Frank Pompei is founder and CEO of Exergen, a maker of scanners, thermometers, and sensors. He credits his MIT education with equipping him to build a successful company, mindful of the possibilities created by his financial aid package. “My parents could never have sent me to MIT on their wages as factory workers,” he says.
Thriving at MIT and beyond. “I remember the academics as challenging but always interesting and, in some ways, fun,” says Frank. “Inventing came easily for me, and MIT prepared me well.” Today, he holds more than 70 US patents, and Exergen’s signature temporal thermometer is powered by an infrared scanner he developed and patented after years of experimentation and study. “With 5,000 years of history touching the forehead as a rough gauge of body temperature,” he explains, “many attempted and failed to make a medically accurate device to measure body temperature there.” When the pandemic led to a surge in demand for accurate, noninvasive thermometers, Exergen increased manufacturing capacity more than fourfold in 2020.
Giving back through scholarships. In honor of Frank’s 50th MIT reunion in 2020, he and his wife, Marybeth, Exergen’s senior vice president and chief clinical scientist, established the Drs. Francesco (1970) and Marybeth Pompei Scholarship Fund. Recalling that his parents brought him to the United States in 1952 from a region of Italy that had been devastated by World War II, Frank says his success “fulfilled the vision of my immigrant family.” He adds, “Our scholarship fund is directed to MIT students who immigrated as I did to seek the promise of America.”
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