What I Love in This Industry (& Why)
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Feb 01, 2014
Last month marked my 12th anniversary with Mobility Management, going all the way back to our spring 2002 launch.
Because of that — and because February is the month that we set aside for recognizing things we love, and because sometimes you just gotta throw out some good energy so all the bad news doesn’t drown you — I’m using this month’s space for a rather arbitrary and nowhere near complete list of what I love about this industry, about your industry.
- I love this industry’s bountiful heart. Countless people working in mobility, seating and accessibility started here because someone they cared about needed an innovation that would help them get out of bed, help them meet friends on the playground, or help them get to grandkids’ soccer games. You have never forgotten why you started here, and you still get your greatest kicks from affecting individual lives. In MMBeat this month, we recognize a handful of recent good deeds: Manufacturers, organizations, providers and ATPs putting aside profit margins and harried schedules for a little while to pull together and make something great happen.
- I love innovation. It’s how the industry started, and it’s heartening to see that despite all the funding cutbacks, the red tape, the agencies that so often seem to be letting beneficiaries down, products are still being improved. Upgraded. Redesigned. Invented. Take a look at Product Revue (page 28) to see what industry veterans are up to, and also at pages 10-11 to see some mobility concepts a little more outside the box.
- I love pressure relief. One of the first educational sessions I ever attended was given by Tina Roesler, and it was on pressure sores. I saw those PowerPoint slides of stage 3 and 4 ulcers and was hooked. Pressure mapping? Weight shifts? Cushions and backs? Elevating legrests? If it relieves pressure, I love it.
- So naturally, I also love tilt. Power and manual. (I’m sure it’s sheer coincidence that our cover feature this month is “Tilt by the Numbers,” starting on page 16!)
- I love cars. I originally came from the automotive industry, and since I’m from California as well, in my head I can’t separate independence from horsepower. See page 22.
- I love WC-anything, of course. WC19 is cool, WC20 is awesome, and I can’t wait to start talking about WC18, coming up next year. (Again, see page 28!)
- I love universal design and accessibility. C’mon, I’m 5' tall. How much of my kitchen shelving do you think I can reach?
- I love ultralights, which get more gorgeous all the time. I see those curves and stances, and I think elegance. Or Ferrari. Who says clinical efficiency and performance can’t also look great? Not ultralight manufacturers!
- I love power chairs and their electronics. Some of it is over my head, but I see how these sleek machines can be driven via, like, a fingertip and I think, magic.
- I love early intervention. The right technology in the hands of the right clinicians and ATPs can result in a kid attaining independent mobility right on time. Enough said.
- I love buckles and ankle huggers and armrest pads, and all the components that form something much greater than the sum of their parts. I really love how much engineering attention and design detail these “little” parts receive from their devoted makers.
- I love dynamic seating. I especially appreciate it after I’ve stepped off a plane.
- And speaking of planes, I love the chocolate in Canada. Next month’s issue is our International Seating Symposium special, bringing together all these great things and many more in one edition as we head to Vancouver.
This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.