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Paul Davison

Paul Davison, ’08 M.S. Engineering Management and Leadership, has been involved in the development and commercialization of more than 25 medical devices and holds 14 patents. In his previous position as Invuity’s Vice President of R&D (he is now Consultant), Paul was largely responsible for the invention and implementation of the PhotonBlade. This electronic surgical device addresses three surgical needs—illumination, cutting, and coagulation–delivering precise illumination at the point of treatment, low thermal spread, and universal RF generator compatibility. The PhotonBlade recently won an Australian Good Design Award and an Innovation Celebration Award from Premier Healthcare.

Paul lends his extensive expertise as an adjunct professor and member of the SCU Department of Bioengineering Advisory Board. Asked how his Engineering Management and Leadership master’s degree has contributed to his success, here’s what he had to say:


I enrolled in the engineering management program in 2005 while being considered for promotion from Director of R&D to Vice President of R&D at ArthroCare, a 1000 employee public medical device developer and manufacturer.  This was 13 years after earning an undergraduate degree!

Rather than continuing to advance toward the promotion, which would require a move to Austin, Texas, I decided to join a colleague from ArthroCare to co-start PEAK Surgical.  PEAK was founded at Stanford University. Although my first position at PEAK Surgical was Vice President of R&D, I still felt additional management and engineering skills were needed. 

Working my way through the engineering management and leadership program, additional confidence was gained, which strengthened my leadership and decision-making performance.

The engineering management and leadership degree was completed two years after joining PEAK Surgical.  The total time it took to finish the degree was three years.  It was a busy time; however, the experiences at PEAK and SCU were often complementary and enhanced my business and life performance. 

One may think it is not a good time or they are too busy to continue learning.  It was a great life- and career-building experience for me, despite being at a startup during the financial crisis, and while I was in the throes of helping to raise a family. 

Throughout my career developing surgical devices, I have enjoyed tremendous fulfillment. The PhotonBlade, which is on a path to be a widely adopted device for breast cancer surgery, is one of the better devices I've been involved with over the years. However, serving as adjunct professor, teaching medical device product development and biomaterials courses, and contributing to the success of SCU’s outstanding Department of Bioengineering as an advisory board member also bring significant rewards. The engineering management and leadership program led to great rewards—both anticipated and unexpected!

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