From Powell and New Tazewell to Estonia and Costa Rica, DeRoyal is a global leader in medical manufacturing, creating more than
50,000 healthcare products- cast boots, bandages, sponges, syringes,
even orthopedic implants.
"We're at about 2100 employees and that's all over the world, on six different continents," says DeRoyal C.E.O. Brian DeBusk. "We'll do business in over 70 countries this year. If you've had a surgery done or any type of ER visit there's a very high likelihood that you have had a DeRoyal product applied to you. It really is amazing when you look at over the last 40 years, the path that we've taken."
DeRoyal founder Pete DeBusk began the journey in 1973.
"We started with the most humble beginnings."
Then, a pharmaceutical rep, Pete crossed over to medical devices.
"He uncovered a need to make a device to protect a cast. Back then, everything was plaster."
So, Pete got to work in the family garage.
"Dad had a cake pan and rollers and we would make up cast boots, just enough that he could put in the trunk of his car and drive around the greater Tennessee/Virginia area and sell," said Brian.
The boot was a hit.
"I was three years old when he began this."
Brian became the poster child for some of DeRoyal's earliest orthopedic soft goods.
"Any of the products that were smaller or were sized for children I wound up being the model for in photo shoots."
Five years later, in addition to orthopedics, DeRoyal started making surgical components common in operating rooms. The company's next big break came in the '90s with wound care.
"It started with very simple products, really glorified band-aids."
But over time, thanks to technology and chemistry, the products advanced to include electronics like the negative pressure wound machine.
"It's a thing used as a last resort to try to close a wound."
With the wound care division, DeRoyal began expanding internationally.
"We have plants in Estonia, Latin America, but we also have a number of plants in Tennessee, Virginia. When at all possible, we keep the manufacturing here in the U.S."
The New Tazewell plant continues to be DeRoyal's largest manufacturer. And, DeRoyal's newest division, implants, is produced at the Powell Headquarters.
"We do orthopedic/trauma implants for some of the worst fractures and soon, we'll be doing spinal implants as well."
The technology is incredibly state of the art.
"You're putting a plate in someone that's 10 years old and that plate may be in there for the next 70 years."
It's a responsibility and legacy Brian DeBusk is proud to carry on as CEO of DeRoyal.
"Early on there was a really strong desire to follow in my father's footsteps."
His father, Pete DeBusk, is spending the majority of his time at his alma mater, Lincoln Memorial University, where he serves as the Board of Trustees Chairman.
"He likes to get updates periodically, but he likes the condensed, summarized version. He really does a great job staying out of the day to day."
DeRoyal, born in Powell, HomeGrown in Tennessee.
"We're a very blue collar, pragmatic company. We have a lot of roots here and this region and people here have been very good to us."