Sunrise cuts DynaVox loose

Saturday, July 31, 2004

LONGMONT, Colo. - Six years after Sunrise Medical acquired DynaVox Systems, the nation’s second largest HME manufacturer has legally severed its connection to the Pittsburgh-based assistive technology company.

The ownership of the company, however, remains the same, as does the management and its operations, according to Sunrise CEO Mike Hammes.

“[DynaVox] was growing at 20%, maybe 30%, and it needed a lot of cash to make acqusitons,” said Hammes. “We thought it better for them to finance themselves. That’s why it’s been separated out.”

In the past year, the $50 million supplier of communication devices to people with such disabilities as cerebral palsy, autism and Down Syndrome has acquired two significantly smaller, but “highly profitable” companies, said Hammes. San Diego-based Mayer-Johnson and Brookfield, Wisc.-based Enkidu Research.

Mayer-Johnson sells low-end speech aids and has ownership of the most popular basic language of augmentative speech, according to Hammes. Enkidu also distributes low-end assisted voice technology.