Oct. 8, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. -
Once upon a time, Scott Turner put a lot of people on their back.
Now the former NC State wrestler and a 1988 national champion works for a company that’s trying to keep people off their back.
Based in Los Angeles, Turner has a big title and a big job - GE HealthCare Cardiovascular Ultrasound Zone General Manager-West. From that position he leads a $25 million operation and oversees a staff of 13 sales and clinical specialists.
What’s rewarding to Turner is the help his team provides. He talks fervently of the relatively new technology that enables doctors to perform heart valve replacement surgery using a catheter rather than the more invasive open-heart procedure.
“There’s a big difference on recovery time,” said Turner, noting that more of the population can endure the new, improved technique.
“Our goal is to make the next generation better...to make health care better and help people live longer. Coming from an athletic background health care was important to me in training and coaching.”
Before taking a position in the heart department, Turner held multiple other jobs with GE, which he joined 14 years ago.
Early on he was Sales and Marketing Manager in the plastics division, directing a $180 million business with 25 employees. But he jumped at the chance to move into health care and the cardiac division, where considerable research and development continues to unfold.
“It’s much more specialized...it’s a lot of fun,” said Turner, who applies lessons on his job that he learned from his wrestling days, notably discipline, keeping a sharp focus, and meticulous preparation.
During his professional career, Turner has traveled more than Gulliver, having flown about three million miles. Once his world wasn’t a lot bigger than a wrestling mat.
The son of a coach, he came to NC State from Pennsylvania and left an indelible mark on the Wolfpack program.
With wolfish tenacity and sound techniques, Turner won two ACC titles, earned two All-American awards, and capped his career by winning the 150-pound NCAA championship his senior season.
As a junior he finished third, losing in the semifinals. It was a loss that burned in his competitive heart, yet also re-fueled a flaming desire that helped him climb off the mat and ascend to his sport’s mountain top in 1988.
“The scar of losing my junior year made training easier,’’ he said. “In preparation it was not to take any match lightly, to make sure nobody even scores on me. That was the kind of focus.”
With that singular-minded mission, Turner surrendered just one point at the entire NCAA meet, won the title and was the first NC State grappler to capture Most Outstanding Wrestler honors at the nationals.
“He was an amazingly hard worker, so committed, did all the right things as far as training, was a team oriented guy,” said former Wolfpack coach Bob Guzzo. “He was a tough, tough kid who battled every day.”
Turner, who still ranks fourth on State’s career wins list with 94, gave Guzzo kudos for helping develop him into a champ.
“He was a great coach, very good technician, and very good at training people the right way,’’ Turner said of Guzzo, who produced Top-10 teams at State. “Also, from the mental aspect, he was able to prepare you well.”
This past weekend Turner had the chance to see his old coach and teammates at an annual wrestlers’ reunion and meet the new Wolfpack staff.
“I’m looking forward to having the program come back to the success we had under coach Guzzo,” he said.
While living nearly 3,000 miles from Raleigh, Turner stays in touch with teammates and tries to alternate making reunions at State and Clemson, where he coached and earned a masters degree.
GOING WEST AGAIN
After the Wolfpack weekend, Turner began wending his way back to Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, Yvonne, a Clemson grad, and 9-year old son Preston.
The sunny California climate suits Turner, who stays fit biking, swimming, lifting, and is just a few pounds over his 150 wrestling weight.
In addition to his health care work and extensive travel, he plans to start a youth wrestling program in southern California, where outdoor sports are more popular.
“It’s a great sport,’’ Turner said of wrestling. “Discipline is required like it in no other. There’s a lot of self motivation, self preservation. It builds great life skills.”
Life skills Turner uses in his profession and beyond.
A.J. Carr, GoPack.com