As a child, Fred Lampropouloss family found themselves homeless - but it was the kindness of community members that helped them get back on track.
From those early days, Fred learned the importance of hard work and determination. Today, he holds almost 200 patents on products used in the treatment of heart disease.
Shauna Lake sat down with Fred Lampropoulous in this weeks Person 2 Person. Below is a transcript of the interview.
Fred, thank you so much for sitting down and spending a little bit of time with us. You run a huge company merit medical. Tell me a little bit about how that came to be:
Fred Lampropoulos: Merit medical is now 26 years old. We have almost 3000 employees; we have offices from Shanghai to Hong Kong to Galway Ireland to Moscow Russia. We do cardiac devices interventional cardiac devices and interventional radiology so we're the less invasive surgery.
I started from scratch and today its going to do revenues of just approximately half a billion dollars so its a big business.
Shauna Lake: I read and researched about you and i heard you run your corporation and your factory much like the army. Is that the branch of government you were in?
Fred Lampropoulos: Well I was. As a young boy I came to SLC. We were homeless. We lived in Pioneer Park. Everything we had was in a bag.
Shauna Lake: How did that happen?
Fred Lampropoulos: It's a long story but to make it short, I was born in Boston. We moved out west mom and dad split up, mom and dad got back together and here we come out to Utah after living in Wyoming for 4 years. We got up one morning and mom and dad said, 'Okay guys, we are moving today so put your clothes in these bags and put them in the car and we're out of here.' I said 'well what about the house, what about our furniture? Well we have to leave.' So we did and we showed up here and because of some really wonderful people Ted Spiros the owner of Lambs Cafe and the Papanikolas family gave us a home to live in we didn't even have enough money to turn on the utilities. I was the first one in my family to graduate high school. I joined the army, as it all turned out Shauna that was probably the smartest thing I ever did. I went on to be from a private to a Special Forces officer, a green beret, a master parachutist. All of those things taught me a lot of things. I just wasn't used to giving up and I didn't; it served me well.
Shauna Lake: Is your faith important to you?
Fred Lampropoulos: I have a great faith in God. It is. It is. You know I lost 2 sons I think you know that. In the last 4 years 5 years Ive lost 2 sons 2 boys. One was 38 and one was 25 I have a great faith in God and that he is mindful of us all and I think I understand why we are here but I have a broken heart every day.
Shauna Lake: A parent is never supposed to bury their child, how do you go on?
Fred Lampropoulos: Well you just have to have that faith. I mean does my faith help me? Of course it does.
Shauna Lake: What about future runs for office? You ran for governor once. Do you feel like you would want to do that again?
Fred Lampropoulos: It's not likely that I ever will. I will never say never but, I think there things that we need to do that someone that doesn't need a job, that isn't a politician; someone that doesn't care if they get reelected ought to say 'okay folks here are some ideas here's how this could work and here's what I think we should do' and then go out there and really work it.
Shauna Lake: Three more questions; fun ones. Guilty pleasure?
Fred Lampropoulos: Going to a baseball game in Boston when I get there nobody knows about it; going there just to watch the Red Sox.
Shauna Lake: Last sappy movie that you kind of cried at?
Fred Lampropoulos: Do you know I like... I'm kind of the chick flick kind of guy. I love going to those movies. I would say that I saw this one with Julianne Hough, Safe Haven. I like those kinds of movies. They are stressful and there are these human emotions and the boy/girl thing. I like that kind of stuff.
Shauna Lake: You're an emotional guy?
Fred Lampropoulos: Yeah I am I mean I'm not like cheesy, but yeah.
Shauna Lake: Favorite restaurant in town where we could find you?
Fred Lampropoulos: Anything Italian. I just like Italian. I think Michelangelo's on Highland Drive.
Shauna Lake: Fred thank you so much its been so nice to get to know you better person to person.
(Copyright 2013 - Sinclair Broadcasting Group)