RECYCLED GOODS: Bob Gaw, right, president of Physicians Resource Network, speaks with Steven Hipolito, a sales and logistics employee at the company. According to Gaw, the company’s warehouse has enough equipment to outfit six hospitals.
In an old mill building in Fall River, Bob Gaw has a collection of medical equipment that encompasses everything from beds and stretchers to surgery, ultrasound and anesthesia equipment – everything you need to outfit about six hospitals, he says.
Gaw is the president and founder of Physicians Resource Network Inc. The company distributes new and reconditioned medical equipment to doctors, hospitals and international dealers on the premise that preowned equipment can help clients operate more profitably.
He’s been in business since the early 1980s, after getting his start as an independent representative for a California-based company in the same field.
That company eventually went bankrupt, but during his time as an employee, Gaw accumulated some equipment through trade-ins. He started selling it, and as he did his collection of equipment grew and so did Physicians Resource’s need for additional space.
“I went from one of the bedrooms in the house, to taking up the garage, to taking up the spare room in the basement,” Gaw said, “and now we’ve got about 25,000 square feet of what many would call used medical equipment that’s no longer of use in many places, but is in use overseas.”
In fact, more than half of Gaw’s customers are based in other countries. He acquires most of his equipment from hospitals across the United States – “it’s pretty much whatever we get our hands on,” he said, and redistributes literally around the world. Equipment has been shipped to Mexico and Barbados, as well as to South American locations. Gaw also has customers in Africa and Southeast Asia.
“What we might not consider useful anymore, they might consider a treasure,” Gaw said, referring to some of his overseas buyers.
Whether the equipment is actually a treasure, is something that Physicians Resource is careful to be upfront about.
“That’s the key to keeping people satisfied,” Gaw said, “being upfront with them from the beginning.”
The company sells its equipment at different levels, which range from patient-ready to as is. The company also works with biomedical engineers who can repair equipment, putting it in working order before it’s sold.