This month, CreateAbility celebrates its 20th anniversary. And what would a 20th anniversary be without a nostalgic (and obligatory) moment to reminisce about how our company came to be – and take a look at where we are headed!
Interview with Steve Sutter, President of CreateAbility Concepts, Inc., 1/06/2021
Q: Why did decide to start CreateAbility? What was the driving force behind it?
SS: I was working for Hewlett Packard, and really enjoyed it, but felt a growing need to do something more meaningful. I also had 15 years+ experience serving as a Special Olympics volunteer. One day I had a I would call a “divine experience” that resulted in the opportunity to combine my love for technology and my passion for helping those with disabilities. Thus, CreateAbility was born. (Side story: My 10-year-old son played a large role in naming the company. As I was brainstorming names, he asked, “Dad, aren’t you trying to create ability? So…”
Q: What was the first solution you created and why?
SS: CreateAbility’s first product was QwikClick.
Many of us appreciate the word completion features in our devices, but in 2001, that didn’t exist. Now imagine not having the use of your fingers to type. QwikClick helped people with spastic Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Cord injuries, and other people who must rely on a combination of single or dual switches and the “scanning” capability in QwikClick to help them type an average of 32 times faster.
Since then, we’ve produced 9 technology solutions for people with intellectual disabilities and traumatic brain injuries and are doing business in 30+ states!
Q: What do you attribute growth of company to?
Our incredible team; each of which brings their own unique personalities and skillsets to each-and-every solution we offer.
Our amazing customers. Our customers are selfless givers who make a huge difference in the world we live in. It’s a sincere honor to serve people who serve people.
Q: What challenges have you overcome along the way?
SS: We’ve ridden the ebb and flow of sales cycles that coincide with varying economies, as do our clients and everyone else. But each time, we not only survived, we became stronger and more resilient.
Over the years I’ve learned to defer to the words that M. Scott Peck penned inThe Road Less Travelled:
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it, then life is no longer difficult.
This passage always helps me put things in perspective as I apply the concept equally to failure. Once we accept that failure is part of the process, we no longer fear it and can use it to propel us to greater outcomes.
Q: What are the top three things you have learned in this industry?
Sometimes providers get nervous when technology is implemented. Some tend to think it’s there to do what they do for their clients. We’ve learned to cater our approach to let them know that technology simply enhances their ability to serve their clients; but technology will never replace them.
Be humble, stay humble.
Be flexible because the only constant in life is change! NEED ONE MORE AS I MOVED THE BOOK PHRASE TO OTHER SECTION.
What is one of your most favorite success stories?
SS: Through the years, I have had the opportunity to witness how technology can change the lives of the people we build it for.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting clients in their homes and seeing how our technology solutions helped them “come out of their shells” and give them more confidence around others. (Example: Brett, client with Autism Spectrum Disorder who was fascinated by all-things-trains.) I’ve visited employees on job sites and watched them use MeMinder to manage their tasks like a boss! And though it’s a sensitive subject, I have been grateful knowing that MyBrain technology has saved at least one person from self-harm and has minimized others’ exposure to COVID-19 by reducing the number of unnecessary ER visits within the IDD population.
Likewise, it’s so validating hearing stories of providers and job coaches that are able to handle their own responsibilities more efficiently with the use of technology.
What do you see in store for the company in the future?
More and more, people are searching for a remote, or virtual option in many aspects of their lives. Organizations are following suit. Additionally, the pandemic helped push the idea of “going remote” up the list of priorities. Now, and into the future, we will put more of our funding and support into solutions, features and enhancements that make it easer for providers to operate effectively on a remote basis.
Continue the celebration with a CreateAbility *BOGO promotion on Employment Pathfinder and MeMinder now until 03/31/22. Click here to learn more!
*Cannot be combined with any other solution discount.