NMEDA Inducts Bruce Ahnafield, David Kope, Dave Potter, and George Hendrickson into the Hall of Fame
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association announced the 2015 Hall of Fame Class inductees at its national conference held in Daytona Beach, Florida this month. Bruce Ahnafield, David Kope, Dave Potter and George Hendrickson were each recognized in heart-felt presentations, not just as successful pioneers and businessmen in the industry, but also as true believers in giving back to the community through service. These distinguished recipients were selected for their immense contribution to growing and improving the automotive mobility industry and their selfless commitment to serving people with disabilities.
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.
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.
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).
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.”
“NMEDA members have been instrumental in inventing, developing and providing many of the mobility solutions available today. Each year we celebrate these industry leaders with our Hall of Fame awards ceremony,” said David Hubbard, NMEDA Executive Director and CEO. “They have provided both outstanding customer and community service throughout their careers and lifetimes.”