Everything ATSA has achieved as an industry association comes back to the early vision and efforts of a remarkable group of people. Tony Mason, Greg Kline and Iain Hogg founded the association that became ATSA. That was 22 years ago, something we celebrated in May at our first ever gala dinner.
On the night, we recognised the achievements of our members, and we acknowledged the dedication and hard work of many people.
Along with our former EO, Chris Sparks OAM, Tony, Greg and Iain were awarded the first ever Acknowledgement of Industry Service awards.
None of them were aware they were going to receive an award for helping to give ATSA the strong voice that it does. That voice has led directly and indirectly to improvements in the lives of everyone who relies on assistive technology.
Shaping ATSA is just one achievement on a list that might exhaust someone else. Chris played wheelchair basketball for Australia at the 1988 Paralympics, and he’s a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to people with disability. And he achieved all that he has for people with disability while forging a 20-year career putting together and leading high-performing teams in Australia and Asia.
Many people who may never know Chris have benefited from his willingness to accept opportunities without reference to a life plan. That’s only happened when Chris said yes when encouraged to breathe new life into the Independent Rehabilitation Suppliers Association of NSW. That was the beginning of nine years spent shaping what became ATSA into the peak body for assistive technology businesses. As the peak body for the industry, ATSA has pushed hard for high standards and other improvements that have made life easier for AT consumers.
Wendy, Chris’ wife, worked tireless alongside Chris for all his years with ATSA and continued to handle accounts and assisted the ATSA team as it grew in 2021. Wendy has still been assisting the ATSA team much of the first half of 2022 as we have implemented new software and accounts team. Chris and Wendy are a seamless partnership.
Important life lessons were shared from Chris’ Dad, “Dad told us that we should always try to leave something better than when we found it. He said we should respect everyone, regardless of their station in life, but that we should never put anyone on a pedestal. The only measure of what’s important, he said, is an honest estimation of yourself in the mirror. Can you say you’re putting in more than you’re taking out?”
Chris says, “About the only thing I think I do really well is building incredibly committed teams. My basketball days helped a lot with that, I had a brilliant coach and mentor. And I think being able to build teams is a huge asset to have in business. When you have a great team, good people don’t leave, and they get things done.”
In the case of ATSA, the team that Chris helped to build continues to grow the profile and influence of a vital industry. That legacy is why Chris was the obvious choice for one of our first Acknowledgement of Industry Service awards.
Thank you, Chris, with the unwavering support of Wendy, for everything you have both done for the AT industry. The ATSA team wish Chris and Wendy a happy retirement with lots of adventures.
With more than 400 people attending the first gala dinner ATSA also acknowledged Founding Member companies – Dejay Medical, Disability Hire Vehicles, GTK, Invacare Australia, Otto Bock Australia, Peak Care Equipment, Pegasus Healthcare, Seating Dynamics/Permobil, Specialised Wheelchair Company and Sunrise Medical.
There were a number of new ATSA awards presented for the first time at the event including:
Dealer of the Year – Wild West Wheelchairs
Supplier/Manufacturer of the Year – TabTimer Pty Ltd
Australian Innovative Product of the Year – BathCheck – Showerbuddy
AT Product Consultant of the Year – Sentheesh Thiruchelvam, GTK
Industry Person of the Year – Monika Saller, GTK
Commitment to Excellence -Amin Akbarian, Mobility Engineering
We also wish to mention an existing award, submissions are open to exhibitors at ATSA Independent Living Expo, and voted by the public Best New Product of the Year – Droplet® Intelligent Hydration System –TabTimer Pty Ltd
Congratulations to all finalists and winners. Thank you to all that attended and supported the night.
Interested in nominating for 2023 or learning more about ATSA and what we offer? Call us on (02) 8006 7357 or visit www.atsa.org.au and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Linkedin.