Alumna advancing ventilator production plans

Congratulations to 2019 Distinguished Alumna Elizabeth Lewis-Gray for her work in helping to advance ventilator production plans during the COVID-19 crisis.

Elizabeth, Co-founder and CEO of Gekko Systems, and her husband Sandy have produced state-of-the-art mining equipment for 44 countries since establishing their business in 1996.

Now, that same technology, with a few upgrades, sees them in the early stages of design, prototype and manufacture of much needed invasive ventilators to help ease the burden on our healthcare system and save countless lives

The project came about after Michael Poulton, the CEO of the Committee of Ballarat, and 2019 Alumnus of the Year, turned to Gekko with an unusual and urgent request.

Heading the Committee which is responsible for guiding and progressing projects and programs that benefit the city and region, Poulton had heard local hospitals were worried that as a regional city, Ballarat might miss out on the opportunity to procure ventilators, and that even if they managed to buy some units, it might not be enough for their needs.

The scratch-built piece of essential hospital equipment, was then designed by Gekko co-founder Sandy Gray in his shed near Ballarat in just days, and has the potential to save lives during the current pandemic crisis and well beyond.

Ms Lewis-Gray said the next steps would be sourcing components and manufacturing lines, then the design will be submitted to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The Victorian Government has matched funding raised by the Ballarat community to the value of $200,000 to develop the ‘GeVentor’ design through to manufacturing readiness.

It has been a community effort with the Committee for Ballarat, Runway Ballarat (Accelerator and 3D part printing), Ballarat Innovation Research Collaboration for Health, Premier Strategy, Buninyong Community Bank and many other businesses assisting Gekko to accelerate its efforts to deliver a rapid and viable ventilator. A pledge page for investors or group donations has been set up through Gekko's website.

We’re proud of our graduates assisting our country during these challenging times. We’re all in this together.