“ADI Will Live On” After Acquisition by Stealth Products
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Jun 25, 2015
Stealth Products’ acquisition of Accessible Designs Inc. (ADI) will enable ADI founder and CEO Todd Hargroder to focus on product design going forward.
That was the message during a Mobility Management conversation with Hargroder and Stealth President Lorenzo Romero as they sat together at ADI’s San Antonio, Texas, headquarters just hours after the June 11 acquisition announcement.
At the heart of the talk was the message that ADI’s much-lauded lines of wheelchair components are in good hands. ADI is perhaps best known for its carbon fiber and aluminum wheelchair backs and disc brake systems, but the company also offers related wheelchair components, hardware, transfer boards and gloves.
Making the Transition
Logistically, the acquisition will cause a migration of many daily operations to the Stealth team.
“The sales, distribution, all that will be handled by Stealth in lieu of here in the San Antonio office,” Hargroder said. “We’re going to merge those operations.”
But Romero emphasized that current ADI products will continue to be available — and that the Stealth team intends to preserve the venerable ADI brand.
“We’re going to bring ADI into Stealth, and it’s going to be a series, kind of like the I-Drive products,” Romero explained, making a reference to Stealth’s alternate drive control system. “We’ve been very careful to make sure we don’t lose the identity of ADI. Todd has done such a fantastic job over the years of developing a reputation, and we want to protect the integrity of the product as much as possible.”
Romero added that the operations transition was scheduled to start almost immediately, with Stealth taking over the invoicing on June 15.
ATPs and other providers will “be able to call ADI and place the orders while we’re integrating the ADI products into the Stealth system, but that’s going to happen relatively quickly,” Romero said. “We’re going to integrate [the product lines] into Stealth almost immediately, but [providers] will still order the same part numbers that they have in the past, and we’re going to try to make that as seamless as possible.”
Focusing on Design & Development
The official announcement of the acquisition came from Quantum Rehab, which acquired Stealth Products last year. In the news release, Quantum said ADI “is renowned for its innovative ultralight wheelchair seating systems and accessories, including its widely used disc brakes that increase functionality and safety for wheelchair users. ADI components are used as aftermarket components on most leading ultralight wheelchair brands.”
In a separate statement to MM, Quantum Rehab spokesman Mark E. Smith said Stealth’s team pursued the acquisition on its own: “We at Quantum strongly believe in Stealth’s autonomy, and certainly see how ADI fits into their manufacturing capabilities, product portfolio, distribution channels and market dedication. We’re excited for both Stealth and ADI in this synergy toward further evolving complex rehab solutions.”
Both Romero and Hargroder referenced that synergy — developed over years of working closely together in the seating arena — in explaining why this acquisition made perfect sense.
“We currently do some manufacturing for ADI at Stealth, and we’ve shared some resources internationally to try to help grow the companies that way as well,” Romero said. “So we’ve been working with each other on different products for years now, and we just have a ton of respect for each other and have always enjoyed working together.”
For Hargroder, the acquisition means shedding some daily operations in favor of concentrating on the product design and development work that has always been his first passion.
“I started this business in ’93 out of my parents’ garage,” he said. “I started with one product and over the years have grown it to where we’re now selling in over 25 countries. Over those years, what I’ve loved to do is design and build things. As a wheelchair user myself, many products start with products I need and find a solution for.
“This will take away the burden of running a small business, which I’ve loved to do over the years, but now I’ve let that run its course. This acquisition is freeing me up and giving us a lot more horsepower. We’re going now with a global sales team that is going to support that ADI brand.”
Romero said Hargroder would be staffing an R&D engineering team based in San Antonio. “He brings a really beautiful design side that’s also really effective for the lifestyle, “Romero said. “The idea of him being freed up completely from the day-to-day grind of operating a business and just to focus strictly on product development, it’s exciting for us.”
Hargroder added that his eye is already on a future that will now be more streamlined: “I have plenty of product in the pipeline that with the support of Stealth, we’ll be able to bring products to the marketplace much quicker.”
They agreed that the acquisition is the coming together of two companies with traditions of excellent customer service and creative solutions — of strength joining strength.
“Todd and I share a lot of the same values,” Romero said. “We share the same desire to bring to the industry a perspective in innovation that is unique. It’s a perfect fit.”
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.