A Giant in the Mobility Industry Still Has A Small Town Feel
Monique McGivney, Guest Writer
In thirteen years, MobilityWorks has gone from a one location mobility equipment dealer with twelve employees to a multi-million dollar powerhouse. Now, with thirteen locations in seven states, over 200 employees, and the manufacturing of their own mobility solutions, MobilityWorks is a force to be reckoned with in the mobility industry.
When walking into the corporate headquarters of MobilityWorks in Akron, OH, you are not hit with a “corporate” feel. Their modest storefront and humble decor symbolizes their corporate culture which Bill Koeblitz, MobilityWorks CEO, describes as “High intensity, open, honest…brutally honest, communicative, fun, competitive and exciting.” Each of their thirteen locations (and growing) takes on the small town feel in which they reside, which makes MobilityWorks that much more notable; they stay true to their roots and their core values. Doug Eaton, VMI’s President and CEO has seen MobilityWorks’ incredible transformation and growth over the past decade. “VMI hand picks only the best mobility equipment dealers to represent our brand and our products and MobilityWorks has been a tremendous asset to VMI and to our customers. From the top down in their organization, MobilityWorks exemplifies everything that VMI stands for; treating our customers fairly and with respect.”
Regardless of who you talk with at MobilityWorks, all the employees utter the same words when asked how they are differentiated in the market; committed, friendly, professional, convenience and caring. “Giving personalized and outstanding service” is how Koeblitz defines this difference between MobilityWorks and the competition. He goes on to say, “What we do is so wonderful. It’s such a privilege to be able to offer this service to our customers.” Brian Fiediga, MobilityWorks Corporate Service Manager adds, “If you don’t have good customers, we don’t have jobs, it’s that simple.” Every vehicle that gets delivered to a MobilityWorks dealership goes through a 50 point inspection on the chassis and a 35 point inspection on the conversion. “We make sure stuff is right” says Fiediga. When asked to describe MobilityWorks in one word, Fiediga uttered, “The Best!”
A perfect example of MobilityWorks culture and differentiation is their customer of 14 years, Jay Gerycz, who has Multiple Sclerosis. MobilityWorks installed hand controls on Jay’s 1996 Mark 8, his 1999 and 2002 Maxima. Jay now drives a VMI full-size Ford E150 which has a platform lift. When asked why he continues to come back to MobilityWorks he said, “They are nice people and I get good service.” It doesn’t get much more simple than that; doing the right thing, with a smile. Jay summed up MobilityWorks in one word, “Competent, and that means a lot to me.”
However, despite Jay’s complete satisfaction and delight with MobilityWorks, even he searched the Internet when he was looking for another wheelchair van. The Internet has changed all our lives from social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to community sites like Disaboom.com and Wheelchairjunkie.com. The Mobility Industry hasn’t been exempt from this flood of information and over the past ten years. Much has changed because of the Internet, which has caused MobilityWorks to shift their focus. Instead of using traditional ways of getting their name out to customers; direct mail postcards, ads in newspapers and advertising on the television, they focused their marketing efforts online, where customers are typing keywords into search engines like “wheelchair van”, “ramp for minivan” and “scooter lift”.
MobilityWorks’ predicament wasn’t helping customers, they mastered that. Instead it was getting to those customers first. It was a challenge to reach those customers with all the other “clutter” that was being posted and presented on the Internet. When someone types in the words “wheelchair van” into Google, 3,700.000 results appear; Almost 4 million results! The big struggle for people is what to do with all that information; what is true, what is false, who do you believe and what do you believe? The biggest advantage MobilityWorks and all other local mobility equipment dealers have over companies that sell mobility products directly over the Internet is that customers can see for themselves everything that is being advertised first hand; product features, inventory, service bays, etc. Eric Mansfield, MobilityWorks Vice President of Consumer Operations stressed, “Our customers want to purchase and get service from someone they are going to see again at the next Special Olympics or next MDA Walk, verses someone they will never talk to again. We try to represent the local community and be active with the people that support and serve them, like the VA’s, local UCP chapters, spinal cord groups and rehab centers. Online sellers of wheelchair vans can’t do that.”
MobilityWorks is a national chain of wheelchair accessible van providers – serving the disabled community with wheelchair accessible lowered floor minivans, full-size vans and commercial fleet vehicles to thousands of individuals and business clients each year. Their latest addition, the Mobility Conquest wheelchair motorcycle, is just another example of the innovation and passion that MobilityWorks has for the disabled community; wanting to give people an active and adventurous lifestyle with safety and style.