NOVA Defies Sluggish Economy, Grows Workforce 40%
CEO To Be Honored by Asian Business League
Carson, CA – NOVA, a Carson-based supplier of independent living products, has a broad mission; to change the world. “I want to change the way people face mobility challenges and know that life doesn’t end just because you need the help of a walker or a wheelchair,” says Sue Chen, CEO of NOVA. She also wants to change the way others view people using mobility equipment. “Almost everybody discriminates against people using mobility products,” Chen explains. “It’s like people in wheelchairs or using walkers become invisible. People need to be reminded that these are individuals with vibrant lives and, often, a lifetime of stories.”
NOVA, which Chen has run for the last 17 years, is changing the world in another way, too. Despite the bleak economy, and the even bleaker California unemployment picture, NOVA has grown its workforce more than 40%, adding 15 new employees, raising employee salaries by an average of 6% and increasing the company’s 401k matching by 1% this year. That’s all while continuing to provide 100% coverage of employee health benefits.
“We’re struggling like everyone else, costs like workers comp and insurance have all gone up, but we are taking our very modest growth and profits and reinvesting it back into the company and into our people. It’s a leap of faith that I completely believe in” says Chen who hopes that NOVA can be a model for other companies, large and small, to value and invest in their employees.
Casey Rodriguez, an experienced forklift driver with a 4 year old son, was hired fulltime by NOVA in September after being unemployed for nearly 7 months. “It’s a great working environment,” says the 26 year-old Rodriguez. “The people here don’t just treat you like an employee, it’s more like a family, they take care of you.” Prior to NOVA, he worked at 5 different warehouses and says this is by far the best working environment due to the people and, in part, because it is the first time he has had 100% health care and dental coverage through his employer. “When I found out they don’t take insurance costs out of your paycheck, that blew my mind!” he said. “I could see myself being here for a long time.”
Chen plans to continue to add employees as their customer base continues to grow. “That’s why small businesses are so important. We invest back into the business, into our employees and our customers. We are the real backbone of the economy and heart of the American spirit.”
Because of her enthusiasm for helping people live their lives with independence and dignity, and her business success, Chen has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Asian Business League of Southern California. She will be honored at the 26th Annual Awards dinner on October 21st. Past honorees include Jerry Yang, Founder of Yahoo, Charles Schwab, Founder of Charles Schwab Corporation and Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher, Chan Ho Park.
NOVA walkers, canes and wheelchairs come in bright colors and patterns, with all the accessories needed to lead an active life. And her customers do just that with stories of trips to Paris, completing the breast cancer walk or secret trysts at the hot tub, all courtesy of their Nova walkers, wheelchairs and canes. Chen also provides customers and retailers with “Mobility Makeovers” finding the right products to fit her clients’ lifestyles, maximizing mobility, function and style. “Why do most wheelchairs and walkers only come in grey and black? Our customers want color and patterns. They want products that are stylish, not just functional!” Chen believes that more people will use the mobility aids they need if the products are well designed and beautiful. Nova products include red and purple walkers, floral and animal print bags, plaid transport chairs, as well as colorfully patterned canes and bathroom safety equipment.
NOVA is a leading innovator and manufacturer of Mobility, Bathroom Safety, and Independent Living products such as designer canes, rolling walkers, transport chairs, wheelchairs, bath safety, cushions, and mobility accessories. Started in 1993, NOVA has grown organically with a strong foundation and fundamental values of service, quality and integrity. NOVA’s goal and mission is to provide and service superior quality products with great function and fashion for people to live a healthy, independent, and beautiful lifestyle. Our commitment to caring and providing exceptional service is represented by our extraordinary staff, excellent warranty and product service program, consumer and dealer education, product innovation, and charitable contributions locally, nationally and internationally. Although our customers may have physical challenges, beyond their physical being is a heart with tremendous strength, a mind full of wisdom, and a spirit that is determined. We are dedicated to unleashing the potential of our customers. www.novamedicalproducts.com
Sue Chen is the founder and CEO of NOVA. In addition to running a growing business, Chen is also a classical music lover and an avid scuba diver. She serves as Chairman of the Board of Reef Check Foundation, an organization working to save ocean reefs. She is also the newest University Trustee on the California Lutheran University Board of Regents.
CONTACT: Leslie Berliant, BLU MOON Group, 310-403-1221