AbleNet assistsive technology transforming lives for people with disabilities

 
 

AbleNet, Making a Difference For People With Disabilities

At AbleNet, we're dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities by creating assistive technology products that transform their lives in simple, tangible, and powerful ways. We believe that all people deserve the tools to help them learn about, interact with, and participate in the world around them. Whether that's a child in the classroom, an adult recovering from an injury, a veteran with a permanent disability, or a senior who wants to remain at home, AbleNet is there to provide an "easy tech, easy value" approach to helping people improve their lives.

We develop and market over 800 technology products and curriculum solutions for professionals who serve others with disabilities, as well as the end users themselves, through our own direct channels as well as business partners worldwide. What sets AbleNet products apart is their singular focus on transforming quality of life with our "easy tech, easy value" brand promise.

Mission
AbleNet, Inc. creates "solutions in context" that excite and empower professionals who serve people with disabilities - as well as the people themselves - to transform quality of life. We develop, market, and support creative, reliable, fairly, and affordably priced solutions used by persons around the world to become active participants at home, at work, at school, and in their communities. We strive to make AbleNet's image synonymous with trust, respect, enthusiasm, creativity, fun, and simplicity. We aim to delight every customer with each contact made by AbleNet employees and offerings.

To achieve this mission and create an ever-expanding, ever-improving organization, we employ people who embrace this mission, share their talents, and work efficiently as a team.

Our Values

  • Transforming lives
  • Growth and profitability
  • Simplicity with a difference
  • Professional growth & learning organization
  • Integrity
  • Creativity/Innovation & Fun

Our History
We were founded in a preschool developmental achievement center volunteer project in 1985. In the first five years as a nonprofit, sales grew from $20,000 to $900,000. In 1990 AbleNet, Inc. became an independent for-profit enterprise. In 1998, it became 100% employee owned. The past years have brought significant growth and healthy profitability in an industry that continues to expand due to the intense need people with disabilities experience and the technological opportunities that continue to develop.

 

 
 

Market Profile

AbleNet is dedicated to serving the needs of persons with disabilities. This can include children in an educational setting or adults recovering from injury or illness. For all of these people, AbleNet products are a bridge to a life of accessibility and fulfillment. We take this responsibility seriously. In order to support these unique individuals, we constantly review their needs. We engage their feedback and develop better answers to their questions. An important link in that chain is the multitude of professionals that are equally dedicated to meeting the needs of this group: medical professionals, speech language pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, educators, administrators, parents and caregivers worldwide.


 

AbleNet’s key markets include:


Curriculum and Education


Healthcare and Hospital


Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy


Home and Community


Group Homes and Aging in Place


Veterans and Military


 

AbleNet's core product offerings include:


Switches and Access


Assistive and Alternative Communication


Environmental Controls / EADL


Mobile Device Access


Literacy and Learning Tools


Toys, Games & Entertainment


Low Vision


Mounting and Positioning Hardware

 

 
 

Board of Directors

Bill Sproull
Chairman of the Board

Bill Sproull has been involved with AbleNet since it was founded and enjoyed a long and successful career with Minneapolis-based Honeywell from 1955 to 1988. During his time with Honeywell, Sproull served in a variety of roles, including Strategic Planning, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Director of Business Development. He also served as President and Chairman of the Electronics Company, President and founder of a private airport focused on sports flying, Trustee and Chairman of the Soaring Society of America Foundation, and taught Strategic and International Management at the Graduate School of Business for the University of St. Thomas. He also holds the distinction of being inducted into the US Soaring Hall of Fame. Sproull holds a PhD in Business Administration from the American University of Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Thalhuber
President/CEO
Board of Directors

Jennifer Thalhuber joined AbleNet, Inc. as Vice President of Sales and Marketing in August 2006 and was promoted to CEO in April 2007. Thalhuber comes to her current role well grounded in business experience through numerous executive roles in sales, marketing, general management, business development, and CEO. She currently serves on several corporate boards and is President of the board of directors for the Assistive Technology Industry Association. Jen Thalhuber holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and is a chemical engineering graduate of the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology.

William Mills
Board of Directors, Chair of AbleNet Executive Committee, & Strategic Planning Chair

William Mills joined the board of AbleNet in 1999. He is President and CEO of William Mills and Associates, a well-known and successful Minnesota management and consulting firm. In addition, Mr. Mills serves as CEO of The Executive Group, a group of CEOs and presidents who meet regularly as an executive think tank, and is a partner in Red Dragon, LLC, an online brainstorming/idea management process. William Mills' work with such industry leaders as 3M, Pillsbury, ATT Wireless, and Alliant Techsystems led to his being recognized as Facilitator of the Year by Leadership Management, Inc., a national network of more than 500 training organizations. Mills is an honors graduate from the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota where he received his degree in Engineering in 1979.

Paul Sugden
Former Vice President of Finance, IT & CFO, Trustee

Paul Sugden joined AbleNet in 1990 as Head of Financial and Accounting Services and was named CFO in 2001. Prior to joining AbleNet, Sugden was employed as Controller and Treasurer of Bulan, Inc. and served as the Auditor, Financial Analyst, and Regional Controller for Minnesota Title Insurance Corporation. He is a member of NOREX, an international association of information technology professionals, and is a professional volunteer affiliate with the Boy Scouts of America. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Minnesota.

 
 

Partners

Our relationships both inside and outside the special needs market help bridge the gap, bringing exciting, fresh, and engaging content and products to people who - otherwise - would not have access to it. It is at the core of our mission to improve the lives of persons with disabilities, and our partners help us do that.




 

Don Johnston


We believe that well-trained teachers plus good teaching techniques used with innovative technologies will produce effective results.
Don Johnston empowers educators with supplemental instruction and intervention solutions to help struggling learners build core literacy skills with confidence. Watch our Corporate Overview.

www.donjohnston.com


 

UNC Center for Literacy & Disability Studies


Addressing the literacy learning needs of persons with disabilities of all ages.
The Center's mission is to promote literacy and communication for individuals of all ages with disabilities. It is the belief of the CLDS that disabilities are only one of many factors that influence an individual's ability to learn to read and write and to use print throughout their life and across their living environments. All individuals, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, have the right to an opportunity to learn to read and write in order to increase and enhance their educational opportunities, vocational success, communicative competence, self-empowerment capabilities, and independence.

www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds/index.html


 

Otto Bock Healthcare


Quality for Life
Whether it's across the room or across the world, the freedom to move from one location to another is the basis for staying connected to the people, places, and things that enrich our lives. As a global leader, Otto Bock Healthcare has been working for more than 85 years to maintain and restore human independence for millions of people.

Mobility is not a luxury. It is a necessity and can take on very different meanings at different stages of life.

Because no two children are alike, Otto Bock's pediatric wheelchairs, seating systems, and mobility products are engineered to enhance each child's quality of life and help them realize their full potential in every environment.

www.ottobockus.com


 

Advance Acceptance


Offering flexible options to meet your financial goals.
In 2000 we became a division of First Western Bank & Trust of Minot, North Dakota. This has afforded us the ability to offer low rate financing services to our commercial customers. Our dealer relationships are nationwide, built on trust, loyalty and our outstanding reputation for fast, friendly service.

www.advacc.com


 

Ten Sigma


We Know Rubrics!
Ten Sigma was founded in 1992 by John Wessels and Clyde Birkholz, both former teachers and school adminstrators, to provide educators with better and more useful tools to help them educate their students. Wessels and Birkholz study education-related research and work with educators to determine what's working and what's not, and then use that information to develop practical, usable products that aim to share the best practices in education with a wider audience.

www.tensigma.org


 

Jupiter Images


Your Search Ends Here
Partnership to create and develop symbol sets that are used in the development of curriculum and content initiatives, software solutions and product overlays for special education students.

www.jupiterimages.com


 

Stealth Products


AbleNet and Stealth Products are collaborating on developing new quick-release mounting systems for AbleNet's switch products as well as co-marketing opportunities for PT/OTs.

www.stealthproducts.com


 

Invacare


Yes, you can!
Co-marketing relationship supporting AbleNet's ECU and assistive technologies line of products. AbleNet has provided Invacare's Mobility Marketing Van with AbleNet technologies to demonstrate in homes how technology works for individuals using wheelchair solutions from Invacare.

www.invacare.com


 

Maximus


Federal requirements made actionable
Connect TIENET management software from Maximus to AbleNet's Flourish data colection and management software to track yearly IEP plans for each student and measure their progress along the way.

www.maximus.com/services/consulting/pre-k-12


 

Possum


Electronic Assistive Technology
AbleNet is thrilled to partner with the British company Possum Limited, to market and sell their product line of Environmental Control Systems (ECS) and augmentative communication solutions to the North American market. Possum Limited is a leader in the British market in developing, manufacturing, supplying, installing and supporting electronic assistive technology products and systems. AbleNet will present these same great products to our North American customers and provide all support and installations needs our customers have to help ensure our customers reach the highest level of satisfaction.

www.possum.co.uk


 

Madentec


Computer Access Solutions
For over 20 years, Madentec has been developing technologies designed to serve the computer access needs of persons with physical and mobility impairments. Although Madentec products span all age groups, the products are especially helpful in schools and rehabilitation centers, focusing on older children and adults. Madentec customers include people with spinal cord injury, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, and Cerebral Palsy. AbleNet has been working to provide the market with more computer access solutions – with the strength of the Madentec line, we are excited to combine their technology with our current product mix in order to reach more people who can benefit from Computer Access technology.

www.madentec.com


 

CanAssist


Working to create a fully inclusive society
AbleNet’s Hook iPod Audio Switch Access was developed in partnership with CanAssist, a unique Canadian organization. CanAssist at the University of Victoria is dedicated to helping people with disabilities improve their quality of life. CanAssist focuses on developing practical, customized technologies for those with disabilities, as well as providing innovative programs where there is a gap in existing services.

www.CanAssist.CA

 

 

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