banner

The New Stuff

national-ramp-cover-photo
1769 Views

Avoiding Slippery Slopes with Garth Walker and National Ramp


Editor’s Note: After selling his prior business, Garth Walker went to work for his father’s home modification company. When presented with the opportunity, Walker, along with his partners, bought National Ramp in 2010 and have been growing and improving the product line ever since. National Ramp dealers service the entire United States and Canada and all products are manufactured exclusively in the USA. Wheel:Life writer, Betsy Bailey, chatted with Walker to learn how they gained so much traction in the ramp industry.

How We Work

nationalramp-private-home-aluminum-ramp-750x563

National Ramp sells through a dealer network, and that really sets us apart from a customer service standpoint. With our previous home modification business, we used to be a National Ramp dealer. That helped us tremendously once we got into the manufacturing business. We knew the pitfalls and frustrations that can go along with being in the field two hours away from your shop, and you’re missing some parts that the manufacturer forgot to ship, so you can’t finish the job. Your customer is upset, you’re upset, and you just wasted your time and your seller’s time and everybody is really frustrated. Not only does our previous experience as a dealer help us to see their point of view from a service standpoint, but also we are able to give them a tremendous amount of knowledge from a marketing standpoint because of the fact that we’ve been in their industry, and we’ve really focused heavily on building our brand and getting our name out to the marketplace.

National RampWhen we took over the helm at National Ramp, we designed a unique program to support our dealer network. It is a full comprehensive program to train our dealers, not just on how to put the ramps together and the technical side of it, but also to train them on sales and marketing techniques that we had learned while in the industry. We realized that if we can help our dealers sell more product by giving them tools, training, ideas, and support, it’s better business for both of us. If we help our dealers sell more ramps, then we sell more ramps, and now everybody is getting more business.

We took all of that experience and transformed it into the “Ramp It Up” training program. That was really a breakthrough in the industry. We put together some fantastic tools to help them sell, such as an online ramp configurator, so that they can go out in the field and draw a ramp right then and there, so the customer knows what it will look like. We also give them a second to none product line that enables them to close every deal. We have aluminum ramps, steel ramps, and we came out with the very first modular wood ramp in the industry.

Our Ramps: Your Freedom, Your Choice

Aluminum

aluminum-ramp1

We introduced the very first aluminum open mesh ramp design in the industry. The open mesh ramp has some extremely valuable characteristics to it, such as the ability for rain, melting snow, and even snow itself to actually pass through the surface, therefore providing a very safe ramp with ultimate traction for people going up and down a slope. There’s no puddling because it has natural drainage. If there is snow on the ramp, the snow can pass through. If it starts to melt, it can drip and go through the ramp rather than melting, then puddling, then refreezing.

Steel

nr_steel_sh-1

When we started doing the aluminum open mesh ramps, our dealers were very excited and happy to have a unique selling proposition. However, it is more expensive than some of the steel ramps out there. So, we came up with another product: a powder-coated steel mesh ramp. It has all the advantages of the open mesh, but it takes away some of the major problems with steel ramps, namely the rust issue. The way powder coating works is you take your raw steel, you treat it, and then you apply a very fine powder coating to it. It’s kind of like paint, but in powder form. We actually charge the steel ramp with electromagnetic forces, and then we charge the powder coating itself, so they’re both statically charged. We spray the powder coating onto the metal, and because they’re both charged, the particles cling to the metal. Then we take the powder-coated pieces and put them in an extremely high heat oven, which bakes the finish onto the steel. The net result is that it’s basically twice as durable as a painted finish, so it’s protecting the steel much more. Even if it gets scratched and the raw steel is exposed, it doesn’t flake off like paint does. It’s a much better product than anything else out there, because other steel ramps will rust very quickly and look awful.

Wood

nr_wood_sh-1As we continued to grow our business and meet with our dealers, we asked them what challenges they were facing. One of the challenges was losing ramp sales to contractors who were custom making wooden ramps for homes. Of course, being a manufacturer, you have to look at the needs in the marketplace, and one of the needs was for a modular wood ramp that we could sell to our dealers and they could sell to their customers for the same price or less that you could get a custom-built wood ramp for. It normally takes a contractor anywhere between three to five days to build a custom ramp, not to mention the fact that it’s a permanent addition to the home, so there may be property tax implications, requirements for building permits, concrete footings, and all that sort of thing. Our ramp is a temporary modular ramp that you can put up in two to three hours. Someone can get a wood ramp the next day. These are temporary, freestanding, modular ramps, so the majority of time, a building permit is not required.

Rubber

nr_rubberthresholdramp_nocrops-2

For someone who has a really small threshold at their door and they just need to get over that bump without jarring themselves in their wheelchair every time they go in and out, we have rubber ramps. You can get right down to a 1/4 inch all the way up to 5 inches. It’s a giant rubber wedge that you put at the threshold and it helps you transition up and down over the doorway.

Why Choose One Over the Other?

It often comes down to pricing, but also aesthetics and personal taste. That’s why our slogan is “Your Freedom, Your Choice”.

Weathering the Storm

We have tie-down kits that are used for areas prone to hurricanes. When Hurricane Sandy came through the Northeast, it hit New Jersey and Long Island pretty badly. The whole boardwalk in Long Beach, New York, got washed out to sea. One of our mesh ramps was at Long Beach Medical Center and the floodwaters camp up through that ramp; just like rain and melted snow can pass through the top, floodwaters rising went right through the ramp as well. So while many other ramps were lifted up and washed out to sea, our ramps were actually in good condition after the storm because they were able to weather the flood. That was an interesting phenomenon that we hadn’t even thought about until Hurricane Sandy came through.

Giving Back

We donated a ramp to the Ronald McDonald House in Albany, New York, which provides housing for people that need to live in the area because their child is going to a hospital nearby.

national-ramp-photo1

We provided the ramp so that children with disabilities or those undergoing medical treatment can get in and out of the house.

A woman in Yonkers had a ramp at her house, and right before Christmas one year, someone stole it. One of our dealers got wind of it and called us up and said if we donated a new ramp, they’d put it in at no charge. So we said absolutely!

We’re a huge supporter of the VA and we donate every month to worthy veteran causes, like the Wounded Warrior Project, Paralyzed Veterans of America, etc. Charity is a huge part of our lives.

Editor’s Note: For more stories on how National Ramp gives back, visit their blog.

Serving Veterans

building-a-ramp

The government provides ramps to Veterans. There are so many Veterans out there that need ramps. We are very fortunate to have won a large government contract recently to provide ramps to Veterans. I don’t think enough Veterans are aware that the VA will provide them a ramp if they need it.

New Products in the Works

We’re really excited about two brand new product lines that are in the works. We have two new prototypes, and we’re in the testing phase right now. In two to three months we’ll be able to tell you exactly what they are!

How To Get One of Our Ramps

Go onto our website and get an education about the different ramps. Then all you need to do is pick up the phone and call 1-877-884-7267 (toll free) or fill out the web form on the Contact page and let us know you’re looking for a dealer in your area. We’ll put you in touch with one immediately.

Knowledge is Freedom

national-ramp-guy-fishing

I think the biggest thing that we can share with Wheel:Life readers is information. A lot of folks out there are not aware of ramps and what ramps can do for them. They’re not aware that a modular ramp can go up so quickly. We had an incident in my family where my dad was in a car accident a couple of summers ago, and he broke his kneecap. He was able to get a ramp the next day, so that he could get in and out of his house and get his life back. We able-bodied people take it for granted that we can wake up in the morning and just do everything. Someone who is disabled doesn’t have that luxury. With my dad, he was a perfectly healthy, walking individual one day, and the next day he was in a wheelchair and couldn’t do anything. He couldn’t get out of his house.

We’re giving him and millions of others their freedom back; we’re giving them their lives back.

beach-wheelchair-national-rampIf you need to go to the doctor’s so you can get better, you can’t get there when you’re stuck in your house like that. You can’t get out and go play bingo, or go see your grandkids, or go to the park and just enjoy life. I think education on what is possible with ramps is such a huge task for us. It’s amazing when we go north and cross the border into Canada, the lack of knowledge about ramps is staggering. People don’t know that you can get a modular ramp. They automatically think “if I need a ramp, I need to get a huge wooden ramp in my front yard, and it’s going to be ugly and massive, and take away from the resale value of my house.”

It’s just such a huge mind block that they end up not doing anything. We’ve seen so many crazy, dangerous things, like people getting carried up and down the stairs, or people putting a sheet of plywood at their front door. If people were aware of ramps and that we have the ability to do a modular ramp pretty much anywhere they need it, or even get a rubber threshold ramp at the door, it would make everyone’s life so much better.

About the Author

betsy-bailey-headshot

Betsy Bailey has a diverse background including experience in marketing research at American Express, business operations and client relations with 601am, travel and culinary writing with VegDining, and playing volleyball professionally overseas.

Betsy is excited to get back into writing, something she’s adored since childhood, and thoroughly enjoys the process of getting to know her interviewees. On top of her work with Wheel:Life, she also teaches students learning English as a second language, speaks French fluently, and travels any chance she gets!

Recently Published

abilities-expo-toronto-2
»

Experience It All At the Abilities Expo!

Days are becoming shorter, nights longer, and the holiday season is ...

me_northeast-passage
»

ParaSportsLive: Bringing Adaptive Sports Coverage to the World

Editor’s Note:  When wheelchair user Tony Jackson’s original ...

cure-medical-october
»

Introducing the New Cure Ultra Coude Intermittent Catheter for Men

Cure Medical has unveiled the new 16-inch Cure Ultra® Coude ...

each-by-name-1
»

Get Ready for Rolling With Me’s Each By Name Conference

Wheel:Life, Comfort Medical, and Rolling With Me is excited to ...

smooth-sailing-with-david-gaston9
»

Smooth Sailing with David Gaston

Editor’s Note:  A Texas coast native, David Gaston has been in and ...

Husband and handicapped wife taking stroll in park alley
»

Gain Traction This Fall with National Ramp

Summer is officially over and dreary winter weather is on its way. ...

wheelchair-dance-organization-21
»

Wheelchair Dancers Organization Says Everybody Can Dance!

When life-long dancer Beverly Weurding was diagnosed with limb-girdle ...

malaise-wheelchair-fitness4
»

Pursuing Health and Happiness with Malaise Wheelchair Fitness

Editor’s Note: Justin Malaise grew up in small-town Wisconsin as a ...

kim-brown-cover
»

Former Ms. Wheelchair Illinois Continues to be a Voice for the Community

Editor’s Note: Born with spina bifida, Kim Brown has been a ...

img_00261
»

Dare to Discover the World of Accessible Travel With Handiscover

Editor’s Note: Sebastien Archambeaud has always loved traveling, so ...

pediatric-hydrophilic-cure-catheter1
»

Made for Kids! The Pediatric Hydrophilic Cure Catheter + Free Backpack Program

Parents only want what’s best for their children and keeping them ...

jhudson-featured
»

Wheeling, Driving, Bowling, Preaching, Parenting…Johnny Hudson Does It All Hands-free!

Editor’s Note: Johnny Hudson was born in 1977 with unforeseen ...

Pat Dougherty explains FreeWheel to a new fan at a recent Abilities Expo.
»

The Abilities Expo is Coming To Boston!

Boston awaits with open arms. This September 8–10, head over to the ...

margarita-7
»

Comfort Conversations: Change Starts with You – Becoming an Advocate

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

wheelchairtravel14
»

WheelchairTravel.org: Blazing the Trail Towards an Accessible World  

Editor’s Note: After sustaining severe burns during a car accident ...

ag-featured
»

The Artfully Gifted Foundation – Serving Entrepreneurs with Disabilities

Editor’s Note: The Artfully Gifted Foundation (a non-profit) was ...

jose-gonzalez-on-how-the-scrs-il-can-help-you-live-independently24
»

How the SCRS-IL Can Help You Live Independently

Editor’s Note: When triple degree holder Jose Gonzalez returned ...

peter-arballo-1
»

Peter Arballo Never Gave Up on Himself — Neither Should You

Editor’s Note: Peter Arballo was born in Southern California to ...

michael-johnson-racing-8
»

Full Speed Ahead with Endurance Racer Michael Johnson

Editor’s Note: Michael Johnson of Lansing, Michigan, started racing ...

monica-vickers9
»

The Extraordinary Life of Triple Amputee Monica Vickers

Editor’s Note: Monica Vickers was born in 1954 missing both legs ...

rick-hayden-rolls-on-capitol-hill-for-your-rights1
»

Rick Hayden Rolls on Capitol Hill for Your Rights

When Rick Hayden visited the US Capitol last week, he went with your ...

abilities-expo-chicago-2017
»

Gear Up for Abilities Expo Chicago

Calling all Midwesterners — Abilities Expo is coming to Chicago! As ...

angel-city-sports-12
»

Run, Jump, and Throw Stuff with Angel City Sports

Editor’s Note: Clayton Frech is the CEO and founder of Los ...

1coach-koz2
»

Sled Hockey with Coach Koz

Editor’s Note: Sled hockey (also known as sledge hockey) is almost ...

Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL
»

Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL

Editor’s Note: Mary Marshall, founder of STYLEDWEL, created ...

kristina-rhoades11
»

Following Your Inner Guidance with Kristina Rhoades and How National Ramp is Helping Her Do It

Editor’s Note: Kristina Rhoades is a mom, wife, speaker, writer, ...

men who use wheelchairs
»

Comfort Conversations: Finding Encouragement Through Peer Support Groups

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

wheellife1
»

Allen Beauchamp on Life, Love and Hockey

My name is Allen Beauchamp, and I’m 43 years old. I live in a ...

altolife9
»

Yoocan Get Empowered!

Editor’s Note: Inspired by a family member with disabilities, Moshe ...

cure-medical-catheter
»

Introducing the Cure Ultra: Ready to Use Catheter for Men

Cure Medical has unveiled the new 16-inch Cure Ultra™ Intermittent ...

manual-wheelchair-skills-800
»

Refuel and Rejuvenate At Abilities Expo New York Metro

East coasters, or anyone within striking distance, gear up for ...

criptado7
»

Criptaedo: Breaking Boards and Barriers

Editor’s note: Paul Brailer, aka Criptaedo, was born with spina ...

stella5_small
»

Rolling Forward with Amputee Advocate Stella Sieber

I’m currently 63 years old and live in Durham, North Carolina. ...

mallory_black-and-white-quickie-photo-shoot_july-2016
»

Stroke by Stroke: Moving Forward with Mallory Weggemann

Editor’s Note: At 18 years old, Mallory Weggemann walked into the ...

Margarita Cover Photo
»

Comfort Conversations: Finding Your New Normal After a Spinal Cord injury

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

wheelchair-daddy-1
»

Glenn Moscoso: Wheelchair Daddy

Editor’s note:  Glenn Moscoso is a husband and father living with ...

national-ramp-cover-photo
»

Avoiding Slippery Slopes with Garth Walker and National Ramp

Editor’s Note: After selling his prior business, Garth Walker went ...

national-sports-center-for-the-disabled4
»

The National Sports Center for the Disabled: Finding Self-Confidence through Personal Challenge

Editor’s Note: The National Sports Center for the Disabled, founded ...

susies-travels
»

Wheeling around the World with Susie Twydell

Editor’s Note: Based in England, Susie Twydell, an avid traveler ...

What rolls through your mind as you approach your own journey?
»

Amplitude Media Group: Closing the Information Gap

Wheel:Life is thrilled to announce their newest community partner, ...

wow-2
»

Accessible Hiking, Camping and Fishing? WOW!  

Editor’s Note: Wilderness on Wheels (WOW) is a foundation and a ...

the-woody-foundation-6
»

Comfort Conversations: Events, Free Packs, and More with James “Woody” Beckham

Editor’s Note: The Woody Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit ...

S
»

Jenn Sexton Shares Her Secret for Independence: An Extra Long Cure Catheter

Jenn Sexton was five weeks pregnant when she and her husband, Thomas, ...

img_2236glen-schlotterbeck
»

Glen Schlotterbeck: Reinvent Yourself!

Editors note: As a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Glen ...

The-Abilities-Expo-6
»

Educate, Energize, and Enlighten at Abilities Expo Los Angeles

The Abilities Expo is back in Los Angeles and gearing up to show you ...

14juan-sebastian
»

Juan Sebastian Betancourt: Changing the Way Businesses Serve People with Disabilities

Editor’s Note: Juan Betancourt is on a path to change the world for ...

yogya-borobudur_ai
»

AccessibleIndonesia: Making Travel Accessible in a Non-Accessible Country

Editor’s note: Kerstin Beise, a German physiotherapist, who also ...

hydred-cover
»

A Lesson on Living Life to the Fullest with Hydred Makabali

Editor’s note: Hydred Makabali, born and raised in England and now ...

Up/Down Team Champions (Top L to R) Shane Hayden, Harold Collins (Seated L to R) Gary Bowling, Kenneth Hill, and Don Law
»

Knocking Down The Pins of Life with Wheelchair Bowling Champion Kenneth Hill

Editor’s Note: Fifty-year-old Kenneth Hill from Plainfield, ...

10-2take-your-wings-and-fly-with-denise-horn
»

Take Your Wings and Fly with Denise Horn

Editor’s Note: Fifty-six-year-old Denise Horn of Janesville, ...

ashley-hudson
»

Ashley Hutson Wilson Beat a Small Chance of Survival to Live a Full Life

Editor’s Note: Thirty-one year old Ashley Hutson Wilson from Kyle, ...

wheely-guitars-mel-header
»

Jam with Mel Bergman: Creator of Wheely Guitars

Editor’s Note: Mel Bergman of Camarillo, California, is the ...

gary-boxing-friend
»

Gary “Tiger” Balletto: Champion Prize Fighter Who Rolls with the Punches

Editor’s Note: You can capture a ferocious wild tiger and put him ...

9 Robby Heisner
»

Meet Robby Heisner: Creative Entrepreneur on Wheels

Editor’s Note: Robby Heisner of Smyrna, Georgia ...

Joseph Logar1
»

The National Rifle Association’s Adaptive Shooting Program with Dr. Joseph Logar

Dr. Joseph Logar Editor’s Note: Dr. Joseph Logar has his doctorate ...

rollettes-2
»

The Rollettes Take On an E.P.I.C. Project to Empower Others

Editor’s Note: Chances are, you’ve seen these ladies ...

medicare-access-header
»

Speak Up Now to Save Your Wheelchair: Fight Medicare Cuts

Your window is narrowing to preserve access to mobility equipment – ...

engineered for adventure GRIT
»

Go Further Together with GRIT: Stories of Community Support

Our friends at GRIT, the makers of the revolutionary Freedom Chair, ...

military-gang
»

Paralyzed Veteran’s Mom Awarded Dream Trip by ElDorado Mobility

Editor’s Note: Serving our country as a military service member is ...

4Kenneth Perry
»

Wheelchair Karate: Attack the Attacker with Kenneth Perry

Editor’s Note: Kenneth Perry from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ...

5 Tom Cannalonga
»

Ditch Your Chair to Sit-Ski the Slopes with Tom Cannalonga 

Editor’s Note: Fifty-two-year-old Tom Cannalonga lives in Edison, ...

wlbannerFBfall
»

Welcome to Wheel:Life

We are so glad you’re here! Wheel:Life is a global initiative ...

%d bloggers like this: