Radiology Imaging Solutions is announcing the retirement of the original co-owner, Robert A Barkema (Rob) on May 31st, 2020.
Rob worked as an x-ray technologist from 1975 until 1981. He was always mechanically inclined and worked on various equipment in the x-ray departments where he was employed
In 1981 he was hired by an x-ray service company operating out of Grand Rapids to do x-ray film processor service. While working for that company he met Randy at one of his customers’ facilities. Randy came to work with Rob at that company until it was forced to close.
In 1987 Rob and Randy formed Rapid Processor Service of West Michigan, Inc., doing processor service and sales. This new company filled a void left by the closing of two companies that had been doing business in this area. Most business people they knew said it would never work having two equal partners. That was in 1987.
They started selling and servicing x-ray equipment along with processors in 1991.
In 1997 the company changed their name to Radiology Imaging Solutions, Inc. The new name better described their overall focus.
Over the ensuing years Radiology Imaging Solutions transitioned from an analog film and consumables focus, to an equipment and digital imaging focus.
In 2004 Radiology Imaging Solutions, Inc. installed the very first private practice FUJI Medical CR unit east of California at one of our facilities located in Michigan. Until then only the major hospitals were using any type of digital imaging.
Of all the accomplishments that Radiology Imaging Solutions is known for, Rob is most proud that we have always run our company based on our Christian beliefs to the best of our ability. He also takes pride in the belief that patients who receive healthcare at one of our customers’ facilities are receiving better healthcare because of our expert service, sales and technical support that we provide. Rob is proud of how Radiology Imaging Solutions treats the people who work with us. We have many long term customers and employees. Our original employee who started with us in 1982, was with us until he retired in 2018.
One of the contributions that Rob is most personally proud of is our association with the ISSA Trust Foundation (ITF). ISSA Trust Foundation is a charitable foundation operating in Jamaica and owned by the same family that owns the Couples Resorts.The ISSA Trust Foundation is focused on providing better healthcare for the children of Jamaica.
The relationship with ISSA Trust Foundation and Radiology Imaging Solutions began when one of the hospitals, Port Maria Hospital, in Jamaica was having problems with their only x-ray machine. International Aide (now CURE), in Spring Lake, reached out to Rob to see if Radiology Imaging Solutions could help the ISSA Trust Foundation fix the x-ray system.
Radiology Imaging Solutions was able to diagnose the problem and get Port Maria Hospital a new component to repair it. It was then that Rob got a call from Diane Pollard, the CEO of the trust wanting to see if Radiology Imaging Solutions would come and install the new unit. An agreement to help was put into place, and Denis Janes, one of our service engineers, Rob and Rob’s wife Sandy went to Jamaica for the first time in November of 2012.
The install took one day less than they had planned. The group was asked to go to the regional hospital called St. Ann’s Bay Hospital to check on some broken incubators in the neo-natal ward. At that time the neo-natal department was as big as a large bedroom, and they were treating 13 babies.
Because of the broken incubators they had babies in newborn warming stations to try to keep their temperature up. Three babies in one, and four babies in another.
In 2014 one of our volunteer bio-med engineers from Traverse City was at St. Ann’s hospital working on a piece of equipment in the neo-natal. A set of twins was born prematurely. They both needed to be on ventilators for a short time until their lungs matured a little more. Unfortunately there was only one ventilator, so they could only save one of the twins.
Fast forward to 2020. St. Ann’s Hospital has a brand new pediatric and neo-natal ward, which was partially paid for by the ISSA Trust Foundation. They now have eight ventilators, and are able to take babies from other out-lying hospitals.
Rob is currently on the advisory board of the foundation in charge of training and helping the bio-med engineering personnel all over
ISSA Trust Foundation not only receives “donations” of medical equipment, but they also use monetary donations to purchaseneeded equipment.
The donated equipment is not turned over until the doctors, nurses, and techs are trained in the proper use of the equipment, and the Jamaican bio-med engineers are trained in the maintenance of the equipment.
Recent statistics show a 65% improvement in infant mortality rates since 2012.
Radiology Imaging Solutions and ISSA Trust Foundation are now involved in installing digital imaging equipment at many of the hospitals on the island. The conversion from x-ray film to digital medical imaging, greatly enhances the overall healthcare provided at these hospitals.
In retirement Rob will miss the day to day interaction with our employees and our customers.
Rob is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Sandy, daughter Marissa, son Branden, daughter-in-law Kim, and most
of all 3 year old Gwen Christine, and 5 month old Sloane Sandra. Rob is also asking that we pray for fantastic snowmobiling seasons for all of his retirement!
Rob is also most thankful for how the Lord has blessed us with our employees who have been so loyal over the years, and so many
of our customers who have become friends as well as customers.
Rob will be greatly missed, however we are excited and wish him all the best in this new chapter in his life! Thank you Rob for all
your dedicated years to Radiology Imaging Solutions!