Story by Loren Worthington
Photos by Loren Worthington
Would you believe the TerrainHopper making its way to the U.S. all started as a love story?
Not too long after graduating from Arizona State University, Todd Lemay, who gets around in a scooter-type wheelchair due to osteogenesis imperfecta (“brittle bone syndrome”) began dating a woman who worked with him at the international accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. He learned she’d never seen the beach. Being the ever-suave Sun Devil, he took her to San Diego.
It was a great idea right up until she asked if they could stroll the beach.
“I remember going from feeling great to falling right back to the earth because my wheelchair couldn’t make it.”
She went alone.
He never forgot that day and some twenty years later when he came across a web page describing the TerrainHopper, an off-road wheelchair device, he set his sights on owning one. The beach was calling.
Here’s the love story that is sure to make readers of both genders giddy; he married Letitia, his former co-worker, and also imported the first TH to the U.S.
Along the way Lemay built a pair of successful businesses that provided communication services. He merged them, sold them and set his sights on spending more time with Letitia and exploring America with his TH.
“I just kept going places and hearing people admire my TerrainHopper and ask if they could take a picture of the two of us together.”
Lemay started thinking more people in the U.S. would enjoy the TH. He contacted the British-based company about the future of the business in the States. It took more than a year to negotiate which finally closed in 2017.
Lemay joked, “I threatened them that I’d get on a plane if we didn’t get the deal closed.”
The Brits were sold on Lemay’s grit and ability to raise the capital needed for a U.S. manufacturing operation.
Thanks to his investors, Lemay is now tooling up for manufacturing and taking deposits with plans to deliver first U.S. built versions by summer.
Loren Worthington is Ability360’s Marketing and Communications Manager and Publisher of LivAbility Magazine. He has an extensive portfolio of work as a videographer and photographer with an emphasis on sports photography. He was an official photographer for TeamUSA at the Summer Games in Rio. You’ve seen his work in numerous Arizona-based outlets and nationally in New Mobility Magazine and Sports N Spokes.