Starkey Owner and Chairman Bill Austin Named a 2022 Minnesota Icon

Eden Prairie, Minnesota (January 17, 2023) – Starkey Owner and Chairman, Bill Austin, has been named a 2022 Minnesota Icon by Finance & Commerce and Minnesota Lawyer. The Minnesota Icon Awards recognize individuals with proven success throughout a lengthy and accomplished career who have left their indelible mark on Minnesota’s business community.

“Through his vast contributions to the hearing industry and the community, Bill Austin has made Starkey a global leader not only in healthcare innovation, but also in practicing compassion,” 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. On behalf of everyone at Starkey, I want to congratulate Bill on this well-deserved recognition and express my gratitude for his dedication to our Starkey family and the patients we serve.”

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. He has provided hearing aids to tens of thousands of individuals, including five Presidents, two Popes, countless legislators, and celebrities.

Bill Austin is 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.

To learn more about Starkey, please click here.

About Starkey
Starkey is a privately held, global hearing technology company headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Founded by Bill Austin in 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 is the only American-owned provider of hearing technologies. The company has more than 5,000 employees, operates 29 facilities and does business in more than 100 markets worldwide. Learn more at

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