Eden Prairie, Minnesota (May 10, 2022) – Starkey Owner and Chairman, Bill Austin, has been named
this year’s Career Achievement honoree in Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s fifth annual
Minnesota Manufacturing Awards. This award honors industry leaders that drive our region’s economy
and grow their businesses through innovation and strategic evolution. This year, Bill Austin was selected
as the one Career Achievement honoree for his professional successes and contributions to the Twin
“Bill Austin is a role model for anyone who believes in working for the greater good and leading with
your heart. His innovation and leadership have enabled Starkey to grow into the largest American-
owned hearing aid company in the world,” said Starkey President and CEO Brandon Sawalich. “For over
60 years, he has given the gift of hearing, connecting millions of people around the world to their lives
and loved ones, and stayed true to his belief that the bottom line of business is people. His hard work
and dedication to not only our Starkey family, but also to the patients we serve, is unparalleled.”
In 1961, 19-year-old Bill Austin began working in his uncle’s hearing aid repair shop with the hope of one
day making an impact on the world. A few years later, he bought Starkey Laboratories for $13,000. Fast
forward six decades and the company now has more than 5,000 employees, operates 29 facilities, and
does business in more than 100 markets worldwide. Throughout the course of his career, Bill Austin
has helped give the gift of hearing to over two million people worldwide. In the United States alone, he
has provided hearing aids to tens of thousands of individuals, including five Presidents, two Popes,
countless legislators, and celebrities.
The global hearing health industry views Bill Austin as a thought leader who has revolutionized the
purpose of hearing aids, solidifying Minnesota as a hub of MedTech innovation. His vision of creating a
hearing aid that could not only help people hear better, but also live better, is now a reality with Evolv AI
– Starkey’s newest full line of hearing aids that not only emphasizes hearing’s impact on overall health
and wellness but creates an effortless user experience.
“As I reflect on my career over the past six decades, I am humbled by all we have been able to
accomplish,” said Austin. “I have always had one goal – so the world may hear – and it has been my
great honor to work with so many individuals and teams over the years who cared and wanted to be a
part of it. Alone, we can’t do much. Together we can change the world!”
To learn more about Starkey, please click here.
Starkey is a privately held, global hearing technology company headquartered in Eden Prairie,
Minnesota. Owned by Bill Austin since 1967, Starkey is known for its innovative design, development
and distribution of comprehensive digital hearing systems. Led today by President and CEO Brandon
Sawalich, Starkey has more than 5,000 employees, operates 29 facilities and does business in more than
100 markets worldwide. Learn more at starkey.com.