As an author, public speaker and disability advocate, Mark E. Smith has made quite a name for himself in the mobility industry. In a way, this path was already laid out for the 43-year-old California native.
"I was born and raised in disability culture," Mark said. "It was a big part of my life then, and it's an even bigger part of my life now."
Mark, who was born with cerebral palsy, works as a manager at Quantum Rehab®. In his spare time, he reaches out to people in the disability community through public speaking and his website, WheelchairJunkie.com.
Between speaking engagements, trade shows and meetings with customers in the field, Mark is constantly on the go, and his Quantum Q6 Edge® Power Chair helps him get around much more easily.
"With my Edge, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I'll always get where I need to go," Mark said. "The chair's maneuverability and overall compactness are second to none."
Mark is also a full-time single father. His daughter, Emily, is 17 years old and a nationally recognized youth scholar. Having an Edge allows him to spend precious time with her.
"I've worn many hats throughout my life, but at the end of the day, I always think of myself as a dad," Mark said. "My Edge allows me to be the best father I can be."
As a manager at Quantum, Mark gives input on various projects, conveys marketing needs and provides consumer feedback to the company's Research and Development team, all in the interest of making consumer-centric products.
"I'm always interested in what others are doing," Mark said. "Seeing mobility technology make a difference in people's lives inspires the work I do every day."
Mark is also one of the most prolific writers in the mobility industry. Since 2007, he has written a monthly column for New Mobility, and he has published four books. His latest book, Wheels of Change, chronicles the 40-year history of modern complex rehab technology as well as its impact on many people's lives, including his own.
"I always said I would be happy if I could help just one person," Mark said. "Being able to help thousands of people, through my writing and speaking efforts, is beyond anything I've ever dreamed."
Mark says that through all of his experiences, he has learned that people who have disabilities are truly just people after all.
"We all have points in our lives when we face challenges," Mark said. "Having the support of others who have been in similar situations is important. Those relationships can prove to be among the most valuable ones we will ever form."