NMEDA Inducts Mobility Leaders Into Industry Hall of Fame

Ralph Braun

Ralph Braun, pictured with Carolyn Watts, a member of the NMEDA Hall of Fame Committee, was recently inducted into the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) Hall of Fame.

On Feb. 24, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) inducted members into the inaugural Hall of Fame. The NMEDA Hall of Fame honors industry leaders who have helped establish and grow the automotive mobility industry.

“It is my privilege to celebrate these leaders in our industry,” said David Hubbard, NMEDA executive director and CEO. “They have helped shape today’s marketplace for automotive mobility dealers and manufacturers, and the customers they serve.”

CEO and founder of the Braun Corp. Ralph Braun was among the inductees. Braun was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child and went on to invent a motorized scooter and install lifts when the first full-sized van was introduced. His company was among the first to convert minivans to accommodate mobility equipment users.

“I want to thank the NMEDA Hall of Fame Committee for this great honor,” said Braun. “Mobility is essential to a person’s life, and it’s rewarding to know my small part in this industry has helped others live full and active lives.”

The other inductees honored Feb. 24 were

Mike Bruno, founder of Bruno Independent Living Aids

  • Provides automotive vehicle lifts
  • Encourages dealers and employees to see problems through the customer's eyes

Becky Plank, founding director of NMEDA

  • Led self-regulation of the industry
  • United businesses in 1989 to speak in one voice

Peter Ruprecht, president of Drive Master

  • Provides hand controls and lowered floor ramps
  • Known for Drive-Master Push-Pull Hand Control System
  • 62 years serving the industry

Martin Smith, owner of Alamo Mobility

  • Helped found NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP), an accreditation program for the adaptive mobility equipment industry
  • Served on numerous NMEDA committees and was vice president of the board of directors in 1996 and president two years later

Tom Wright, owner (retired) of United Access (formerly Wright-Way, Inc.)

  • Oldest converter of mobility equipment in Texas
  • Served NMEDA for 14 years as a board member and on numerous committees including QAP Compliance, Ad Hoc Insurance, Dealer/Manufacturer, Guidelines and Public Relations. He has also participated in advisory committees for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors

Among the criteria for NMEDA Hall of Fame eligibility, candidates must have served at least 10 years in the automotive mobility industry providing services to people with disabilities, must be recognized as an industry leader by their peers, and must have been an innovator and trend setter in the automotive mobility industry with direct and significant impact on the industry. Anyone in the automotive mobility industry may submit nominations to the NMEDA executive director.