and the latest in well-designed airway products, tracheotomy patients should be able to just do that. By reducing tracheotomy patients' work of breathing and enabling clear communication, the Shikani Speaking Valve allows them to enjoy a better overall quality of life.
Our History:
Before the introduction of tracheotomy speaking valves, the only method of restoring phonation in patients with tracheotomies was finger occlusion of the cannula opening. Dr. Arthur Siebens who was the director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Good Samaritan Hospital, and the biomedical engineer, Joseph French, envisioned a method of allowing the patients to inhale through their cannula but exhale in the normal manner through their vocal chords, which would later become the first ball speaking valve. Development was under way but stopped because of the death of Dr. Siebens. At this point Dr. Alan Shikani, director of Otolaryngology at Good Samaritan Hospital continued the work on the speaking valve. It became a joint effort between Mr. French (working on the mechanics of the valve) and Dr Shikani working on the medical applications in order to optimize the valve's clinical design for tracheotomy patients. The final result was an innovation in the area of speaking valve design: adjustability of the airflow and closure to allow either one-way or two-way airflow as desired for patient comfort and a low visual profile. Dr Shikani later invented a new Heat and Moisture Exchanger (HME), designed to help tracheotomy patients regain some of these lost respiratory functions. When placed over the tracheostomy tube, the Shikani HME captures warm and moist air in special media, as it is exhaled from the body, warming and humidifying the cool, dry air as it enters the lungs. The Heat and Moisture Exchanger (HME) is a uniquely able to be used in conjunction with the Shikani Speaking Valve.
Our Governance:
The Airway Company is strongly committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct and corporate governance. Our team oversees the Company and its business, and brings extensive clinical knowledge, product manufacturing expertise, and proven business experience to the speech and respiratory field.
Alan Shikani, MD FACS
Chairman and Chief Medical Officer
Dr Alan Shikani has trained in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and is currently is the director of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at 3 main large hospitals in Baltimore (Good Samaritan Hospital, Sinai Hospital, and Union Memorial Hospital). He is a member of the Alpha Omega Honor Medical Society, the Triologic society, the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Otolaryngology, and the American Rhinological Society. He holds twenty-four patents in his name either individually or as a co-inventor, and has published numerous articles and book chapters in the field of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck surgery. Dr Shikani is also the recipient of the prestigious Maurice H. Cottle Award, presented by the American Rhinologic Society for the most outstanding clinical and basic research in rhinology. Dr Shikani is in charge of the clinical and research required for validation of scientific claims for the Airway Company devices, and of promotion of the Airway Company's products at society meetings through presentation and paper submissions.
Thomas V. Root
Chief Operating Officer, Strategy & Business Development
Prior to joining The Airway Company, Tom Root was President and CEO of Optim, LLC, (fka Applied Fiberoptics) a highly respected, FDA CGMP compliant, manufacturer of medical endoscopy and LED lighting products. Having joined Optim in 1996 Root led the Company through a turnaround that included restructuring of $5-Million in debt, raising of $4-Million in private equity, selling of its underperforming product lines, completing ISO 9001 and 13485 accreditation, and developing and executing successful national and international "go-to-market" strategies that included the launching of four new disruptive medical devices in six years. In December 2012 Mr. Root left Optim to lead The Airway Company in its pursuit of improving lives by Helping People Speak and Breathe Better. Prior to Optim, Mr. Root was the Founder, and for seven years, President and CEO of Valtec Systems, a medical device systems integrator and before Valtec, he was Co-Founder, of Northeast NDE Company, a distributor of X-ray and Ultrasound equipment serving as its President and CEO for ten years. Mr. Root has five utility patents; four design patents; six utility patents pending and two trademarks. Education includes, University of New Haven (Mechanical Engineering), Harvard Graduate School of Business, CEO Leadership Program, MIT Sloan, Program on Solving Complex Business Problems and various industry related seminars. He is a member of the Center for Innovation in Medicine and Innovative Technology (CiMIT) at Mass. General Hospital, Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) Advanced Manufacturing Committee, National Association of Corporate Directors, (NACD) and MassMEDIC.
William J. Shikani
CFO and Finance
William Shikani graduated from Yale University with honors in 2010, where he received a bachelor's degree in Economics. Mr. Shiklani has four years' experience trading commodities derivatives in New York at Macquarie Bank, one of the industry leaders in commodities trading. He has previously worked in research for WFD Ventures, a New York based venture capital firm specializing on medical devices, as well as in sales and marketing for Emergent BioSolutions, a major pharmaceutical company that is the main supplier of anthrax vaccine for the US Department of Defense. William focuses on financial operations and business strategy for The Airway Company.
Ron E. Wolfe, Jr
Ron Wolfe graduated from Salisbury State University in 1996 with a degree in Accounting. He specializes in business and personal tax planning. He is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents, former member of the Government Relations Committee of the NAEA, Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 member of Intuit's Accountants and Customer Advisors Council, Member of the National Advisors Network, Member of the Maryland Society of Accountants, a candidate member of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants, and a fellow in the National Tax Practitioners Institute.
Desiree Ortman
Platform Leader and Marketing
With a degree in Communications from The University of Delaware, Desiree Ortman specializes in marketing strategy and execution. As a brand marketer with over 8 years' experience with a Fortune 500 company, she remains focused on generating comprehensive, integrated communications strategies that drive overall brand awareness for The Airway Company. Her specialties include brand management, public relations, digital marketing, marketing copy, packaging design, project management, and creative direction.
Desiree Ortman is responsible for all marketing and public relations activities for The Airway Company.
John Czaja
Jon Czaja received a B.A in Communications from the University of Tampa. Jon has eight years' experience selling medical devices for patients with total laryngectomies. During this tenure he assisted clinicians and surgeons in the treatment of this specialized patient population. With detailed attention and close clinical support for the SLP and ENT, Jon achieved the Sales Excellence Award for increasing accounts and meeting sales targets three years in a row. He is the National Sales Manager at the Airway Company, with responsibility for business development, strategic account management and overall success of sales goals. He brings years of experience collaborating with medical professionals and patients, and plans to grow sales of the Airway Company products.
Shannon Weinheimer, MS CCC-SLP
Clinical Consultant
Shannon Weinheimer is a clinical consultant for The Airway Company. She is a practicing speech pathologist and specializes in working with tracheostomized and ventilator dependent patients. She is currently working at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, MD. Prior to her current role, she worked at Greater Baltimore Medical Center for 5 years and was a member of the tracheostomy team. Shannon received her undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders at James Madison University and her masters degree in speech pathology at Towson University.
Ranga Krishnamurthi
Regulatory Consultant
Ranga is the leading regulatory consultant for product development and regulatory strategy of the Airway Company. He has completed all necessary documentation for the FDA approval and allowing the company to sell the Shikani speaking valve and the Shikani HME in the United States, and all CE documentation for the issuance of CE Mark for the Shikani speaking valve and the Shikani HME.