NMEDA’S Hall of Fame

Honoring leaders in the mobility equipment industry helping drivers and passengers with disabilities on the road to independence.

Since 2011, NMEDA’s Hall of Fame has recognized and honored those who have made significant contributions to the field of adaptive driving equipment and helped the establishment and growth of the Automotive Mobility Industry. These leaders within our industry have helped transform the lives of countless persons with disabilities, as well as their families and loved ones, and are excellent examples of what we work to accomplish each and every day.

2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

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Dale Carpenter

Ricon Corp

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Gene Morton

Monmouth Custom Vans

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Stan Nystrom

Handicap Vehicle Specialists

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Jeff Ruff

BraunAbility

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Bill Siebert

Siebert & Associates

2016 Hall of Fame Inductee

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Kathie Regan

ADED/CDRS

Kathie was one of the early members of ADED. In 1989, she served as ADED President, as a member of multiple boards, as the ADED Executive Director between 2002 -2007, and as an ADED conference planner from 2007 - 2009. Kathie received her certification as a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist in 1996. She has also served as a liaison between ADED and NMEDA by serving on NMEDA committees, advocating for ADED inclusion in NMEDA publications and activities, and being the face of ADED to many of our mobility equipment dealers and manufacturers.

2015 Hall Of Fame Inductees

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Dave Potter

Dave Potter has held many leadership positions within NMEDA including treasurer, secretary and NMEDA’s president in 1993 and 1997. Potter also served as past president for four years, and was on the board of directors for eight. In his service to NMEDA he was also responsible for and involved with the First Collective Service School held in Atlanta, Georgia and secured insurance programs for NMEDA members. NMEDA previously honored Potter with the NMEDA National Award of Excellence for Quality Assurance Program (QAP).

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Bruce Ahnafield

Ahnafield Corporation

Bruce Ahnafield founded Ahnafield Corporation in 1968 with a passion in finding mobility solutions for people with disabilities. Ahnafield Corporation specializes in adaptive equipment with the first ever “drive-by-wire” system in the world being completed and patented in the early 1980’s. This high tech driving system allows the vehicle’s acceleration, braking and steering functions to be controlled electronically. To date, Ahnafield Corporation is one of only two companies in the world that manufacture a “drive-by-wire” system.

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George Hendrickson

A founding member of NMEDA, George Hendrickson received numerous awards for his contributions to the industry. At the age of 20, Hendrickson became disabled in his service to his country as a member of the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Confined to a wheelchair, Hendrickson underwent rehabilitation where he later came into contact with a man named Warren Austin. Austin owned a company called Manufacturing Product Services, now MPS, which hired people with disabilities. Hendrickson later bought the company in 1970 and turned it into one of the leading manufacturers in the U.S. for mechanical driving controls and other assistive driving aids. Hendrickson helped thousands of people with disabilities gain their independence and enjoy life to the fullest by volunteering at his local VA hospital, by counseling returning disabled veterans, organizing and sponsoring wheelchair sports teams, and providing free wheelchair repairs for those in need. Mainstream Magazine said this about Hendrickson; he was “a gift to the community of people with disabilities.”

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David Kope

Dave Kope, known for the design and manufacturing of steering devices for the handicapped, holds the patent on the foot steering device. Kope passed away at the age of 91 in 2009. He held a degree from Waynesburg College and was a postgraduate student at Stanford University. Among his other contribution, Kope fought fires as a civilian public service employee in North Fork, California.

2014 Hall Of Fame Inductees

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James Keller

Keller Wheelchair Lifts

As the second president of NMEDA, James Keller created the Certification Program Committee that laid the important groundwork for what has become the Quality Assurance Program (QAP). This elevated NMEDA member’s opportunities for success in the industry.

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John Quandt

Advanced Wheels of Technology

Quandt served on the NMEDA Board of Directors for eight years and as president of the organization for three years. In addition to Quandt’s many improvements within NMEDA’s organizational structure, he also further developed the QAP program through establishing three levels of certification, ‘How to Manuals’ and initiated government relations efforts for NMEDA QAP with the Veterans Administration. Additionally, he worked to have wheelchair standards set and approved by the Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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Peter Zarba

Bussani Mobility

Became a quadriplegic as the result of an automobile accident in the 1970s and began his career with Bussani as a salesman after college graduation in 1982. As a wheelchair athlete, he competed in table tennis is Seoul, Korea’s Paralympics in 1988 and was ranked third in the world. Table tennis was just one of his passions. He was a founding member of the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Quad Rugby Team, competed in regional road races and marathons and was named Differently-Abled Athlete of the Year in 2000 by the Nassau County New York Sports Association. Zarba won the legal right for people with disabilities to participate in the New York City Marathon. He served on the NMEDA Board as a Northern Representative and served on several NMEDA committees.

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Bill Campbell

Tempe Mobility

Selected for the Hall of Fame for his tireless efforts as an innovator in the area of moving forward the concept of mobility dealers across the nation showcasing lowered-floor minivans and completed modified full-sized vans on their lots. Campbell understood the need to have converted vehicles available in the field prior to the final sale so end-users could see and test-drive the vehicle before making a purchase decision. He took the lead on every aspect of the relationship between the mobility industry and automotive manufacturers. Campbell worked with the ‘Big 3’ automakers to allow completed units to be available across the country and to also provide financing agreements that included mobility manufacturers such as VMI to convert hundreds of units on spec for sale through mobility dealerships.

2013 Hall Of Fame Inductees

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F.R. (Red) Plank

First President of NMEDA

As the first President of NMEDA, he served four terms on the Board of Directors, meeting the challenges of starting a fledgling trade association at a time when industry change and accountability were sorely needed. Red also served on key committees such as Public Relations, Benefits Program, Guidelines, QAP and Ad Hoc Crash Test Committees.

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Scott Deacon

Owner, Advanced Mobility (Van Nuys, California)

Trained as a biotech engineer, Scott was an early innovator in making modifications to all types of vehicles and was the owner and founder of Advanced Mobility in Van Nuys, California. As a member of NMEDA since 1999 he has served on the NMEDA Board of Directors as Western Rep and on several committees making numerous contributions to serving people with disabilities.

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Jean-Marc Girardin

Founder of Q’Straint, Inc.

As owner and founder of Q’Straint, Inc., Jean-Marc has been at the forefront of wheelchair and occupant securement innovation for 27 years. He designed, developed and introduced to the world the first crash-tested, fully integrated securement system that was able to be used in all four segments of transportation – Transit, Para-transit, School Bus and the Consumer Mobility Markets.

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Ken Labron

As early innovators, the Labron brothers became prominent figures in the Canadian market helping to organize and establish NMEDA in Canada. John served as on the Board of Directors from 1993 –1995 and served on numerous Canadian committees. Ken supported John’s efforts developing innovative modifications and helping to develop structural guidelines through Transport Canada.

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John Labron

As early innovators, the Labron brothers became prominent figures in the Canadian market helping to organize and establish NMEDA in Canada. John served as on the Board of Directors from 1993 –1995 and served on numerous Canadian committees. Ken supported John’s efforts developing innovative modifications and helping to develop structural guidelines through Transport Canada.

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Charlie Scott

Developed the Scott Driving System

Scott was one on the first to develop high tech driving and steering systems using joystick type controls that would allow a person with limited upper body strength and/or one arm to drive. He began his career as an automotive mechanical engineer and started developing accurate, lightweight driving devices important for disabled veterans after WWII. Charlie developed the Scott Driving System in 1975, which is still produced by Driving Systems, Inc in Van Nuys, CA.

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Marcus Smith

Founder Access Vans of Louisiana

As a charter member of NMEDA, Marcus retired from the NMEDA Board of Directors in 2008 after serving on the Board for a total of 10 years (four years as Secretary and six years as Vice President). Marcus served on a number of committees including Nominations, Public Relations, Service School, Guidelines, QAP Compliance, Licensing, Education and Training, Conference, and Membership.

2012 Hall Of Fame Inductees

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Becky Plank

Founding Director of NMEDA

Becky Plank was a visionary seeking ways to help the industry to self-regulate. She united businesses in 1989 to speak in one-voice for the greater good of the industry and the customer.

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Ralph W. Braun

Founder of The Braun Corporation

Ralph Braun is a respected innovator and business leader determined to overcome his own adversities due to muscular dystrophy. He has been in the industry for over fifty years, 20 of those as a NMEDA member, and is also an accomplished author.

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Peter Ruprecht

President of Drive Master

Having served the automotive mobility industry for 62 years, Peter Ruprecht is a product innovator known the Drive-Master Push-Pull Hand Control System.

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Martin Smith

Owner of Alamo Mobility

Martin Smith was the driving force behind NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP), the only nationally recognized accreditation program for the industry. He served on numerous NMEDA committees, rising to vice president of the board of directors in 1996, and president two years later.

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Tom Wright

(Retired) Owner of Wright-Way, Inc.

A true voice in the industry, Wright served NMEDA for 14 years as a board member and has contributed to a variety of committees such as QAP Compliance, Ad Hoc Insurance, Dealer/Manufacturer, Guidelines and Public Relations. He has also participated in advisory committees for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.