<img style="float: right;" src="https:\/\/opedge.com\/Content\/OldArticles\/images\/2004-05_04\/Mills-Jodi.jpg" hspace="4" vspace="4" \/>\r\n\r\nAs a member of the third generation of a treasured family business, Robert E. Arbogast, commonly referred to as "Bob", strives daily to fulfill his given role in continuing his grandfather's legacy. A modest and unassuming gentleman, he and the family of employees of Ohio Willow Wood, Mount Sterling, Ohio, work towards one common vision.\r\n\r\nThis vision entails becoming a world leader in "leveling the\r\nplaying field" between the physically unchallenged and all the\r\npeople who find themselves at a disadvantage due to limb loss or\r\nlimb dysfunction. They believe this is one of the primary purposes\r\nfor their existence. The company's success since the early 1900s is\r\na testimony to their devotion to this cause.\r\n<table class="clsTableCaption" style="float: right;">\r\n<tbody>\r\n<tr>\r\n<td><img src="https:\/\/opedge.com\/Content\/OldArticles\/images\/2004-05_04\/ArbogastComposite.jpg" alt="(Above, left) William E. Arbogast with wife, Mary Johnson Arbogast. (Left) Edwin Arbogast II, Bob's father in his younger years." \/><\/td>\r\n<\/tr>\r\n<tr>\r\n<td>(Above, left) William E. Arbogast with wife, Mary Johnson Arbogast. (Left) Edwin Arbogast II, Bob's father in his younger years.<\/td>\r\n<\/tr>\r\n<\/tbody>\r\n<\/table>\r\nBob was born into an O&P manufacturing family.\r\nHis grandfather, William E. Arbogast, survived a tragic railroad\r\naccident that led to the amputation of both legs. His fate\r\ncontinues to impact the lives of others. Dissatisfied with the\r\nprostheses available to him, he began carving legs from the willow\r\ntrees on his farm--thus the name Ohio Willow Wood. What followed is\r\nnothing short of amazing. The Sterling Stump Sock was created,\r\nbecoming the standard sock within the industry. Edwin and John,\r\nWilliam's sons and the second generation of the family business,\r\nenhanced the company's ground-breaking ideas by co-developing the\r\nfirst semi-finished, lower extremity, above-knee prosthesis in the\r\nUS that incorporated interchangeable parts. The 60s brought the\r\nSACH-Foot, the first cosmetically appealing solid ankle cushion\r\nheel foot manufactured in the US. Grandsons Bob and Joe, the third\r\ngeneration, joined the business and by the 1980s were infusing a\r\nlarge dose of youth and energy into the company. This included\r\nconstruction of a new plant along with an innovative research and\r\ndevelopment department that focused on bringing new technology to\r\nprosthetics and orthotics. The Carbon Copy II prosthetic foot made\r\nits debut in 1984 as the first conventional lightweight,\r\nenergy-storing prosthetic foot to utilize carbon composites. The\r\nyear 1995 brought yet another first, a fabric covered gel liner\r\nchristened the Alpha\u00ae Liner. What was the mantra running\r\nthrough the company? Take pride in being the first to develop\r\nquality products that will ultimately assist the physically\r\nchallenged to live in comfort and lead a functionally normal\r\nlifestyle.\r\n<h1>Carrying on the Legacy<\/h1>\r\n<table class="clsTableCaption" style="float: right; width: 59.5726%;">\r\n<tbody>\r\n<tr>\r\n<td style="width: 100%;"><img src="https:\/\/opedge.com\/Content\/OldArticles\/images\/2004-05_04\/Arbogast1.jpg" alt="Bob and friend, Eddy Mason, enjoy Ohio Willow Wood Company picnic." \/><\/td>\r\n<\/tr>\r\n<tr>\r\n<td style="width: 100%;">Bob and friend, Eddy Mason, enjoy Ohio Willow Wood Company picnic.<\/td>\r\n<\/tr>\r\n<\/tbody>\r\n<\/table>\r\nIt's quite a legacy to inherit, let alone live up to. But Bob Arbogast is meeting the challenge with intelligence, grace, and resolve. When asked what advice he would offer to someone just starting his or her own O&P business, he stated, "Maintain a high level of integrity and honesty in every situation. Never, never waiver. And don't just treat others as you would yourself. Treat them better." Ohio Willow Wood's goal is to refine the products and processes they offer and continue to invest in new technology that helps them to achieve their goal of "leveling the playing field." He will tell you that although they may not always perform as well as others, if those who perform better pause to rest, Ohio Willow Wood will ultimately leave them in their wake.\r\nThe family of employees is both committed and determined to freeing the spirit through freeing the bodies of amputees worldwide.\r\n<h1>Honing Leadership Skills<\/h1>\r\nBob's leadership skills were honed at a young age. He received\r\nthe rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America as a youth and was\r\nawarded the Silver Beaver Award as an adult. Pursuing an\r\nengineering curriculum, he graduated from the College of\r\nEngineering of Ohio State University. Being involved in many and\r\nvaried causes and organizations has given Bob much satisfaction\r\nthrough the years. Serving as the chairperson for the AOPA Board of\r\nDirectors was the highlight of his volunteer career to date. Bob\r\nexpressed it this way: "Chairmanship of AOPA was the most rewarding\r\nopportunity I have received through service to my profession.\r\n\r\nThrough this experience I had the opportunity to interact with\r\nindividuals whose integrity and honesty is beyond reproach." This\r\nis quite a testimony to his devotion and genuine love for his\r\nchosen field and his colleagues. Being named as inventor or\r\nco-inventor on over 20 US patents involving products that enhance\r\nthe lives of others has also been an exceptional achievement for\r\nboth Bob and his brother Joe, vice president of the family\r\nbusiness.\r\n<table class="clsTableCaption" style="float: right;">\r\n<tbody>\r\n<tr>\r\n<td><img src="https:\/\/opedge.com\/Content\/OldArticles\/images\/2004-05_04\/ArbogastKids.jpg" alt="Bob's four kids in 1994: (from left) Lisa Arbogast-Jones, Michelle Arbogast-Paul, Ryan Arbogast, and Leslie Arbogast." \/><\/td>\r\n<\/tr>\r\n<tr>\r\n<td>Bob's four kids in 1994: (from left) Lisa Arbogast-Jones, Michelle Arbogast-Paul, Ryan Arbogast, and Leslie Arbogast.<\/td>\r\n<\/tr>\r\n<\/tbody>\r\n<\/table>\r\nBeing a man of integrity and honesty is reflected\r\nin his personal life as well. Bob was born in Mount Sterling, Ohio,\r\nand has lived there all his life. Involvement in many leadership\r\npositions in his church, serving the community through chairmanship\r\nof the local airport authority, chairperson of the local community\r\ncenter, and village council member are significant components of\r\nBob's persona. His interests are many and varied: golf, auto\r\nracing, home electronics, holding a private pilot's license,\r\nassembling model airplanes and gas and electric model cars,\r\nwoodworking, inventing and fixing things. However his greatest joy\r\nis derived from time with family "doing anything" as he so purely\r\nput it. His love for his wife Patricia and their four wonderful\r\n(his words) and infallible (their words) children is apparent as he\r\ncomments on their lives and achievements. Patricia is a tolerant\r\ncompanion and loving wife that is "employed" as a Meals on Wheels\r\nvolunteer, a Bible Study Fellowship volunteer, and English and\r\nreading tutor as well as numerous other positions that pay\r\nemployees with a "thank you" instead of a paycheck. Michelle, their\r\noldest, has a degree in sociology and psychology. She and her\r\nhusband are the parents of Bob and Patricia's grandchildren,\r\nKatelyn and Isaac. Lisa, their second child, has a degree in\r\nbusiness administration and human resources management. Both she\r\nand her husband are employees in the family business. Daughter\r\nnumber three is Leslie who has a degree in public relations and is\r\npursuing a career in modern dance. Bob's youngest is Ryan, who\r\ngraduated from the College of Business Administration from his\r\nfather's alma mater. He too is currently employed at Ohio Willow\r\nWood.\r\n<h1>O&P's Future: Bob's View<\/h1>\r\n<table class="clsTableCaption" style="float: right;">\r\n<tbody>\r\n<tr>\r\n<td><img src="https:\/\/opedge.com\/Content\/OldArticles\/images\/2004-05_04\/OWWExecutives.jpg" alt="Executive staff from left: Mitch Neff, director of human resources; Jim Colvin, director of engineering; Mark Ford, director of marketing; Bruce Helwagon, vice president of accounting. Seated in front, Bob Arbogast, president\/owner. Not pictured: Ben Elliott, general manager; and Greg Neal, director of information technology." \/><\/td>\r\n<\/tr>\r\n<tr>\r\n<td>Executive staff from left: Mitch Neff, director of human resources; Jim Colvin, director of engineering; Mark Ford, director of marketing; Bruce Helwagon, vice president of accounting. Seated in front, Bob Arbogast, president\/owner. Not pictured: Ben Elliott, general manager; and Greg Neal, director of information technology.<\/td>\r\n<\/tr>\r\n<\/tbody>\r\n<\/table>\r\nWhat lies ahead in the future of orthotics and\r\nprosthetics? If you ask Bob, he'll define it as "a tremendous\r\nopportunity for the prosthetic community to make a positive impact\r\non the lives of those in need of our products and services\r\nworldwide." He will also admit that there are obstacles to be\r\nencountered along the way. "High costs associated with some new\r\ntechnology can create moral issues that will need to be addressed.\r\nPolicing choices and assuring that each consumer receives no more\r\nthan that which is actually beneficial is causing great concern and\r\ncould potentially do great harm to our cause," states Bob. He\r\nbelieves failure to apply sound clinical judgment throughout the\r\nrehabilitation process, beginning with product selection and\r\njustification, will result in increased scrutiny by payment\r\nproviders and could ultimately deprive candidates of all but the\r\nmost basic solutions. Bob expects the profession to continue to be\r\nattracted to the technological advances available, but anticipates\r\nit will strongly embrace technology that will assist in providing\r\ninnovations that help contain the rising cost of healthcare.\r\n\r\nIs there anything that would make Bob wish he were 30 years old\r\nagain? Enjoying thoroughly where life has led him, there is little\r\nthat would entice him to do so--with one exception. He would turn\r\nback the hands of time if he had the opportunity to play a\r\nsignificant role in developing technology that improved the lives\r\nof the least, put smiles where frowns once were, or instilled\r\ndesire and enthusiasm where dismay and defeat once lived. Now that\r\ncould make a mature man want to reverse the hands of time.