When Kate Lynch Bix joined Mayo Medical Laboratories (MML) in 1988, she joined the team of only eight sales staff responsible for covering the entire United States. Her territory at that time included accounts in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota. It was a world without cell phones or texting, so sales the sales staff members were issued calling cards and fax machines to communicate with colleagues and clients.
The Dawn of the Internet
The 90s brought exciting times for MML—the internet! Sales staff now had a new, “faster” way to communicate with clients, but certainly not at the touch of a button like it is today. There was no such thing as “wireless internet” or “high-speed modems.” “I would often start the internet dial-up connection, go to dinner, and hope that my document would be open by the time I returned,” remembers Bix.
It was interesting to hear how much the job of Regional Manager has changed over the years. “Each RM manually matched the tests for their clients’ bids,” Bix recalls.
Each month, a 30- to 40-page IBM computer printout sales report was sent through the mail, which listed each of the RM’s accounts alphabetically and detailed the monthly year-over-year sales figures.
Some of Bix’s greatest memories occurred with fellow sales staff at the summer meetings. “Working remotely can feel like a ship without a port,” Bix says. “These summer meetings began to make us feel like part of a family.”
Working through Change
With nearly 30 years of service to our organization, Bix has survived massive changes in the industry, including group health insurance in the 1980s, the advent of the hospitalist program in client hospitals, the “dot-com bubble burst” in the early 2000s, the passage of the ACA in 2009, and the massive health care merger and acquisition wave within the last few years. She has been able to use these milestones in health care by telling stories to our clients that advance our mission in diagnostics to treat patients versus simply selling a hospital our tests.
Dustin Bilton, MML Regional Director of Sales, has had the privilege to support Kate Bix for the last 14 months—a rather brief period amidst her extraordinary tenure at MML. “Kate’s profound understanding of laboratory medicine has helped foster intimate, long-standing relationships with her clients across the state of Minnesota and beyond,” says Bilton. “The sheer amount of knowledge and experience that she possesses will be felt with her departure from MML in her retirement.”
About Kate Lynch Bix
Although Kate Lynch Bix has been in the health care field since 1975, she didn’t begin her career with Mayo Clinic until January 4, 1988. Her work history includes the VA Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota; working the graveyard shift at a small regional laboratory at North Central Laboratories; lab manager in an OB-GYN practice; and ultimately, working at Seragen (an R&D therapeutic products company) where she started to earn her sales accolades.
Bix says that being offered a sales position at Mayo Medical Laboratories was “a dream come true,” and she has worked hard over the last three decades to keep that dream alive. Some of the awards she has attained at MML include:
In retirement, Bix will return to her love of art and travel. She will spend quality time with family, which includes her mother Dolly, husband Jerry, daughter and son-in-law Kelsey and Jacy, daughter Erin, and two grandchildren Sam and Lucy. She says she will never forget the wonderful people who meant so much to her all these many years.
Goodbye from Kate
Kate leaves us with this, “Through the years, I made a point of getting to know many of you personally, often referring to myself as ‘Kate the Pest.’ The mutual respect in a job well-done has been reward enough for me. I will miss you and our clients very much. It has been an honor and a joy to represent DLMP and all the hard, dedicated work you do every day for the patients who have come to rely on Mayo Clinic. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the family.”