ISO 13485:2016

Stacie Depner: Creatively Driven

Stacie Depner: Creatively Driven

Stacie Depner, a calm and colorful woman working in mechanical engineering consulting, has a pleasant smile and a gentle laugh and is one of those multi-faceted people that can surprise you. Stacie has a unique quality of being able to straddle both the world of mechanical engineering and the visual arts. A serious and capable maker of things, one who can get her arms greasy with car oil and build a 1930 Model A Roadster from the ground up, can just as easily don makeup and a 60’s outfit to be the star of her own 1960’s styled Barbarella photoshoot.

“When did you first get into cars?” I ask, looking at photos of her and her Roadster at the car show, Krome and Kandy, that she helped run years ago.

Stacie tells me her dad brought her to car shows as a kid, and when she began driving herself around, she’d stop and check out any she’d see. “When I moved to Minneapolis for college, there was this place called Porky’s. It was an old drive in, and all these old cars would come up off of the highway past my house going to Porky’s.” She started asking around and found out one of the biggest car show in the nation, Back to the 50s happened right there at the fairgrounds. “I’ve been going from 1996 or so, until I moved out here.”

Not limited to just attending the shows, Stacie participates with a beautiful 1930’s, Model A Roadster. “I’ve had the roadster out to a number of shows here” she tells me, as she describes how she rebuilt it.

“The one that I built was just a body on a chassis. There were no fenders, no drive train. Just a body, rusty floors. The body is from 1930, the chassis is 1932; it’s much stronger and beefier, because they would put bigger engines in back then.” Stacie describes the work she’s put into her Roadster, an artist describing her work in the car-enthusiast lingo. The frame rails were “Z’d and C’d”, and she added six carburetors. Her reason? “It just looks good!” she laughs.

Of course, the heart of an artist would consider not just how it works, but how it looks. Her passion and flair for function and form are evident in her work, her appearance, and her hobbies. Next to pictures of her roadster are photos that look like they’re taken straight from a 1960’s B-movie.

“I call that my Barbarella shoot. We did that in Florida.” She did hair, makeup, and lighting, and just had friends help out a bit with the shoot. I laugh and say she looks just like Jane Fonda. She could, indeed, be a model. She shows me yet another photo of her creative pursuits, a few motorcycles that have been pinstriped in the style of Peter Max and, finally, a car owned by Drew Carey that is completely covered in her artwork.

“I just always need to be creating things…” she says, and she certainly keeps herself busy with art and creation in any way she can.

As a kid, her passion for making things and figuring out how things worked made it harder to relate to others her age. She lived out in the country in Wisconsin before moving to Minneapolis, and finally to California. She had room to roam, and was a tomboy that played sports, and was “dirty and fearless”. She understood physics at a young age, and was great at math and science. Understandably, she wasn’t your typical young girl.

At a young age, she excelled enough at math and science that she was sent to Engineering Camp. “I really wanted to be a hairstylist” she laughs, explaining that her plan was to travel the world and do hair for big productions. “My mother wasn’t having it.” She wasn’t enamored with engineering, then; her true passion was chemistry. In college, she’d decided her focus would be in chemistry and plant biology; she had a new plan to work for Aveda creating products. Then, at an unlikely moment, she had an epiphany.

“At pizzahut, where I was working, my boyfriend at the time was sitting there making and airplane out of pizzahut cardboard boxes. He wanted to make a propeller that worked, and couldn’t figure it out.” She watched him struggle and had to hold her tongue; she had all these ideas in her head how to make it work and improve upon it, but knew that he didn’t want her help.  “Oh my god,” she’d thought, “why is this driving me crazy right now?” Then she realized she had the mind of someone who not only wanted to make new things, but solve problems and improve upon ideas. She went home that day and changed her major to mechanical engineering.

Over a decade later, Stacie found Nectar Product Development.

“I’m an artist at heart and I use the design thinking methodologies in my work solving strategic business problems.” NectarPD allowed her to both engineer and design, keeping her need to be creative sated. Plus, she appreciated the culture the company offered; one that allowed different personalities to express themselves, unlike places she’d worked before that were more conservative and formal. “(Formal dress and the corporate culture) truly does stunt your creativity. Being in a place like Nectar where we encourage authenticity… It’s more expressive and comfortable.”

In human centered design, it’s important to have empathy for the client and the user. Stacie finds that there are times she gets stressed, or creatively stuck. To solve her problems, she either writes them down to organize her thoughts, or seeks guidance and wisdom from those she trusts most. She’s learned not to take on the emotions of others, but to let them go. She resolves to “take a moment” and practices, as she puts it, “just being in the present and accepting where I’m at”. After all, she has important work to do, and her purpose is not only to create, but to create positive impact.

At times, she needs to push the limitation of people’s minds. “Sometimes people can get negative throughout the design process”. She calmly helps them understand their way out of the problem.

“Stop and think about it.” she’ll say. “What needs to change in order for this to work?” Then she guides the team in the direction of thinking beyond the problem.

An ethical citizen of the world, she has both concern and hope for humanity. The excessive use of disposable items rather than reusables, increased pollution and waste, and products that harm the body or skin are issues that concern her. However, she has seen problems like these get addressed, then be forgotten, then remembered and addressed again.

“I really believe that humanity, when put in a rough enough situation, will turn things around. I think we go through cycles, and people forget easily. They start to find convenience in everyday life and it’s hard to let that go. But when the problem starts to get bad enough that it effects them, they will start to change.”

As Ms. Depner departs the room to engage with a teammate, I see her flash a smile and begin to go over one of the products they’re developing. The tension in the room fades as she talks, and the team comes together; focused, positive and collaborating on greater design. 

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Nectar is an award-winning design & engineering consultancy with a specialization in medical device development. We are proudly 13485 certified, we adhere to the highest industry standards. Nectar has been an industry leader in Southern California for over 25 years. Our proven user-centered design process has facilitated the successful launch of hundreds of products in the market.
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We are an ISO 13485-certified design and engineering firm based in Southern California, specializing in the development of cutting-edge medical devices.

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Darren Saravis


Darren is an accomplished, dynamic leader who founded Nectar, X-Naut, and BreathDirect. He is committed to improving the world through the synthesis of technology, science, and art. Under Darren’s leadership, Nectar is leveraging the latest advances in cutting-edge technology to transform medical device development and design. As part of his

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Steven Wells Ph.D.

Director of Operations

Dr. Steve Wells holds a critical role in steering Nectar’s operations and defining its strategic direction. His impactful leadership has established a clear course for the company’s success. He has revitalized the company with a passion for maximizing impact through expert resource utilization since taking the helm in 2020. Steve has boosted Nectar’s portfolio, streamlined processes, and reinvigorated its innovation agenda, all with the goal of developing life-saving and impactful products. His background in senior leadership roles at Georg Fischer and his people-focused, results-driven leadership style make him an invaluable asset to our team. Steve’s extensive knowledge in chemistry, biocompatibility, and biology only adds to his value as a team member.

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Nellie Roque

Director of Finance and Accounting

Nellie Roque is a seasoned professional with over 17 years of experience in the fields of accounting, human resources, and payroll. She has a wide range of experience, having worked in industries such as manufacturing, software, and non-profit organizations. Nellie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting, demonstrating her strong foundation in financial management and human resource practices. Throughout her career, Nellie has gained extensive knowledge and expertise in these areas, making her a valuable asset to any organization.
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John Duval

Principal Engineer

John is a true asset to Nectar, having been a founding member and instrumental in shaping the company’s portfolio and establishing its reputation for engineering excellence. With over 30 patents and numerous design awards to his name, John is a master of product architecture and subsystem integration, as well as design for manufacture, mechanisms, and root cause analysis. His passion for creating simple and holistic solutions that take into account a wide range of variables is evident in his work and has made him a valuable member of the Nectar team.
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Aaron Gifford

Principal Engineer

With a wealth of experience as a medical device developer, Aaron is a valuable addition to the Nectar team. His expertise in transferring medical devices and IVD instruments to production is unmatched, and his 25 years of professional engineering experience speaks to his expertise. At Nectar, Aaron plays a crucial role in ensuring regulatory compliance throughout product development and manages projects with skill and precision. His recent leadership in the development of the critical care Covid EUA BDR-19™ ventilator is a testament to his abilities, and his 13 patents in the medical device space further highlight his contributions to the field.
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Larry Larson

Director of Hardware and Firmware Engineering 

Larry Larson is a highly experienced engineering professional who has served as Nectar’s Director of Engineering for several years. He has extensive experience in leading, overseeing, and managing the design and development of innovative products, and has been involved in 70 unique product design cycles to date. With a deep understanding of highly regulated industries such as medical and aerospace devices, Larry has been instrumental in bringing cutting-edge technologies to market and delivering solutions that meet the needs of his clients. He has a passion for engineering and is dedicated to advancing the field by delivering products that are safe, effective, and of the highest quality.
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Adam Marten

Senior Mechanical Engineer

Adam Marten has worked in the aerospace and consumer products industries since 2006 with lead engineering experience in conceptual design, product development, analysis and performance qualification testing. Adam has experience leading a range of technical projects, including multiple structural analyses for military and aerospace applications. He has also worked directly with engineering teams to develop medical devices and laboratory instrumentation.

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James Wilkin

Industrial Design Manager

James is a seasoned professional with over seven years of experience at Nectar, where he brings his expertise in industrial design, user interface, and user experience to the table. With a background in the highly competitive automotive industry, working for heavyweights like Daimler and Tesla, James is a true asset to the Nectar team. He is responsible for ensuring that the company adheres to user-centered design best practices, and he works closely with clients and partners on crucial human factors strategies for FDA submissions and the overall usability engineering process. James’ achievements in this field speak to his exceptional skills and dedication to the work he does.
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Rejsa Kuci

Business Development Coordinator

Rejsa is a dynamic force in driving sales and acquiring new projects at Nectar, where she excels in seamlessly aligning the Sales and Operations teams. Holding a prestigious double degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Management and Multimedia, Rejsa brings a wealth of experience to her role as a Project Manager, Digital Marketing Strategist, and Creative Lead. With over four years of expertise in the digital world, Rejsa is not only highly skilled but also enthusiastic about following the ISO 13485 path to ensure successful project completion. Her ability to effectively bridge the gap between Sales and Operations, combined with her passion for driving projects forward, makes her an invaluable asset to the Nectar team.
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Belen Quintero

Associate Project Manager

Belen is a project manager at Nectar who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role. With a strong background in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of California, Riverside, she has honed her skills in a variety of industries including healthcare ,education, food manufacturing, and engineering. Belen’ success as a project manager is due in large part to her ability to align projects with business goals, clearly define project needs, lead cross-functional teams, and effectively communicate results to stakeholders. With her proven track record of success, Belen is a valuable asset to the Nectar team and a key player in driving the company’s projects forward.
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Erjon Ameti

Mechatronics Engineer

Erjon Ameti is a highly knowledgeable Mechatronics Engineer with a wealth of experience in both academic settings and startup environments. With a strong background in electronics, robotics, and 3D modeling, he possesses a unique combination of skills that allow him to excel in the fields of automation systems and mechatronics. Over the past five years, Erjon has honed his expertise in product development and industrial automation, emerging as a leading authority in his field. Currently, Erjon works at Nectar as a hardware engineer, where he is responsible for documentation, CAD design, and electronics in general. He has been involved in the entire process of Nectar engineering, bringing his expertise and experience to the forefront of the company’s success.
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Redon Berisha

Electronics Engineer

Redon is a highly skilled engineer with a passion for technology and innovation. He has a background in mechatronics, which has given him a strong foundation in electronics, including electronic design, PCB design, and cable design. Redon excels in the critical components of the design process, including documentation for assemblies, testing, debugging, and ensuring each project is completed to the highest standard. At Nectar, he plays a crucial role in the creation of cutting-edge technology, bringing his unique vision to life and making him a valuable member of the team. With his technical expertise and creative vision, Redon is a leader in the field of electronic design.
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Kerry Eiss

Clinical Expert - RN, BSN, CLNC

With over two decades of experience in healthcare innovation, Kerry has been instrumental in transforming patient care and improving patient outcomes across the globe. Her extensive knowledge and expertise in the cardiovascular and cardiothoracic operating room, as well as her experience in emergency medicine, geriatrics, pediatric psychiatry, and main OR, make her a versatile and valuable member of the team. From small hospitals to large teaching institutions, Kerry’s 20 years of experience with patient documentation, including the use of EPIC, Cerner, and Meditech electronic charting systems, have positioned her as a leader in her field. Her recent involvement in helping transition the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center’s Cardiac Surgery program from paper charting to electronic documentation further underscores her commitment to advancing the healthcare industry.

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Flaka Brahimi

Marketing Manager

Flaka, a highly skilled professional with a background in Architecture and Spatial Planning from the University of Business and Technology in Pristina, holds a dual role at Nectar as both the Marketing Project Manager and a valuable member of the Business Development team. In her role as Marketing Project Manager, she is responsible for overseeing the development and execution of marketing strategies and as a member of the Business Development team, she actively contributes to the growth of the company by assisting in the creation of impactful marketing tactics. With her diverse background and expertise, Flaka plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of Nectar’s projects.
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Brayton Hammerli

User Experience Designer

Brayton is a multi-disciplinary designer with a A.A in Studio Arts and a B.S in Industrial Design from California State University Long Beach. As a user experience designer, Brayton specializes in usability evaluations, user research, feedback studies, GUI design, mobile app design, human factors evaluations, and formative studies. In his free time, Brayton enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking as well as other creative pursuits. He approaches problems with a solution-focused mindset and enjoys exploring ideas. 
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Stephanie Rodriguez

Accounting Coordinator

Stephanie Rodriguez is a highly experienced administrative professional with over 10 years of expertise across a diverse range of industries, including contract manufacturing, financial and wealth management, and the medical field. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities from Northern Arizona University. As a valued member of the Nectar team, Stephanie plays an integral role in supporting the engineering teams by acquiring materials and parts for the prototype phase of our clients’ projects. She also assists the Director of Accounting by issuing purchase orders and provides project managers with accurate data to effectively manage and track budgets for each stage of the statement of work. Stephanie’s knowledge and skills, combined with her dedication and drive, make her an asset to Nectar and a key player in ensuring the successful completion of our projects.
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Toska Ukaj

Scientific Content Writer

Toska Ukaj is a gifted writer who brings a wealth of expertise and passion to Nectar. With a background in medical science and years of experience producing high-quality scientific and medical publications, Toska’s writing skills are unparalleled. She boasts an excellent educational record, advanced interpersonal skills, and a deep passion for healthcare. As Nectar’s writer, Toska consistently produces clear, concise pieces that can be easily understood by the public and truly captures the essence of Nectar’s mission. With her exceptional writing abilities and commitment to healthcare, Toska is an invaluable asset to the Nectar team.
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Sean Wells

Mechanical R&D Technician

Sean plays a critical role at Nectar. He has a wide range of skills that help keep the company and equipment running. His background in machine and building maintenance means he has skilled hands ready for anything. Sean runs our lab equipment including 3D printers and a laser cutter. He also helps with complex project builds, assemblies, and testing.
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Jonathan Cantera

Quality Manager

Jonathan at his core is a Human Factors Engineer with his M.S. in Human Factors and Minor in Sociology from California State University of Long Beach. At Nectar, Jonathan is responsible for managing and maintaining the company’s ISO 13485 Quality Management System keeping in compliance with US and international regulations for product development. Jonathan’s role ensures each department is in compliance every step of the design process, making him a critical Nectar team member. Jonathan’s Human Factors background also allows him to aid in user research, feedback sessions, usability evaluations, and formative studies such as risks assessments. When he’s not in the office, Jonathan enjoys film photography, and reading.
Vessa Hyseni Purchasing Manager

Vesa Hyseni

Purchasing Manager

Vesa is a skilled Purchasing Manager with a strong focus on procurement strategies and vendor management. With a track record of successfully leading procurement teams, Vesa excels in optimizing procurement processes, consistently striking a balance between quality assurance and cost-effectiveness. Her ability to identify cost-saving opportunities and manage supplier relationships effectively makes her an indispensable asset to Nectar.
Uran Cabra Engineer

Uran Çabra

Software Engineer

Uran Çabra, with a background in Mechatronic Systems Engineering, has been working on Embedded Systems, specifically on IoT product development. His responsibilities include firmware development and electronics design and testing. He holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Autonomous Mobile Robotics.
Sarah Clark UX UI Designer

Sarah Clark

Industrial Designer

Sarah has a background in fine art & graphic design with a B.S in Industrial Design from California State University Long Beach. As a user experience designer her specialties include: keen aesthetics, creative problem solving, a detail oriented approach to research, and improving user journeys within complex experiences.