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Updated: July 27, 2020

Adaptive Prosthetics & Orthotics’ artificial limbs bring patients hope, joy

Photo | Contributed Adaptive Founder Dave Hewett working on an artificial leg.


Category | Fewer Than 25 employees — Glastonbury-based Adaptive Prosthetics and Orthotics LLC

When Dave Hewett started Adaptive Prosthetics & Orthotics in 1997, his goal was to provide patients needing artificial limbs and other prosthetic devices with a more individualized and compassionate experience.

Hewett, who dealt with amputees in his previous job working for Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, knew those patients had already experienced trauma, and many were still grieving not only the loss of a limb, but life as they knew it.

He believed they deserved more than the “big box” experience that was common among the large conglomerates dominating the prosthetic and orthotic market at the time.

“People were complaining that they felt like just a number,” he said. “You’re dealing with human beings, and I just knew I could provide a better service.”

So Hewett launched Adaptive, maker of artificial limbs and custom orthopedic bracing and compression garments. He built the business on a simple premise.

“Just old-fashioned customer service,” said Hewett. “Treating people right, giving them the time they needed and providing good-quality care. By doing that, we just continued to grow and grow.”

Today, the company he began with his wife in their home office two decades ago has expanded to include 18 employees in six locations throughout New England — five of which opened just in the last four years.

In addition to its Glastonbury headquarters, which opened in 2007, the company also has offices in Hartford, Waterford, Norwich, Pittsfield, Mass., and Westerly, R.I.

Despite that growth, Hewett said the company still retains the easy-going and friendly feel of a small family venture. His wife, Lisa, serves as chief financial officer and the couple’s two sons Kyle, 19, and Ryan, 17, help out where they can and are also learning the business.

Last year, Hewett brought on his niece, Carly Hunter, to revamp and expand the compression garment division, which Hewett added five years ago. He sees that division as the company’s biggest growth opportunit;y, citing high demand from patients with lymphedema, a sometimes disfiguring condition marked by swelling in an arm or leg, often as a result of cancer treatment.

“We’re seeing quite a need in that area because there are not many providers that have the capability to do custom [compression garments],” he said.

Hewett said the most rewarding part of the job is watching a patient rise from a wheelchair and walk for the first time — thanks to a prosthetic that his company made and provided.

“Family members are ecstatic. The patient is ecstatic. Literally I’ve done that probably over a thousand times now, and I still get the same satisfaction,” he said.

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