New CEO preaches technology, inclusion

Friday, August 22, 2014

Joe Gaskins coordinated a project to move Keiko, the orca of Free Willy fame, to freedom in Iceland. Now, Gaskins, the new president and CEO of the United Spinal Association, is ready for a different challenge. He tells HME News why he got involved with the organization and where he wants it to go.

HME News: You were elected to the board of directors in April 2013 and named interim CEO in December. What brought you to United Spinal?

Joe Gaskins: I had reached a point in my life that I realized I wanted to get involved and give back to the community that had supported the Americans with Disabilities Act. I was a beneficiary of everything that had happened with the ADA. The people that really fought for what we almost take for granted in terms of accessibility—they’re getting older and the fight continues. 

HME: What is United Spinal doing well? 

Gaskins: What I see working is the tangible part of the business—the services we offer and the work that we do. The dedication and commitment of the employees is inspiring. 

HME: What could be improved?

Gaskins: We need to make sure we keep up with the times, leveraging technology to its fullest and social media to its fullest. It’s really important we understand how people communicate and we use the most effective and efficient tools to do that.

HME: What are your goals?

Gaskins: I would like to see us continue to involve and include other communities that have different disabilities but benefit by our efforts, as we benefit by theirs, including people who have had strokes, amputations or have other mobility impairments. During future Rolls on Capitol Hill, I want to make sure we include those populations, as well to speak with an even louder voice.

HME: Your background is in the wireless industry. You also coordinated a project to move Keiko. How does this background help you in your current role?

Gaskins: The business experience really helps. Also, my appreciation and understanding of all the efforts that our staff puts in on a daily basis, and recognizing them for their efforts and being very vocal about it. That encourages them to continue to do the great jobs that they do.