John Friel

John Friel takes lots of pains to make sure that the rest of the employees at Medrad get their share of the credit for the success of the medical products company.

That alone may be a good enough reason to pay attention to Friel and marvel at the firm’s accomplishments.

As little as Friel likes to call attention to himself, however, others continue to find his leadership — and his company — outstanding. The Pittsburgh Technology Council selected him last fall as its CEO of the Year.

Medrad won a healthy workplace award from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and recognition as the best large company to work for in Allegheny County last year from the Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania awards program.

But Friel would rather point out how nearly all of Medrad’s employees volunteer for a Day of Caring each fall to paint senior citizens centers, visit daycare facilities and refurbish playgrounds.

Friel says he holds himself to the same expectations of high performance as he does the other employees. And he’s convinced that there’s no way to fake it. “Employees know whether or not you’re living this stuff,” Friel says. “They’re very smart.”

Friel says he doesn’t design, make or sell anything. Rather, he sees his role as one of promoting an atmosphere that makes those functions more easily accomplished by the company’s 1,200 employees.

Say Friel: “My job is to create the environment for those people to be successful, and I believe if I’m out and get a feel for what the real workers are doing, then it enables me to do a better job of creating the environment for them.” How to reach: Medrad Inc.,