<img style="float: right;" src="https:\/\/opedge.com\/Content\/OldArticles\/images\/2003-06_05\/OPTA-Logo-ShpTk.jpg" hspace="4" vspace="4" \/>\r\n\r\nWe, as technical professionals in the orthotic and prosthetic industry, have been striving for a long while to gain more control over our futures.\r\n\r\nThere have been a lot of advances made throughout the years towards getting technical education for us. A number of technicians have dedicated a large portion of their time to teaching at various state and national meetings.\r\n<h1>All of this has led up to the point where we are now.<\/h1>\r\nFive dedicated individuals met in Greenville, South Carolina,\r\nlast December to try to hammer out the type of organization we\r\ncould be proud of.\r\n\r\n<b>Ronnie N. Graves<\/b>, Prosthetics Research\r\nSpecialists, Inc., was elected chairman. <b>Peter\r\nPananciulman<\/b>, Scheck & Siress, was elected to be vice\r\nchair. <b>Steve Hill<\/b>, OTS, is the secretary. Jeff\r\nGreen, Southern Prosthetics Supply, is the treasurer. <b>Tony\r\nWickman<\/b>, Freedom Fabrication, is the political\r\nliaison.\r\n<h1>How do we as an organization, achieve our goals? What goals do\r\nwe set?<\/h1>\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Some of us already have a library of technical education\r\nliterature and materials. We need to consolidate these resources\r\nand offer them to any technical person who wants them.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>We need to develop a presence on the web and provide learning\r\nopportunities.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>We need a way for technicians to test their capabilities and\r\nearn higher standards of recognition for each step they\r\ncomplete.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>We need to educate businesses that it is in their best interest\r\nto hire and keep a credentialed technician to supervise their\r\ntechnical staff.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>We already have one company which provides on-the-road\r\nlearning. There are a couple more who provide education in their\r\nlearning centers. We all need to take full advantage of these.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>There are many state and national meetings that offer\r\neducation. In order for us to improve on our own, we need to attend\r\nthese. It gives us a more balanced look at how devices are\r\nfabricated around the country.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>Always try to improve yourself.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\nA lot of phone calls have already been received praising OPTA\r\nfor starting this endeavor. A lot of questions have been asked. Not\r\nonly are technical staff members hungry for knowledge, they also\r\nwant to actively help. Here's how:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>We need to know how fabricators are doing things. Write down\r\nyour techniques, take a few photos, and send them to us. The\r\nlibrary will consist of many ways to do the same jobs. It will be a\r\nlibrary of techniques. For a truly scientific approach, each task\r\nwill need to be able to be duplicated, repeatedly producing a\r\nquality product. Write the techniques down as if you were training\r\nsomeone who had absolutely no knowledge of how to do it. This will\r\nhelp to train people in the future.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>We need manufacturers to supply us with instructions for all of\r\ntheir products. Imagine how useful it would be to have the\r\ninstructions all in one location on the web or in one facility and\r\nto be able to fax, "snail-mail," or e-mail them.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>We need sponsors to help us make this a reality that will last\r\nlong-term. It takes teamwork.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>We need fabricators, repair people for machinery, and leaders\r\nwho have set up labs before to assist us in providing education\r\nacross the country.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\nWe also need to thank the organizations that have helped to\r\nbring technical education to where it is today: ABC [American Board\r\nfor Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics], AOPA [American\r\nOrthotic & Prosthetic Association], and AAOP [American Academy\r\nof Orthotists and Prosthetists].\r\n\r\nContact Ronnie Graves at Prosthetic Research Specialists, 720\r\nSouthland Avenue, Bushnell, Florida 33513-8394; 800.952.6744; <a href="mailto:RGraves405@aol.com">RGraves405@aol.com<\/a>.