Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Mansfield businessman lands Olympic sprinter as partner

Six years after forming a company to develop medical devices, Mansfield entrepreneur Johnny Ross has landed a gold medal partner.

Ross’ MedHab announced a partnership last week with Olympic champion Michael Johnson to test and develop applications for its new RPM2 device, a wireless “foot-bed” that fits into an athletic shoe to provide training data for runners, cyclists and triathletes.

The product is the first for MedHab, which has been a client of the Tech Fort Worth business incubator since 2010 and operates a manufacturing and distribution center in San Angelo.

Johnson, the sprinter from Dallas who won four Olympic gold medals and became known as the “fastest man in the world,” now runs the Michael Johnson Performance training organization in McKinney. In a statement, he said the RPM2 “will provide us with valuable feedback when monitoring our clients’ performance.”

MedHab says the shoe insert device is embedded with sensors and a microcontroller to measure an athlete’s gait, range of motion, power and pressure distribution, so trainers can evaluate an athlete’s mechanics and make improvements. Measurements can be uploaded and accessed via smartphone, so a coach like Johnson can work with athletes around the world.

Ross, 51, a former pitcher at Texas Tech University, started the company after he had knee surgery and discovered a need for a device to measure progress during rehabilitation. That device, aimed more at the medical market, is still under development.

Now Ross hopes the connection with the Olympic legend will jumpstart sales for RPM2.

And how did MedHab hook up with Michael Johnson? Ross said sales manager Keith Hill cold-called him.

“We got an email one Sunday night from Michael himself asking for a two-hour conference call the following Thursday,” he said. “You can imagine the excitement of that.”

Perot hears

Ebola concerns

The eyes of the world have been on Dallas-Fort Worth during the Ebola situation. Just ask Ross Perot Jr.

The chairman of Dallas-based Hillwood, the development company behind AllianceTexas that has hands in worldwide ventures, told a gathering of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce last week that he received calls from people in other countries inquiring about his well-being.

“I get people calling me up saying, ‘Are you guys OK in Dallas?’ ” Perot said. “I go, well, I think we’re fine. So far, so good.”

He turned to a representative from Texas Health Resources, which is building a hospital at Alliance, and wished the medical care provider well. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, which came under the spotlight after a Liberian man died of Ebola and two nurses contracted the disease, is owned by Arlington-based Texas Health Resources.

“We hope you get through your … issues from your sister hospital over in Dallas,” Perot said.

Texas hot for

real estate investors

DFW has been picked as the fifth-best area for commercial real estate investment next year by investors.

The Urban Land Institute and PriceWaterhouse Coopers recently released the top city picks at a conference in New York. Houston topped the list, followed by Austin as the second best area for investment in 2015.

Texas was prominent on the list as domestic energy production and hydraulic fracturing have generated thousands of new jobs in the state, the report said. DFW was attractive to investors because of strong job growth.

San Francisco was picked as the No. 3 city and Denver fourth.

“Investors are looking closely at opportunities beyond the core markets. These cities are positioning themselves as highly competitive, in terms of livability, employment offerings, and recreational and cultural amenities,” said ULI Global Chief Executive Patrick L. Phillips.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

Steve Kaskovich, 817-390-7773

Twitter: @stevekasko

Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718

Twitter: @bshlachter

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