5 Minutes with Lisa Rotelli

Lisa Rotelli

Lisa Rotelli is director at Adaptive Switch Laboratories (ASL).

Of the projects I’m working on, I’m most excited by… integration of technology — trying to see a patient within their 24-hour life instead of just in an evaluation of one hour in time. To find out what their needs are, from power chairs to manual chairs to bed, and how access has to happen in all of those places. The ultimate goal is helping our patients get back into the job market, participate in school and graduate. Integrating technology, access, and belief are the biggest barriers for success. Technology is the answer to success for our patients.

Of the challenges facing CRT, I’m most concerned about… I know most people say funding, which is a very big barrier. But regulatory policies in the last couple of years have really been more profound. For people who design products, regulatory policies are becoming a bigger barrier to bringing new products to market. It’s adding extensive cost, so it’s making manufacturers take a harder look at costs of bringing equipment to market. People are trying to find their way through this regulatory maze, and I think it’s becoming an inhibitor. It’s definitely slowing the process down and possibly causing some products to not be available.

The technology segment I’m most intrigued by is… Electronics, the ever-changing environment. Every platform of electronics that we’re working with is changing again, for the better. Some of it is a little more complex than we wish it was, but I think we’re making advances and gains in electronics.

What the industry needs most right now is… time. I wish our payment model was different so that people got paid on their experience, expertise, the quality of their assessments and time, instead of “Buy the product.” A true CRT patient takes considerable time and ingenuity. It takes several visits and a lot of adjusting. We’re not getting paid on the quality of the outcome and their expertise, which is invaluable to this process. I wish we were paid more on that model.

An industry segment that’s really hot right now is… Bluetooth. I think we haven’t remotely tapped its potential yet. And we should make this more accessible to families to connect. Also, we need to make sure all of someone’s technology and access are not tied to one system.

As an industry, we’ve gained ground on… We’re finally starting to gain ground on belief of powered mobility and early intervention for children. We have a long way to go.

My favorite thing about CRT is… the people we work with — families and the people who have overcome such adversity and are still so amazing.

An industry member I really admire is… I have two: Byron Guisbert and Karen Kangas. Both have been mentors to me and have changed my life. They basically have set me on the path I’m on.

In my personal life, a person I really admire is… My husband, Bren Rotelli. He’s a firefighter/first responder, and he deals with a lot of adversity every day. He helps a lot of people in the worst time of their lives.

My favorite recent industry event was… My favorite events are always Abilities Expos or MDA events. They’re direct contact with the families, and that’s what drives us here. It’s what drives me.

My favorite tradeshow venue/city are… New York Abilities Expo. It’s an eye-opener. If you think you’ll never see something, you’ll see it there. It’s amazing to see the hacks these people have done to make their chairs work for them. It’s the best show ever.

My favorite business travel hack is… I check in right away, at the 24-hour mark, to see if I can get the best seat on the plane.

If I could give my younger self a message, it would be… patience.

In five years, I hope to be… still making a difference with what I do every day.

I want to be remembered in this industry as… passionate, honest and someone who made a change. The last great meal I had was… at Filomena’s in Georgetown. Italian ladies make pasta in the window of the restaurant. I went for the first time this year at the MDA conference. One of the women from the conference said we had to eat there, so we went. It was an experience I’d like to repeat.

People who know me would say I… love craft beer.

Those people would be surprised to learn… I was a logger when I was young to make money for school. I used to set chokers. I was exhausted, but it was the best money around, and I could sleep well at night. I did enjoy being in the mountains.

This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Mobility Management.

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