Inspirational Thoughts On How a Contractor Used the Challenges of Spinal Cord Injury To Start His Own Company Rybak#1

“Problems can become opportunities when the right people come together.”
-Robert South

Jim Rybak
Identify a Difficulty
Throughout his adult life, Jim Rybak worked successfully in the construction industry. By the late 1990s, his company had erected numerous chain restaurants, including more than ten Taco Bell franchises in the state of Florida. His business was thriving, he had a beautiful young daughter, and he had just built a new home on the small lake near Pinellas Park Florida.

On a beautiful warm Florida day, Rybak was out with some friends having a good time on his boat. They dropped anchor, and he checked the depth finder that read seventeen feet. Thinking it completely safe, Rybak dove off the back of the boat-into eighteen inches of water-breaking his neck at the level cervical six/level cervical seven causing instant paralysis.

After a long, difficult rehab, Rybak emerged with another problem in addition to his spinal cord injury. He had made his living as a general contractor, and it had been a good living. Now he was confined to a wheelchair. Even though Rybak could still drive, how would he be able to go to construction sites?

It was essential for him to find a vehicle with four-wheel drive to take him off-road into the heart of the worksites, where his construction business took place. Rybak searched for a vehicle that suited his needs, a four-wheel-drive truck that he could use without the assistance of others, but found nothing. How would Rybak go back to work and save his construction company if he couldn’t acquire a vehicle to get him on the job site?

Imagine a Solution
Rybak knew the answer to his problem was a four-wheel-drive vehicle that could transport him directly onto construction sites. There had been some attempts to create one in the past, but Rybak now imagined a fully operational four-wheel drive that could be operated independently from a wheelchair.

The vehicle would need to have enough room so that the driver didn’t have to get out of his wheelchair. This meant that there could be no stationary driver’s seat. Numerous manufacturers had been producing vehicles designs this way for years, but never in a four-wheel-drive pickup truck.

At the time of Rybak’s injury, most vehicles had to be accessed on the passenger’s side, and they were generally vans, unable to go off-road. Driver access from the passenger’s side of the pickup truck was not possible, so Rybak wanted a vehicle that provided a wheelchair lift on the driver’s side. Rybak’s solution was to design, manufacture and sell a vehicle that had four-wheel drive, could be accessed on the driver’s side, and could be independently operated from a wheelchair.

Ryno Mobility Truck

Make a Plan
Rybak had proven, with the success of his construction company, that he was an inventive entrepreneur. He enlisted the help of an experienced master fabricator, Ed Pic, and together they came up with a design that would meet Rybak’s needs. This idea turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Rybak decided to move away from the construction company altogether and put his efforts into building four-wheel-drive pickup trucks for people with disabilities, and Ryno Mobility was born.
Take Action
With the right people in place, Ryno began to make other products, including a four-wheel-drive Chevy Silverado, which could be independently operated from a wheelchair by using hand controls. The company now has a full line of products, including two-wheel- and four-wheel-drive trucks, SUVs, and rear-entry minivans.

Rybak’s injury restricted his access onto construction sites, but he used the difficulty created by the lack of access and imagined a truck that would allow him to continue in the construction industry. He combined his initiative with the fabrication expertise of Ed Pic, and their action led to an innovative new company that provided them both with financial security.

Through their hard work and diligence, Rybak and Pic were able to take the difficulty of a spinal cord injury and transform it into an opportunity to help not only themselves, but also hundreds of people with disabilities. Ryno has been in operation since 2004 and has built over a hundred vehicles.

1.    Identify a difficulty. (For Rybak, this was the lack of off-road automobile access for individuals with disabilities.)
2.    Imagine a solution. (For Rybak, this was a four-wheel-drive vehicle controllable from a wheelchair.)
3.    Make a plan. (For Rybak, this included creating a company to manufacture and produce four-wheel-drive Chevy pickups.)
4.   Take action. (For Rybak, this led to providing products and services, including wheelchair lifts, to enable the disabled community to drive four-wheel-drive off-road vehicles.) Click the following link to see the Ryno Mobility truck on the cover of this book, in action.

Click here now to buy a audio, print, or PDF version of this article along with other inspirational stories included in the book The Secret of Difficulties 4 Steps to Turn Tragedies and Opportunities.

Be Sociable, Share!
To hire Charles Fleisher - The Opportunities Guy - Call 732-895-2610 Or e-mail