It's all about creating connections.
That's the foundation of Brandon Sampson's philosophy about prosthetics, art, and life. Sampson, who's well known as a local musician, is trying to connect with a new business.
He and three partners launched Limb Lab, a full service prosthetic and orthotics company, in November by opening an office in Mankato. They recently began work on a Rochester location, which Sampson hopes to be able to open in March.
"Most of the processes in the prosthetics industry are decades old," he said, standing amid the construction of his new office. "The biggest thing that makes Limb Lab unique is our fresh approach. We're on the cutting edge, with the latest technology and most efficient practices."
The Limb Lab's new 3,000-square-foot Rochester studio is located on the street level of the 95-year-old Riverside Building at 400 S. Broadway. When the dust settles and the downtown office opens its doors, Sampson expects to have at four employees on staff.
Sampson and partner Daniel Tellijohn are the two primary practitioners, who work with clients. Tellijohn is already leading the Mankato office.
Both Sampson and Tellijohn have long histories of working with clients who must cope with missing a limb. They compare losing a limb to losing a loved one.
"We do not make a replacement for original equipment. That can never be replaced," commented Sampson. "It's a tool to improve their function for certain tasks."
One patient who emailed Sampson recently wants to return to competing in triathlons. Physicians and prostheticists can then help the patient reach that goal.
The ultimate goal of Limb Lab is to help clients who have lost a limb or need special braces to be more independent. Becoming more independent is also a goal for Sampson and his partners.
In June, Sampson and Tellijohn had a contentious parting of the ways with their former employer, Prosthetic Laboratories of Rochester. The situation spurred lawsuits, which are still working their way through the courts.
While the legal battle has been difficult, Sampson says he has no regrets about his 15 years at Prosthetic Labs and he's thankful for the experience. However, he also says it was time to part ways.
"It's time for me to become the decision maker, have a say in what happens," he says. "It's time to be the master of my own destiny."
To do that, he partnered up with Tellijohn, Marty Frana and Dennis Clark as four equal partners to form Limb Lab. He says they mapped out the plan carefully with legal advice.
"It's a great group. Daniel's very passionate about prosthetics and very loyal. It's like he's a member of the family. And he's a very talented sculptor. Marty's the business guy to keep us artists on track. Dennis is my mentor. He's truly a visionary in prosthetics industry," says Sampson.
Not matter how good the team is, he acknowledges making a leap like this is not an easy thing.
"These are big risks," he says. "It's a pretty scary proposition for a farm kid from Lyle."