South Dakota Partners: nearly 30 years of manufacturing excellence
The Company, originally known as Empi, was founded in 1977 by Donald Maurer as a distributor of TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) devices for pain management. At that time, the company was located in Minnesota. In 1987 the company moved its manufacturing to Clear Lake, SD.
Empi grew quickly throughout the 80s and 90s through acquisitions. Through collaborations with other companies and its own product development, the company offered several TENS and NMES (Neuromuscular stimulator) devices, orthotic devices, and a proprietary iontophoretic drug delivery system known as Dupel®.
Empi offered a full refurbishing and repair center for all devices manufactured or sold by the company.
The company’s growth and excellence in product development lead to their purchase in 1999 by an investment firm. In 2004, Encore Medical purchased Empi from the investment firm. Encore Medical was purchased by Blackstone Group and in 2007 completed mergers with four other companies, resulting in Empi, Inc. becoming a DJO company.
The Clear Lake site was instrumental to Empi’s success, providing full manufacturing, distribution, refurbishing, and repair services.
After DJO discontinued Empi operations in late 2015, the Clear Lake site was purchased by PPI, an Athens, GA-based company that accelerates innovation through partnerships. The site was incorporated as South Dakota Partners Inc. in early 2016 and continues to make DJO products that deliver pain relief, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and laser therapies.