Those of us old enough to have watched TV ads from the late 70s might remember the commercial for Remington shavers, with the famous line, “I liked it so much, I bought the company”. Here’s a variation on that theme.
At this time of year, many of us are at our most reflective, as we contemplate the fast-approaching year’s end. Many of us give thought to what we’ve achieved. One of the most rewarding, motivating aspects of working at Freedom Scientific for people throughout the company is the genuine, tangible difference our products can make. Not everyone can work for a company whose products and commitment to innovation change lives.
Recently I had the privilege of speaking with Chad Hays, a man who liked his Freedom Scientific products so much, he was able to buy the family business in which he was a partner.
Based in Ada, Ohio, Chad lives with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a condition which results in deteriorating vision over time. Chad’s condition was exacerbated a few years ago by a blood clot in his right eye, which until that time was his better one.
Doing his best to live life as a fully sighted person but with rapidly deteriorating vision, Chad was struggling. He works for his family’s insurance company, then owned for the most part by his father. As most of us know, where there’s insurance, there’s usually a lot of paperwork. Without knowledge of technology that might assist him, Chad was wondering how long he’d be able to contribute to the family business. Almost ready to give up, he was relying on employees to read material to him.
That all changed, thanks to a lucky break. The local Lions club Chad attended featured a guest presentation which included Freedom Scientific’s Mike Wood, about the technology we produce. Chad was immediately excited and wondered whether any of this tech might make a difference to his increasingly difficult work situation.
In April 2016, he purchased our MAGic™ Screen Magnification Software with speech, the MAGic Large Print Keyboard, our OpenBook® Scanning and Reading Software, a TOPAZ® PHD Portable Video Magnifier, and a RUBY® XL HD Handheld Video Magnifier.
That’s a lot of gear, but it’s an investment that has paid dividends well beyond financial return. It’s an investment that’s restored independence, dignity and hope.
After taking time to receive training with his new equipment so he could make maximum use of it on the job, Chad is confident about the future. Now, his TOPAZ is a fixture on his desk as he tackles the mountain of paperwork independently. He has a workstation at his home, allowing him to remote into the office and take care of any issue as the need arises.
In less than two years, he’s gone from being concerned about whether he’d be able to continue in his role, to going through with a family plan that at one point seemed like it might not be possible.
While holding a managerial role, Chad was a minor partner in the family business, his father being the principle partner. It’s a partnership that worked well for 18 years. When it came time for his dad to retire, Chad bought out his dad’s share of the company, and became the owner. He kept the business in the family, realizing the dream he and his dad shared, and a long-term goal they’d been working towards. He did all that by the end of 2016, the same year he adopted the technology that restored his independence at the office.
“It was a proud moment for both of us,” Chad says.
Business is thriving. With the help of good staff, Chad is running two offices, quite some distance apart.
Chad’s advice? Come to terms with vision impairment and use the tools available for a fuller life.
“I hid my vision issues for a lot of years,” he says. “At a certain point, you can no longer hide it. You need to find help, either through a Lions club or some other agency. There is help out there.”
Full credit to Chad. It makes all of us smile when we hear success stories like this. We’re proud of the facilitating role our products allow us to play. But Chad and others like him are the ones who take these products and use them to change their lives and realize their dreams.
It’s a great feeling to make a difference.