Over more than 30 years in the Complex Rehab Technology field, I’ve been fortunate to witness firsthand how passionate innovation can improve the lives of wheelchair riders. Most notably, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the growth of the iconic ROHO brand, from the time I entered the field in 1993 until, as president, I helped sell the company to Permobil in 2015.
The ROHO brand was established in the 1970s by the brilliant Robert H. Graebe, working alongside a spirited team who pioneered the company’s earliest products through passion and persistence. By the time I joined the ROHO team in 1993, the brand was well-established and ready for aggressive global growth that would propel it into the 21st century.
The decision to join LUCI was easy. In my mind, the parallels between ROHO in those early years and the precipice upon which LUCI stands today are apparent. Mr. Graebe invented the ROHO Cushion not to meet a reimbursement code, which notably didn’t exist until many years after the company was founded, but to solve the debilitating health crisis that wheelchair riders experienced with pressure ulcers.
Like Mr. Graebe, LUCI co-founders Barry and Jered Dean, inspired by Barry’s daughter Katherine, are entering this field with never-before-seen technology. They have designed LUCI not chasing any reimbursement code, but instead chasing a desire to improve safety and independence for Katherine and thousands of others like her around the world. Their novel LUCI wheelchair technology was built with the same conviction and passion, and with the same goal of solving an all-too-frequent problem that wheelchair users have had to endure for far too long.
I can envision a world – soon – where LUCI technology is expected to be a feature on all powered mobility bases. We should not accept a world where these powered mobility bases regularly cause serious harm from collisions or tipping over when the technology exists to prevent such outcomes. Imagine buying a new car today that would not offer standard safety features such as air bags, automatic braking or rear cameras! Why should we expect more from our cars than we expect from our power wheelchairs?
Having always admired the early pioneers at ROHO, I now have the opportunity to become one such pioneer by joining the growing LUCI team during this exciting phase of the company. LUCI’s technology is just too important to overlook. It will shape the lives of people who depend on powered mobility, and it will save lives in the process.
I am excited to re-enter the CRT space and reconnect with many of my old friends and colleagues. And, most of all, I am extremely honored to join the Dean brothers and Team LUCI on this mission to help fulfill the dream for safer, smarter wheelchairs driven by more independent and more confident riders.