Medical manufacturer Sizewise, one of Ellis County's biggest employers, is being bought

Tim Hrenchir
Hays Daily News
Sizewise Manufacturing designs and builds specialty hospital bed frames in Hays. Here, the engineering and product development teams discuss siderail concepts for a new bed design.

One of Ellis County's largest employers is being bought.

The medical manufacturing company Sizewise, which employs about 160 people at sites in Ellis and Hays, is being sold to Minneapolis-based Agiliti in a deal valued at $230 million, the two companies announced in a joint news release last week.

"We take very seriously the fact that we are a major employer in western Kansas and we wish we had more detail to share at this stage," said Sizewise CEO Brian Frickey. "We expect to be able to offer more color after we close the transaction and begin the work of combining our companies."

The pending sale will be an all-cash stock purchase, with Agiliti planning to close on it during the fourth quarter of this year.

Serving obese people has been a key part of Sizewise's mission

Sizewise was founded in 1996, primarily to provide health care products to serve obese patients.

The company manufactures and delivers products that include specialty hospital beds and patient handling equipment, said Dan Vogt, its vice president of marketing.

Sizewise hospital bed frames are assembled one-by-one in the company's Hays factory. Sizewise's beds serve nurses and patients at hospitals and post-acute facilities across the United States and in several other countries.

Sizewise employs about 1,000 people at 70 branch, manufacturing and corporate locations nationwide. About 80 people work at its corporate headquarters at Lenexa in Johnson County, Vogt said.

Sizewise maintains corporate offices and a manufacturing facility at Ellis, where it builds specialty mattresses and air pumps and blowers for hospital and home care use, he said.

Customer service and manufacturing are the focus of the company's Hays location. Products built there include hospital beds and patient mobility items such as walkers, powered wheelchairs and commode chairs, Vogt said.

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Behavioral Health Bed is among the specialty products Sizewise Manufacturing builds in Hays. These beds and mattresses will end up in the company’s rental fleet or be purchased by a customer.

Agiliti features 'passionate equipment management experts'

Agiliti, which employs more than 3,000 people, provides medical equipment, management and service solutions.

"Agiliti is a company of 3,000-plus passionate equipment management experts who believe every interaction has the power to change a life," the company website says. "We’ve built a brand that’s dedicated to optimizing clinical outcomes while relentlessly improving economic outcomes for our customers."

Agiliti helps hospitals address compliance requirements and quality issues related to medical devices. The company, according to its website, provides supply chain teams  to control costs. They also offer a full range of clinical engineering services.

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Sizewise CEO: Possibilities are 'limitless'

Frickey said he sees the upcoming change as being an opportunity.

"Both companies are on a strong growth path, and we think together the possibilities are limitless," he said. "They do not have a manufacturing presence as we do, and they will now have access to our products and innovation."

The Agiliti team is much like Sizewise and its predecessor — Wheelchairs of Kansas — in that both are down to earth, enthusiastic about serving patients and customers and focused on growth and development for employees, Frickey said.

"Sizewise has spent the past 25 years engineering, manufacturing and selling products and service solutions that drive value for our healthcare partners," he said. "We’re pleased to put that history and experience to work for Agiliti as the combined company continues to be an invaluable source of equipment solutions for caregivers and patients alike."

The transaction also offers potential for future growth, Fricke said.

"For now, our employees across the nation are staying focused on the job in front of them," he said. "For our customers and for all our teams, it is business as usual."