BE Modern Man: Carmelo Montalvo
Medtech startup exec, NCAA football coach; 28; Chief Operating Officer, Forest Devices Inc.
As a startup exec, I’ve been working to better the outcomes of stroke patients worldwide. At Forest Devices, a Pittsburgh-based medical device startup, we have developed a device called Alpha Stroke that can detect strokes in the prehospital setting, enabling the correct and swift triaging of stroke patients. Due to this increased efficiency in the triage setting, we can get stroke victims to the appropriate level of care faster, reducing time to treatment, ultimately reducing the likelihood of disability due to stroke. Stroke is the most debilitating disease on earth and with our technology, we can change that fact. We are currently in clinical trials and look to launch commercially by Q2 2020.
At Forest Devices, I oversee companywide operations at both the strategic and tactical level, while also managing the human resources department. I also helped lead Forest Devices in competing in the annual RICE Business Plan Competition (RBPC) to win first place and over $600,000 in cash and prizes in 2017.
I am also a collegiate football coach with the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) football team, an NCAA Division III program. As the defensive line coach, I manage more than 15 student-athletes across three position groups, while also serving as the lead recruiting coach for those positions.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?
I am most proud of my family and the bond we share. Being a good husband to my wife, a good father to my daughter, a reliable brother to my siblings, and a good son to my parents are my greatest accomplishments.
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
My parents did all they could to provide for us. I had a great familial upbringing, however, we struggled financially at times. I remember days where the refrigerator was empty, and the lights were off. I remember seeing my parents grind, working many jobs to make ends meet. I used their example and the work ethic they instilled in me to get where I am today.
WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?
I have two. I am fortunate to have two loving fathers. My biological father taught me that my potential was limitless and that if I wanted it, I could achieve it. My step-father taught me to welcome hard work and challenge myself to always be better than I assumed I could be. Collectively, they taught me how to be a man in a world that wouldn’t be as kind as they were to me.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Three defining conversations in my life yielded advice I’ve leaned on for the last 20 years, including in my vocations as a startup exec and football coach:
– “Remember, it is better to push a pen rather than a mop.”
– “Strive to be three times better. No one will be able to deny you.”
– “Death and taxes are the only things you’re promised. You have to work for everything else you want.”
HOW ARE YOU PAYING IT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OTHER BLACK MALES?
I have volunteered at local high schools as a mentor. I have also been working with my fraternity, Phi Beta SIGMA Fraternity Inc. on several community initiatives targeted toward young black males.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?
I judge my manhood by my ability to provide for my family; by responding appropriately in times of adversity; and by being a man of conviction and reason.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
I love the uniqueness that my Afro Latino heritage has afforded me.
BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://www.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.