Special thank you to Robin Williams Adams for writing such a heartwarming story for The Ledger. We were honored to have had the opportunity to work with Alfred, Anna and the Dream Foundation!
Leading Provider of Environmental Control Units Chosen From Over 500 Nominees
Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) announced today that it is among 50 statewide companies selected from more than 500 nominees for Florida Companies to Watch℠, a statewide program managed by economic development group GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation. ASI joins an esteemed group of honorees who will be recognized with this prestigious award on Thursday, November 5th at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando, Florida.
“We are thrilled to be part of the Florida Companies to Watch class of 2015,” says Maggie Thompson, President of ASI. “I applaud GrowFL and the Edward Lowe Foundation for taking time to recognize the hard work and sacrifices businesses such as ASI make everyday to contribute to the economic prosperity of our state. We are excited for all the winners!”
Thompson took the helm of ASI in 2009 when her husband and ASI founder, Fred Thompson, retired. Thompson made the decision to lead her company down an ambitious path toward becoming the leading provider of environmental control units (ECU’s) in the country. Her substantial investment in research and development paid off as the $800,000 company grew to become the $7,000,000 enterprise it is today.
“We were able to accomplish these goals because of the hard work of our outstanding team,” explains Thompson. “This award would not have been possible without our dedicated and committed employees.”
According to GrowFL, ASI’s management team, competitive market position and strong community involvement were among several factors that put them in contention for the award.
The 50 companies named the 2015 Florida Companies to Watch generated a total of more than $1.2 billion in revenue and added nearly 1,000 employees between 2011 and 2014.
Together, the companies project a 23 percent increase in revenue and 19 percent increase in job growth in 2015.
“These stand-out companies are all led by entrepreneurs, and have demonstrated their capacity and intent to grow,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and associate vice president for the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization. “They also all have critical intellectual property or a niche position that gives them a competitive edge in their markets.”
For more information about Florida Companies to Watch, visit flctw.growfl.com.
Eighty-four year old Alfred Combee had quite an active life. The former fire investigator was also an avid wildlife photographer. He and his wife Anna loved to mountain bike together. Three years ago, Alfred found out he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. His disease progressed quickly. He has already lost his speech and his ability to write, which left him unable to communicate.
Alfred’s wife Anna is now his full-time caregiver. Frustration grew among them both as Alfred struggled to convey even the simplest information.
“It got to the point where he could not even tell me if he needed something,” explains Anna. “He could not communicate basic things like when he had a headache or if he needed his medicine. It is very scary when you do not know what is wrong.”
Alfred’s dream was to be able to speak to his wife again, so, his hospice social worker suggested they contact Dream Foundation. The California-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness. Dream recipients are 18 years of age and older, have received a limited prognosis, and lack the resources to fulfill their dreams themselves. Anna submitted an application on behalf of Alfred, and, much to their excitement, they were selected. With more than 20,000 dreams served since 1994, Dream Foundation has never turned away a qualified dream request.
Dream Foundation contacted Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) in Homosassa, Florida to see if they would be willing to develop and donate a device to help Alfred achieve his dream of being able to communicate with Anna. ASI manufactures the autonoMe ECU and customizes the devices to fit the specific needs of each client. When ASI president Maggie Thompson heard Alfred’s story, she was more than willing to help.
“We knew how important it was for Alfred to be able to speak to Anna,” says Maggie Thompson, President of ASI, “We sent our technical team to Alfred’s home multiple times and developed a solution which now allows him to communicate with Anna. We were determined to do whatever it took to make one of his final wishes come true.”
According to Anna, Alfred is able to type into the device, which, in turn, speaks to Anna.
“They also programmed pre-fabricated sentences he can choose from, such as ‘I need to take my medicine’ and ‘I have a headache’,” says Anna. “I can now quickly respond to what he needs. We can also have a conversation, which we could not do before.”
According to Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer, “Our organization was touched by Alfred’s story and his unique needs. Working with ASI was an encouraging and heart-warming experience that allowed us to help restore Alfred’s quality of life. We are thrilled for both him and Anna that he is once again able to communicate.”
“Alfred and I have been together for 25 years. My full time job is taking care of him. This is what you do when you love somebody,” concludes Anna. “I am grateful to both the Dream Foundation and ASI for making sure Alfred got exactly what he wanted.”
About Dream Foundation
The only national dream-granting organization for adults, Dream Foundation enhances the quality of life for individuals and their families battling life-threatening illness. Dream recipients are those individuals who have been given a year or less life expectancy. Dreams range from basic need items, like a working stove, to bedside reunions and meaningful experiences with children and loved ones. Founded in 1994, Dream Foundation serves more than 2,500 dreams each year and relies on a network of volunteers, sponsors and individual donors. For more information, visit www.dreamfoundation.org.
We would like to extend a special thank you to Megan Carella and the Citrus County Chronicle for the wonderful story about ASI in the Sunday Business section. If you missed it, be sure to check it out:
ASI proudly announces the promotion of Michael Lawrence to Inside Sales representative. He joined ASI in February 2014 as an intern and was promoted to Warehouse Inventory Specialist. In his new role, Lawrence will conduct consultations nationwide and develop customized solutions to help individuals with severe disabilities and spinal cord injuries gain control of their environment through the use of ASI’s proprietary autonoME environmental control unit. Lawrence earned a B.S. in Management and Organizational Leadership from Columbia Southern University and is currently working on his master’s degree.
We are a proud supporter of The Key Training Center, a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization serving adults with developmental disabilities. Based in Citrus County, the center provides residential, vocational and adult day services, to hundreds of developmentally disabled adults. It is the only facility of it kind in the area.
I personally commend this organization and their dedicated, compassionate staff. ASI is proud to make a contribution to help support The Key Training Center’s very important mission.
Learn more about The Key Training Center.
Accessibility Services, Inc. is proud to partner with the Citrus Sheriff/Fire Rescue on their Community Safety Net program.
The initiative is designed to teach elementary school students about fire safety and prevention. There is also a mobile app which lists community emergency contact information, national safety contact information, safety tips and community leaders. The flyer below offers additional information about the program and a QR code to download the mobile app.
Check it out and let us know what you think!
Leading Provider of Environmental Control Units Chosen From Over 500 Applicants
(Homosassa, FL) – When Maggie Thompson took the helm of Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) in 2009, she made the decision to lead the company down an ambitious path toward becoming the leading provider of environmental control units (ECU’s) in the country. Her substantial investment in research and development paid off as the $800,000 company grew to become the $7,000,000 enterprise it is today.
GrowFL recently announced ASI was named a Florida Companies to Watch finalist. According to GrowFL, the event was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation to honor second-stage companies from throughout the state for developing valuable products and services, adding quality jobs, enriching communities and creating new industries throughout Florida. A total of 101 finalists were selected from more than 500 nominations.
“We applaud these first round finalists, all of which exhibit impressive strengths in entrepreneurial leadership, product innovation, social/community responsibility and competitive business practices,” says Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL Executive Director.
The finalists, who collectively represent $694 million in annual revenue and employ 3,280 full-time equivalent employees, now advance to round two. Fifty winners will be announced in August and honored at a special awards ceremony on November 5th at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando.
“Being named a finalist for Florida Companies to Watch is such an honor,” says Thompson. “I applaud GrowFL and the Edward Lowe Foundation for taking time to recognize the hard work and sacrifices businesses such as ASI make everyday to contribute to the economic prosperity of our state. This is an exciting time for us, and we wish all the finalists best of luck!”
About Accessibility Services, Inc.
Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) is a leading provider of environmental control units (ECU’s) designed specifically for individuals with severe disabilities and spinal cord injuries. Founded in 1989 with a primary vision to help veterans, the company has since expanded its mission to address the needs of all severely disabled individuals with a special focus on the unique and exceptional needs of the quadriplegic community. ASI designs, customizes, installs and services ECU’s which enable clients to control their entire surroundings and environment, thus significantly increasing independence and improving quality of life. ASI’s proprietary autonoME unit has become one of the most popular hospital and residential devices on the market. Founder Fred Thompson’s philosophy, “we start with the customer and work backwards” has inspired ASI’s research and development engineers to stay one step ahead of technology, ensuring the company delivers the most advanced and progressive ECU solutions available. For more information, visit http://asi-autonome.com.
GrowFL was created in 2009 by the Florida legislature as an economic development program focused on assisting second-stage growth companies prosper in the state of Florida. By providing strategies, resources and support to second-stage companies for next level growth through Strategic Research, Peer Learning and Leadership Development, GrowFL helps companies overcome obstacles to growth and leads them towards prosperity. Based on the philosophy of Economic Gardening®—to grow existing businesses in a community, region or state—GrowFL, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute, is a critical component to the state’s economic development strategy and Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. GrowFL is a statewide economic development organization certified by the National Center for Economic Gardening through the Edward Lowe Foundation. GrowFL has assisted more than 800 companies through the Strategic Research and CEO Roundtable programs and recognized 200 successful entrepreneurs through the annual awards program, Florida Companies to Watch. Learn more at GrowFL.com.
This quote by Jay Danzie is one of my favorites:
“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.”
We all have an opportunity to touch the lives of people who cross our paths. The goal of everyone at ASI is to positively impact every person we meet. We value each client, physical, occupational and speech therapist, physician, caregiver and family we have the privilege to work with and serve. Thank you for your trust in us!
ALS Patient Utilizes the AutonoME ECU to Increase Independence (Spring Hill, FL) – U.S. Army veteran Michael Kelly proudly served in Vietnam. During his tour, he experienced the conflicts and hostilities of war. However, his true battles were yet to come. Kelly was diagnosed five years ago with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as […]
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- Quadriplegics and SportsFebruary 14, 2018 - 7:55 pm
Yes, You Can Play! Many people think that actively participating in sports is over once they become a quadriplegic. Adaptive equipment for quadriplegics, including environmental control units for disabled individuals, have made it possible to do more than ever before. Communication devices for quadriplegics have even given a person who has lost their ability to […]