Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meet Ben

Just as every amputee has a story, every practitioner has a tale about how they became involved in the field. Ben has been working as a prosthetist at OPC since 2007. What many of his patients don't realize is that this is actually his second stint at OPC. For two years he worked in the shop building the devices before returning to school to become certified.

Ben graduated from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia with aspirations of training to become a physical therapist. He accepted a position at what is now Shady Grove Adventist Hospital as a PT Assistant and began working in his chosen field. Enter Elliot Weintrob, and everything changed.

Elliot introduced Ben to the world of prosthetics as they collaborated on a patient's treatment. Although he still enjoyed the physical therapy aspects of his job, Ben found himself drawn to "mechanical" tasks and challenges. Unsure what career path to choose, he left the area to move to Denver to train for his Olympic dreams.

During his two years in Denver, Ben discovered sports other than running. He came within seconds of the Olympic qualifying time for the Steeple Chase but opted to pursue other ambitions. He became an avid snowboarder and accepted a job at Comcast Cable.

When Ben returned to the area he contacted Elliot. As luck would have it, there was a technical manufacturing position available at OPC. Ben was offered and accepted the opportunity. He toiled in "the back" with Mark and Angela, manufacturing prosthetic devices and learning about the field for two years.

His career path cemented, he returned to school in 2007 to receive his prosthetic certification. He graduated from Cal State after completing the program and began look for a position. As if by fate, he ran into Elliot at a conference in San Fransisco and the two rekindled their friendship.

Ben returned to the Northern Virginia area, completed his residency at OPC and became Board Certified in 2008. He enjoys his position at OPC and the challenges posed by prosthetics. With everyday offering "variety and something different," he relishes "coming up with unique solutions for different problems. When someone wheels or crutches in and you give them something you built and they walk out, it is one of the biggest perks of the job. It's pretty special. It's why I do what I do."

Settled and happy with his career choice, Ben has no plans to leave the area. He and his girlfriend recently purchased a horse farm (sorry ladies, he is off the market) where he enjoys running, playing with his dogs and riding horses. He is working on articles for publications and is energized about the future of prosthetics. "In the future we will be seeing more functionality in every phase of life. I think that devices will be more durable and mechanical. I'm excited about how the field is evolving. I am definitely doing what I should be doing with my life. "

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