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Accent, Winter 2024, Volume 52, No. 2 - View past issues

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Problem-Solving Alumnus Launches Surgical Software Company

Tim Donnelly ’12 is a problem-solver. He has used that talent from his time as a member of the United States Marine Corps Special Forces to his current position as CEO of ORtelligence, a start-up company that creates cutting-edge surgical software.

A local kid, Donnelly grew up in Delaware County, played baseball in Aston-Middletown Little League, and went to Malven Prep. His mother and one sister are Neumann alumnae.

After high school, he completed one year of college and joined the Marine Corps for four years of active duty in Special Forces. “I tried to take the most challenging path I could find,” he recalls.

He served from 1996 to 2000 in the Pacific Theater as a Special Forces Operator charged with reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. “I was a scout sniper,” he says, cutting through the military jargon with blunt precision. “Our function was to find the bad guys, identify them, and in many cases, we were trained to reduce the target.”

After the Marine Corps, “it took a lot of time to adjust to normal civilian life,” he admits. “I was trained to reduce people, and there is no practical application for that on the civilian side.”

He jumped into the workforce in sales because of his gregarious personality, but there wasn’t the opportunity for real advancement without a college degree. One day, a friend posed a challenge that served as a catalyst for the next chapter in Tim’s life: “If you’re going to be 35 someday,” the friend said, “you have a choice. You can be 35 with a degree or without one.”

Donnelly took some prerequisite courses at Delaware County Community College and then enrolled at Neumann.

“I didn’t think I was equipped for college, but Jilian Donnelly (executive director of adult and continuing education, no relation to Tim) broke down that barrier. She was a true advocate for me from the very start. Jilian took all of the work I had done, the prior coursework, the military experience, and turned that into credits. I would not be sitting here if it weren’t for her.”

Tim Donnelly ’12, CEO of ORtelligence

He graduated in August of 2013 and had a job by November — in orthopedic trauma, a demanding specialty. Soon his problem-solving instincts kicked in once again.

“As I was doing the job, I worked in a lot of major hospitals in Philly, Delaware and New Jersey. The issues were uniform everywhere, and I started thinking about ways to improve the process. I believed that there was a way to fix the inefficiencies that I saw.”

In 2019, he started building software to optimize the surgical process by applying solutions that would enable current systems to accommodate technology.

As Donnelly explains it, “We digitize surgery and make it possible for surgery to be supported by a medical device representative from anywhere in the world. In March of 2020, during COVID, we launched the company because the technology could protect frontline people. Trauma was still occurring during the pandemic. People were still getting in car accidents. Older people were still falling and breaking hips. So non-elective surgery needed to go on.”

ORtelligence software, he says, aligns surgical teams with the right information, equipment, and support to deliver the best possible surgical care. His clients are hospitals and medical device companies.

“We’re a start-up. That’s a challenging journey and not for the faint of heart. It’s a new way of doing things, but we have four patents and we’re making progress.”

When he’s not working, he focuses on humanitarian work. He describes it as “a calling,” formed in him at a young age by his father to help those in need. His family runs clothing drives and makes meals to distribute to the homeless.

“I believe that God has put me on this earth to help others,” he says. “My software is designed to do that, and I want to use my success to achieve that same goal in other ways.”

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