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Focus on Working Together to Enhance the Quality of Life for People with Disabilities

Contact: Lora Johnson
Padilla Speer Beardsley
Tel: (212) 752-8338

LAS VEGAS – October 12, 2010 – The Braun Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of wheelchair-accessible vans, ramps and wheelchair lifts, hosted the first national “AbilitySummit” attended by over 150 BraunAbility dealers and business partners from across the U.S. The conference focused on enhancing the awareness of wheelchair users and people with disabilities of available services and technology that can improve their overall quality of life.

The AbilitySummit offered insight on current as well as the future needs of people with disabilities and was attended by mobility product vendors from all across North America. Speakers included Ralph Braun, CEO and Founder of the Braun Corporation, Nick Gutwein, President of The Braun Corporation, Ken Schmidt, former director of communications for Harley-Davidson, and Mark Oldenburg, National Fleet Marketing and Mobility Manager from Toyota Motor Sales.

Singer-songwriter Justin Hines, who Gutwein referred to as the “Ralph Braun of the music industry,” kicked-off the AbilitySummit with an inspirational vocal performance while sharing his spirit and determination. Hines sings, writes, and produces lyrics and music and performs in concerts throughout the world, but lives with a rare genetic joint condition called Larsen Syndrome which requires him to use a wheelchair.

In his opening address, Gutwein noted that the mobility industry was at a turning point in 2010, the 20th anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). He said “We need to better support those with disabilities. Braun is committed to helping increase public awareness about mobility alternatives and helping our partners become more knowledgeable about the innovation and mobile support systems that can improve the lives of people with disabilities,” said Gutwein.

Ralph Braun told attendees that there has been great progress in the past 20 years, but there is a need for continued work. He shared a recent example where he was denied access to an event because of his disability.

“Braun is leading the change in our industry, and the AbilitySummit further prepared us for the future,” said Mark Lore, CEO and president of Ride-Away, a major BraunAbility dealer with stores across the East Coast. “It is crucial to provide mobility, and most importantly, freedom to people with disabilities. As its importance continues to evolve, we are excited to partner with Braun to continue to change the lives of those with disabilities.”

Earlier this year, Braun co-sponsored a symposium with The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), titled “ADA 20/20: Looking Back, Looking Forward on Mobility.” A panel of key thought leaders from government, medicine, academia and business agreed that more education and collaboration was needed to better support Americans with disabilities.
Braun recognized several dealers with awards at the AbilitySummit:

Best Braunability Showroom: Absolute Mobility (Tacoma, WA)
Highest PMA Sales Performance (Large): Ride-Away (Londonderry, NH); Van Products (Raleigh, NC); Advanced Mobility Systems (Fort Worth, TX); Absolute Mobility (Woodinville, WA)
Highest PMA Sales Performance (Mid-size): Siebert Mobility (Glenwood, IA); MITS Corp (Glen Rock, PA); Newby-Vance Mobility (Guthrie, OK); Cummings Mobility Conversions (Albertville, MN)
Most Improved Sales Performance: Carolina Mobility Sales (Charlotte, NC)
Triple Crown Award, Superior Van & Mobility (Louisville, KY)
Adaptive Solutions (Augusta, GA)

For more information about The Braun Corporation, visit http://www.braunability.com.

About The Braun Corporation
The Braun Corporation is the largest manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans, ramps, and wheelchair lifts worldwide and enables people with physical disabilities to regain mobility and lead active and independent lives. The Indiana-based company was founded by Ralph Braun, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at a young age and unable to walk by age 15. Ralph was motivated by his disability to invent the world’s first electric scooter (the Tri-Wheeler) and wheelchair lift (the Lift-A-Way) in his parents’ garage. Word spread and demand for the product increased, resulting in the birth of Save-A-Step Manufacturing, which ultimately became The Braun Corporation. The company offers the most diverse line of vehicle platforms in the industry, including the most popular minivan models from Dodge/Chryler, Honda, and Toyota. For more information, or to find a dealer near you, please visit www.braunability.com.




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