Dream Job: Applications Engineer, Digital Medical Solutions
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After receiving his X-ray certification, Marty Pesce worked in a hospital for 10+ years as a chief technologist and was cross-trained in different modalities. He became an applications consultant in 2000 and transitioned to Carestream in 2007. When an opportunity arose to be an applications engineer, Marty moved his office base from Philadelphia to Rochester, NY, and shifted his focus from U.S. to Worldwide Operations.
Q: What made you decide to become a Radiologic Technologist?
To answer with a short response: my mom. When I was in college, I changed my major a lot. I went from art, to art history and then to physics and was still unsure about my decision. One summer I was home from college and my mom, an ER nurse at the local hospital, got me a job doing CAT scans. My hometown was in rural Pennsylvania so at that time the CAT scan would come in on a truck to the hospital. Pennsylvania was one of five states that had no requirements for licensure. I did this job for 6 months until the law changed which required technologists working for a private company to be registered, though technologists in the hospital still did not need to be. So, I went to get my X-ray Certification at Bradford Hospital School of Radiologic Technology. I had to go to school to keep my job rather than go to school to get a job. After my first year, I also worked a Baylor position as a technologist on the weekends at another hospital so I worked 16 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job?
A: Getting to travel all over the world to work with customers. I have been to 17 countries across Europe, Asia, and Central America. I haven’t gotten to see South America or Africa yet. My favorite trip has to be to Salt Lake City, Utah for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. I arrived two weeks before the games to train the staff in the Olympic Village and had the opportunity to see the opening ceremonies, and different events. As a former college athlete, it was a thrill to be so close to the games, the participants, and dignitaries that came through the facility. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
Q: Outside of work, how have you been involved in the profession?
A: I’ve been involved in State & National X-ray societies. I served two terms on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Society of Radiologic Technologists (PSRT). I recently attended the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) House of Delegates meeting in Florida as the PA Delegate. On behalf of the ASRT, I lobbied for the CARE (Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy) Bill which sought to protect patients by way of better education. In April I did a presentation to the Pennsylvania State Society about the history of radiology and how the things we did 100 years ago still influence what we do today. I dedicated the presentation to John (“Jack”) Cullinan. Jack was a former PSRT president, an author, and my predecessor. He was known as “Mr. X-ray” and made a big impact on the field of radiology as well as me personally. Jack passed away about a year and a half ago but his book still remains on my desk and I refer to it often.
Q: Tell us some stories relating to the history of X-ray imaging
A: When X-ray technology was new, people feared that X-rays could see through their clothing. As a result, there were companies that manufactured and sold lead lined underwear. An Assemblyman in New Jersey went so far as to enter legislation to make X-ray opera glasses illegal. The funny thing is that concerns over privacy haven’t changed. Just last year the TSA pulled out backscatter scanners from airports because they were too intrusive.
Another story, that pre-dates X-ray regulation, is a documented case about a man from Rochester, NY, that made his own X-ray machine. His wife was experiencing hip problems so he wrote to a prominent doctor in NYC. After 10 hours of trying to take a good X-ray image, he finally got one and sent that image to the doctor along with an inquiry on how to treat his wife’s burns.
Q: What last question…I heard that you like to dance?
A: Well, only when I am demoing products. One year at RSNA, before I did a product demo with our portable X-ray unit, our CEO said, “Marty, make this thing dance!” It took off from there and I made a full routine!