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New year, new focus on Avid Rehab for Merits

New year, new focus on Avid Rehab for Merits

Michael LaimanFORT MYERS, Fla. – Mike Laiman is the new president of Merits USA and all of its brands but his focus out of the gate will be Avid Rehab. 

Laiman says Avid Rehab will improve the seating for its Vector and Velocity complex rehab power wheelchairs and launch new Group 3 wheelchairs in 2021, not to mention more components and accessories “that feed into that product line.” 

“There will be a focus on high-end rehab,” he said. “We want to provide another solution to the industry, with products that will have not only function but also form. These will be good-looking products.” 

Merits, which launched Avid Rehab in 2015, also has two other brands: Precision Comfort for seat backs and cushions, and Pilot for home access products like stairlifts. 

Laiman has a long history in manufacturing, not only in the HME industry (he worked as senior vice president of operations for Pride Mobility for six years) but also in the automotive and aerospace industries. That latter experience, in particular, will help him elevate Avid Rehab’s name in the complex rehab market, he says. 

“I think we can bring discipline to the market,” he said. “I think we can provide a quality product that works great, looks good and offers a value proposition.” 

The challenge for Avid Rehab – and any manufacturer of highly technical and very hands-on products, for that matter – is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has eliminated trade shows and limited demos with HME providers and clinicians, Laiman says. 

“We’re doing a lot of Teams and Skype calls,” he said. “We’re also partnering with several providers to participate in their seminars and training. But nothing beats that touch and feel, so we’re proceeding in designing and rolling out new products, and when the time comes, we’ll be ready.” 

Laiman came out of retirement to accept the role at Merits, driven by the desire to “improve the quality of life and make things more convenient” for wheelchair users, he says. 

“It’s a great industry to be in, and it’s a great company to go get back into it with,” he said. “I look forward to working with the team here to take this organization to new heights.” 


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