Highest tech honor goes to AirSep developer
AMHERST, N.Y. – Norman McCombs, senior vice president of research and development at AirSep, received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from the U.S. government, according to a press release from SUNY Buffalo, where McCombs is an alumnus. The award recognizes those “who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the nation’s technological workforce.” McCombs, who has been associated with AirSep since the company’s inception in 1986, helped develop the first oxygen concentrator to treat people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), according to the release. The original device, developed by McCombs in the 1960s after he figured out a new way to separate gases, weighed more than 200 pounds. Today, oxygen concentrators make up a $2 billion market, according to data from the Department of Commerce, insurance companies and medical equipment providers.