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About Bessel

Our origin

by Chris Danek

Bessel's roots are in product lifecycle support for medical devices and diagnostic products. With a foundation of more than 20 years of experience designing and developing medical devices, Chris Danek and Bessel have provided full-service support for over 5 years to diverse organizations ranging from startup companies to Fortune 50. We bring innovation throughout the product lifecycle—from a clean sheet of paper through commercial release. And we're committed to delivering results that fuel breakthroughs that scale, for startups, for teams, and for their projects. 

Mentoring startup teams reminded me of my love of teaching. It was natural to step from putting the patient first as a medical device developer to putting the student first as a teacher. The core of the Bessel Origin program stems from my work helping students transform into excellent team members ready for the workforce.

My co-founder, Carolyn Danek, inspired the start of Bessel. Trained as an architect, Carolyn is professionally versed in human centered design. Her deep-rooted empathy sparked the creation of Bessel. I'm fortunate to be her co-founder. 

We saw the broad applicability of the Bessel Origin program and its mindsets, methods, and discipline to train the next generation of innovative thinkers and high-performance team members. Now we guide startups with the Powered by Bessel intensive accelerator program, shape teams through the Bessel Origin learning laboratory, and deliver critical development projects with Bessel Rapid Innovation.


We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and to STEM outreach.

Our program emphasizes team trust and caring about each other, and inclusive work where ”everyone has a voice.” We do this because this develops the highest-performing teams. This culture also happens to be ideal for attracting, retaining, and growing a diverse workforce.


We also observe that results in our programs are more related to effort, intention, and persistence than to individual abilities or advantages. For these reasons, we devote significant resources to provide sponsorship and need-based financial support to deserving program participants. In addition, we continue to make direct contributions of time and resources to the community at large in pursuit of Purpose-Driven Impact.


Purpose-Driven Impact

Bessel focuses our efforts on projects where we can deliver 10x or greater return for our clients and key stakeholders, in for-profit and non-profit domains. We deliver rapid innovation projects, the Bessel Origin program, and help our partners connect and grow through strategic partnerships.

Our Bessel Origin Team
We share a passion to help people & teams grow and succeed
Chris Danek photo

Chris Danek, PHD, MBA

Chris is an entrepreneur and teacher, experienced at building and leading teams to develop innovative solutions. He's proud to have led the development of two clinically and commercially successful medical technologies. Design thinking and agile development are in his DNA. Chris developed the Bessel Origin program, and refined it over four academic years in the university setting.

“Chris blends strategic vision with excellent leadership skills — under his guidance the team delivered a clinically sound product, poised for commercial success. He is well versed in capital-efficient value creation."

Tony Chou, MD, General Partner, The Vertical Group and member of the Board of Directors of AtheroMed, Inc. (Acquired by Phillips Volcano)


Andres Gutierrez Hernandez, MSME
R&D Engineer

Andres is a mechanical engineer who loves helping people turn an idea or a sketch into a prototype they can hold in their hand. He is Bessel’s resident additive manufacturing expert, and you can find him testing new materials and designs with state-of-the-art 3D printing technology. As a medical device designer and developer, he combines his experience in digital engineering (CAD and simulation tools) with fabrication knowledge for prototyping and design for manufacturing. He made an immediate impact on a recent project by drawing on his supply chain expertise to source electronic components for a handheld surgical instrument, solving a 48-week backorder challenge. 


Prior to joining Bessel, Andres designed cables and wire performance products for OEM customers at BizLink Group, supporting development from design to sourcing to production. Andres has a BS and MS in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a graduate certificate in 3D Engineering and Additive Manufacturing from the UTEP Keck Center. While at UTEP he was a graduate fellow in the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce. Andres is from Juarez, Mexico, and enjoys traveling and watching soccer with friends.

Shauna Barker of Launch Finance photo.

Shauna Barker, MBA, CPA

Shauna is a highly regarded finance professional and has served as CFO at companies of varied sizes, stages, and domains. She is an experienced advisor and strategic business partner to startup CEOs through her financial consulting firm. Shauna is a great mentor and entrepreneur. Shauna's clients and teammates value her friendly approach to direct feedback. 

Nikki Blacksmith photo.

Nikki Blacksmith, PHD

Dr. Nikki Blacksmith is a scientist-practitioner of industrial-organizational psychology. She is Co-Founder and CEO of Blackhawke Behaviour Science, the world's leading expert in predicting and enhancing entrepreneur and startup team performance. Widely quoted in the news media and with over 60 published scientific papers, Nikki is known for her expertise and research on cognitive bias in decision-making, personality, intelligence, and organizational culture. She currently serves as Committee Chair for the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology, is a Senior Fellow at the U.S. Army Research Institute, and an adjunct faculty member at American University.  

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