10 Years: Perspectives from the Industry

Editor’s Note

Laurie WatanabeA man came up to me when I was in our booth at a tradeshow that first year. I didn’t know him; as the saying goes, I could count on both hands the number of people I knew in the industry, given that Mobility Management was so new. That I was so new.

Th e man smiled: “A friend of mine mentioned your magazine yesterday.”

“He did?” I was startled. Th e number of people who knew us…

“He did,” the man nodded. “He said we as an industry should support it. He reminded me that we need our own magazine, and this might be our last chance.”

That “friend” turned out to be Rick Graver, founder of Medtech Services in Reno, Nev. He’d written a service column for our first issue, and graciously suff ered my naive questions in the process. Somewhere along the way, Rick adopted us and made it his business to help us succeed.

We have had many such champions, which is the only way this little magazine could have survived. MM was conceived in the weeks following Sept. 11, 2001, while the country was reeling emotionally and financially. Th is was not an ideal time to launch a magazine. Nevertheless, we forged ahead.

And you embraced us.

You took a chance on us; you took a chance on me. You gave interviews. You explained your role in the healthcare continuum. You taught me to distinguish scooters from power chairs (tillers!), mid-wheel drive from rear-wheel drive (drive wheel position!), and HCFA from CMS (name change!).

More importantly, you showed me the world through your eyes. You taught me that wheels are liberating, and that control of one fingertip can be enough to drive independently. From you, I learned what the right slope (ramp or seat) can do, that steps can be conquered, that function is king, and access is everything. You taught me titanium and aluminum can be sexy (coincidentally, aluminum is the traditional gift for 10th anniversaries!).

I could fill every inch of editorial space in this issue and still not relay every story or thank every soul who supported us as we got our start.

But just as importantly, an entire issue is not enough space to thank you for continuing to support us. The world’s economy is even more volatile now than it was 10 years ago. Our industry is running so lean that your time has never been more precious. Yet you continue to take my phone calls, answer my e-mails, extend a hello or a “liked that peds story!” comment at conferences and tradeshows.

Since I cannot thank you individually, I have to hope you know who you are.

Thank you for doing interviews with me, writing columns or opinions for me, signing up for subscriptions, showing me how a product worked or sharing a client story. Thank you also to the people who’ve had a hand in producing this magazine each month: the folks in the art, circulation, IT, online, operations, production, promotions and sales departments.

Without you, MM wouldn’t exist. Without you, I wouldn’t know a K0823 code from an E2624.

— Laurie Watanabe

This article originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of Mobility Management.

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