MEDITECH Partner LSS Data Systems Celebrates 25 Years of Success

Physician practice vendor and longtime MEDITECH partner LSS Data Systems marked its 25th year in business with a celebration for families, friends, and business partners on the grounds of its Minnetonka facility. The celebration featured a catered lunch and formal presentations, as well as rides and treats for the children of employees. The mayors of Minnetonka and Eden Prairie (the cities that are home to LSS’ two buidings) were present, along with honored guests from the company’s primary business partners MEDITECH and MEDITECH South Africa, several physician advisors, and a number of close friends and business associates.

Following the family-style outdoor activities — which included basketball, a caricature artist, pony rides, a petting zoo, and a Ferris Wheel — the approximately 300 attendees moved to an upper-level seating area for formal presentations.

In her opening remarks, LSS President and Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Petersen thanked the spouses, partners, children, and families of LSS staff for their contributions, recognizing the long hours and commitment required of staff in a rapidly growing company.

“I know that you have made sacrifices at times, and I thank you,” she said.

At one point during her remarks, Petersen asked the children and young people in the audience to come forward, demonstrating the importance of family to LSS and recognizing the commitment the company has to supporting its staff. She handed out gold George Washington dollar coins and told the dozens of children huddled around her that they should come back to her in five, ten or twenty years and redeem the coins for jobs.

LSS CEO and Chief Technology Officer Ken Carlson then provided a retrospective look at LSS, taking the audience back 25 years before the company’s founding, to 1957, before the integrated circuit was developed when only a dozen or so electronic computers existed. Jumping forward to 1982, the year both LSS and MEDITECH South Africa were founded, he recalled there were already over one million personal computers and the FCC had just authorized cell phone technology in the U.S. He also observed the amazing technology growth that brings us to the present day, with roughly a billion personal computers in the world (one for every seven people) and 120 million cell phones. He noted current technologies have even allowed us to decode the human genome and manipulate matter at the atomic level. “In the United States, the era of the electronic health record is just beginning," he said. "We’re in the right place, at the right time, with the right product, and with the best partner companies in the industry. For LSS and for all of us gathered here, the best is yet to come!”

Minnetonka Mayor Jan Callison congratulated LSS on its achievement by relating a story about President George W. Bush’s visit to Minnetonka in August, 2006. He spoke at the time of the importance of the move toward electronic medical records for our nation’s health care system. “Now I can say, ‘I know we’re doing it here in Minnetonka because of companies like LSS,’” said Callison.

Eden Prairie Mayor Philip Young thanked LSS for the company’s commitment to improving health care delivery around the world. “You’ve created something you can all be proud of, and I’m proud to have a company like LSS in Eden Prairie,” Mr. Young said.

MEDITECH President and Chief Operating Officer Howard Messing observed that any company reaching its 25th anniversary has achieved something impressive, but it’s even more remarkable for a husband-and-wife team to found and run a company so successfully. He also commented upon the strength of the partnership LSS and MEDITECH have, and the benefits both companies derive from it.

Messing presented a gift from MEDITECH — a beautiful Lakeside metal bench with a grass and leaf cut pattern, evocative of the company’s founding near Lake Superior.

John Tresling, CEO and Managing Director of MEDITECH South Africa, recounted Stephanie Petersen’s early visit to his country and the immediate bond they formed. He thanked LSS for its commitment to providing software and services to organizations focused on addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa and on the continent generally. During his moving remarks, he presented Ken and Stephanie with a hand-crafted African mother-and-child statue.

Craft Dryer, close family friend and outside legal counsel to LSS, described how Ken and Stephanie approached him for legal advice regarding starting a business in “one of the worst business climates in recent history.” Employing a sailing metaphor suggestive of LSS’ founding as “Lake Superior Software,” Mr. Dryer said Ken and Stephanie have been adept at making course corrections when the environment changed.

“They’ve made it look easy, as if it’s been smooth sailing for 25 years,” said Dryer. “But they’ve made many timely adjustments to stay on course.”

Near the end of the presentations, a address was delivered by Laura and Anna Carlson, Ken and Stephanie’s daughters, who were not on the official program. They related their amazement at the company’s growth and their parents' accomplishments, telling the staff on hand that they know their parents consider them all part of the extended LSS family — in the same way MEDITECH considers LSS part of theirs. To honor their parents' achievements they presented an etched crystal gift celebrating “25 Years of Improving Healthcare Around the Globe.” They also made donations in their parents’ names to two charities: A Cape Town, South Africa organization called Giving Hope to the Children of South Africa; and, closer to home, the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

Concluding the ceremony, LSS Vice Presidents Bill Schmidt and Greg Osmonson presented a commemorative plaque from the company’s senior leadership team. The hand-made bronze plaque will be affixed to a granite slab from northern Minnesota, “symbolizing both our founding in the north country, but also our relocation to the Twin Cities.”

After the ceremony, LSS staff were presented with individual gifts compliments of MEDITECH, including backpacks, umbrellas, and stuffed animals for the children. Cake was served and families, friends, and guests lingered as the sun began to set on a beautiful summer day.

LSS would like to thank all of its special guests for their warm words and thoughtful gifts.


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