The Abilities Expos are the premier tradeshows for the disabled community. I’ve attended these shows as Director of Advertising at BraunAbility for many years and have witnessed a lot of growth and change in that time.
The Abilities Expo was created by Dick and Pat Wooten more than 30 years ago in an effort to connect people in need of mobility solutions with available technology. The first show was in Los Angeles, and as interest grew, another show was held on the East Coast. The Wootens operated the show successfully for many years but eventually sold it to a trade show company. Over the years the show expanded to other cities and was operated by several different vendors with varying degrees of success. In 2008, the series was purchased by two men who focus exclusively on the Abilities Expo.
For a person in need of new mobility equipment or a replacement, this is the place to go. Handicap accessible vans, wheelchair lifts, and many other forms of assistive technology fill the floor. Seminars and workshops were offered covering everything from selecting the right accessible wheelchair van to architectural adaptations to assisted living. Apparently this show was well-advertised as we had folks visiting our booth to see the Toyota Rampvan from Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, California, Michigan and Florida, as well as the local folks in Georgia. In 2010 shows will be held in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Houston and Atlanta. I’m sure BraunAbility dealers will be represented at each venue.
“Our goal for 2010 and beyond is to evolve the events to be more inclusive to people of all ages and with all types of disabilities.”
I spoke with David Korse, President and CEO of the Abilities Expo, and asked how he felt about taking on the Abilities Expo project with his partner. “We’re very excited with the positive feedback we’ve received to the improvements we introduced during 2009 expo events,” he said. “Our goal for 2010 and beyond is to evolve the events to be more inclusive to people of all ages and with all types of disabilities.”
It is a great opportunity to see firsthand the products you often read about in magazines or see on television. Click here to learn more about the shows, and be sure to mark your calendar for one of this year’s upcoming events!