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From wooden legs to advanced prosthetics, Willow Wood changes with times

While recent economic woes have forced a number of established businesses to shutter, one long-lived Ohio manufacturer is thriving through innovation.

Ohio Willow Wood USA, in rural Mt. Sterling, manufactures several high-quality prosthetics. Started in 1905, the company, located just southwest of Columbus, has come a long way from founder William Edwin Arbogast's hand-carved artificial limbs. Arbogast, who lost his legs in a railroad accident, founded the company after being dissatisfied with other available artificial limbs.

Fast forward to today. Ohio Willow Wood is not only an industry leader in manufacturing but in distribution and development.

"Ohio Willow Wood's research and development team is constantly exploring and developing new product opportunities, testing new product designs, as well as enhancing current products for continual maximum performance," says company spokeswoman Lisa Watkins.

Landmark products include the Sterling Stump Sock (1921), Carbon Copy II Foot (1984), Alpha Liners (1995), the Pathfinder Foot (2001) and LimbLogic VS (2007).

The company employs 168, in engineering/R&D, prosthetists, accounting, IT and more. Willow Wood soon will hire a quality manager and a certified prosthetist/orthotist. Several state grants helped the company with ongoing worker training, including a $17,500 of an 2009 Ohio Department Jobs and Family Service training grant.

"The products developed by Ohio Willow Wood provide comfort and assist consumers in leading a functionally normal lifestyle, all of which allows Ohio Willow Wood to grow and succeed," Watkins said.

Source: Lisa Watkins, Ohio Willow Wood spokeswoman
Writer: Feoshia Henderson
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