Looking Back, Looking Forward at BraunAbility

Ralph Braun

At this time of year, I find myself looking in two directions: behind at what I've accomplished in the past 12 months, and ahead to the challenges I'll face in 2009. I suppose everyone does this at year's end-it's just a natural time to take stock of things.

In my personal life, the highlight of 2008 was the birth of my son, Owen. This also defines my personal goal for 2009: be the best father I can be. It's funny, some people think that kids make life more complicated, but personally, I think they make everything easier. Stay with me I'm not crazy or looking at the world through rose-colored glasses (I also have a rather defiant 2-year-old daughter, after all). What I'm getting at is this: having children makes life easier because it makes you focus on the important things. After that, everything else just seems to take care of itself.

At work, focusing on the important things can be difficult. In a large company like BraunAbility, there is so much going on that it's easy to get lost in the details of a particular project. Sometimes what you're working on is far removed from the "big picture," and it's a struggle to see how your efforts are doing any good. This results in a question that you hear people ask a lot: "Why are we doing this?"

At the end of the year, I think it's important to take a step back and think about "why we're doing this." And just as my kids remind me of what's important at home, it's you, our customers that remind us of what's important at BraunAbility. The stories you send us of how our products have improved your lives help us all remember "why we're doing this." You help remind us of our main goal as a company, and really it's pretty simple: help our customers lead full and active lives. This goal hasn't changed since our founder and C.E.O Ralph Braun started the company over 40 years ago.

There's a lot of "stock-taking" going on around BraunAbility as each department reviews its goals for 2008 and sets new targets for 2009. Though the individual goals may vary greatly from Engineering to Sales to Product Support to Marketing, we all are united around the central purpose of providing the best wheelchair vans, the best wheelchair lifts and the best customer service that we can. And if we ever lose sight of that, we have you - and Ralph Braun - to remind us what's important.

So as 2008 comes to a close, here's wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous 2009 from everyone at BraunAbility. As Karl said in his Christmas Post, at this time of year we are very proud to play a small part in helping friends and families get together and focus on the important things in life.