DesignWise Medical Advisors

Liann Johnson

Liann is the President and CEO of Surpass with twenty-five years of medical device industry experience in Research & Development including urological, cardiovascular, neurological, gynecology and peripheral applications. Her diverse professional background includes engineering, business development, and executive management roles in product development and operations. Her engineering and management experience has yielded multiple patents in the areas of self-expanding metal stents and delivery systems. In her career as a global leader, she developed and commercialized more than fifty new products on-time and cost-effectively. Prior to joining Surpass, Ms. Johnson held the positions of Division Director of Charles River Laboratories Interventional and Surgical Services, Wisconsin Division; General Manager and Director of New Business Development at Catheter and Disposables Technology, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota; Director for Custom In-Depth Research for Teltech Resource Network Corporation; and Product Development Manager and Senior Development Engineer for Schneider (USA) Inc. Ms. Johnson has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Augsburg College, Minneapolis, Minnesota and an Associates of Science degree from Dunwoody College of Technology, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

James Davenport

James Davenport is a partner with KPMG LLP and serves as the firm’s healthcare leader in the Upper Midwest.  He serves clients in the payer, provider and medical technology sectors and is responsible for KPMG’s service strategy and delivery to this market.  James also serves on KPMG’s national leadership team for the managed care sector and authors an annual Managed Care Industry report that is distributed nationally.  In addition to his professional work in healthcare, Davenport is the proud father of a daughter who spent three months in the neonatal intensive care unit and was the beneficiary of a number of pediatric medical devices.  He also serves as the vice-chair of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities and is a member of the Neonatal Experience Team at Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.

Alec Johnson

Dr. Alec Johnson is a tenured Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University Of St. Thomas Opus College Of Business in St. Paul Minnesota.  Dr. Johnson has a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Masters degree in International Business and a PhD in Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He has 15 years teaching in a University setting, 8 with the University of Saint Thomas.  He has expertise in business development process, strategy, and financing of early stage companies.  Dr. Johnson’s has experience of deep vertical consulting with development stage companies, ranging from music academies to medical devices to software to basic retail.  His research includes financial behavior in small business, performance/industry linkages in small business and small business bootstrapping.  Dr. Johnson has been published numerous times on these and other topics.  He is involved in community relationships such as Junior Achievement and the Minneapolis Urban League and is the owner of AC Johnson Photography.