Mechanical Engineering Alums Leading Medical Tech Company
Delta Development Team Inc., a Tucson-based medical technology company, was recently selected as a finalist in the 2023 Venture Madness Competition put on by Invest Southwest. The company manufactures "ruggedized" battery powered medical refrigerators for rural environments.
Delta Development came to be when military veteran Monti Leija came to work with two University of Arizona engineering graduates in 2018. These were chief engineer and co-founder Bill Barg, who graduated in 1993 with a bachelor's in mechanical engineering, and chief technology officer Robert Futch, who graduated in 2014 with a bachelor's in mechanical engineering, and in 2022 earned a master's in systems engineering.
According to an interview with Inside Tucson Business, it was while serving combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan that Leija saw a vital need to transport properly refrigerated blood to the battlefield. However, small and reliable refrigeration units were not available.
Leija, Barg and Futch began collaborating and developed a refrigerator roughly the size of a fishing tackle box they called the Autonomous Portable Refrigeration Unit, or APRU. Made to run for days on one battery charge and withstand harsh weather conditions, the invention garnered a grant from the U.S. Air Force. Today, Delta Development Team strives to be industry leaders in blood storage solutions.