Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Ralph W. Braun  

MDA Publications: Quest Vol 7 No 2 April 2000:

    Ralph Braun is founder and CEO of the Braun Corporation, a pioneer manufacturer of mobility products, including a wheelchair lift, the product for which the Braun name is probably best known. The company has its headquarters in Winamac, Ind.

    Ralph Braun's personal and professional history reflects, in many ways, the history of the disability rights movement, dating back to the 1960s. Braun, 59, grew up in Indiana and received a diagnosis of spinal musc ular atrophy when he was about 6. He started using a wheelchair in his teens. He went to college for one semester at Indiana State University. "In those days, it was pretty tough to go to school," he says. "There was no accessibility at all." In his early 20s, Braun got married and started raising a family. He obtained work as a quality control technician in a Singer Sewing Machine factory... During that time, he began his own business selling motorized wheelchairs and lifts. He started it part time so that he co uld continue to support the family by working at Singer. He generated awareness of his product line by writing articles for disability publications and through word of mouth...Braun actually had f ull-time employees working for him before he himself took the plunge and decided to quit his job and devote himself f ully to the new business...

    Today the Braun Corporation has well over 500 employees, including sales representatives in other countries. Braun has also realized income from real estate investing and other businesses that he's developed and sold...

Ralph W. Braun, CEO of The Braun Corporation,the company was founded in 1963 and is based in Winamac, Indiana; president, Braun Land Development Corp.

The Braun Corporation of Indiana was incorporated by Brad Johnson, Ralph W Braun, Richard L Scheffer, Thomas Eastman, William R Roth, The Braun Corporation of Indiana is located at PO Box 310 Winamac, IN 46996. The Braun Corporation of Indiana was incorporated on Tuesday, January 24, 1978 in the State of FL and is currently active. Karl Beck represents The Braun Corporation of Indiana as their registered agent.

Braun Hobby Products International, Inc. is located at 1014 S Monticello St Winamac, IN 46996. was incorporated on Wednesday, J uly 06, 1988 in the State of FL and is currently not active. The Braun Corporation represents Braun Hobby Products International, Inc. as their registered agent.

Hobby Mart, Inc. is located at 1014 S Monticello St Winamac, IN 46996. Hobby Mart, Inc. was incorporated on Tuesday, October 06, 1987 in the State of FL and is currently not active. Marquardt, Emil C. Jr. represents Hobby Mart, Inc. as their registered agent.

Braun Corporation founder Ralph Braun dies

Saturday, 09 February 2013 01:27

WINAMAC - Ralph William Braun, 72, founder and CEO of The Braun Corporation, Winamac, passed away at 4:45 p.m., Friday, at his residence, following a lengthy illness.

His death leaves a tremendous void in the hearts of his company's hundreds of employees, and in his hometown community where he remained forever devoted to the scene of his humble beginnings and greatest triumphs.

Almost everyone in P ulaski County knows the life story of Ralph Braun.

Ralph Braun

Diagnosed with spinal musc ular atrophy early in life which left him unable to walk by age 15, he built his first electric scooter in 1963. Soon after he created his first accesible vehicle from an old postal jeep. He immediately captured the imagination of the handicapped world, and earned the admiration of everyone one else as his efforts to give ability to those with disability grew into the founding of the Braun Corporation in 1972.

Today, the company is the world’s leading maker of wheelchair-accessible vehicles and wheelchair lifts, and has 850 employees, most of whom work at its Winamac headquarters which includes a 210,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on the 88-acre complex.

"When I built my first three-wheeled scooter, I didn't realize the solution to my personal mobility wo uld eventually change thousands of lives," Braun once explained. "I soon discovered there were many like me who refused to let physical limitations keep them from the places they wanted to go."

With the success of his first scooter, Braun began to take orders and build "Tri-Wheelers" in his parent's garage under the name Save-A-Step Manufacturing. This was followed few years later when the arrival of the f ull-size van inspired the creation of the "Lift-A-Way" wheelchair lift.

As his business grew, Braun took the plunge and quit his "day job," and incorporated his little company under the name, The Braun Corporation. The business enjoyed phenomenal growth through the 70's and 80's. Many of Braun's first customers became dealers across the country, laying the foundation of a strong distribution network that endures to this day, according to the company's website.

With the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, the disabled community was awarded unprecedented access to public places. Soon after, a revolutionary product was introduced: the Entervan. This lowered-floor minivan offered unparalleled ease of access for wheelchair users, and it quickly became the flagship of the Braun product line as thousands discovered a newfound independence. What started in a garage had grown into a worldwide corporation in just 20 short years, and Braun remained at the helm of the company – and the industry – he had created.

Braun has been the recipient of countless industry and other awards, and was named a White House Champion of Change last spring. Articles about Braun and his company have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Success and Mobility magazines and numerous other media outlets. Stories of Braun's philanthrophy are legendary.

He told his own story in an autobiography, Rise Above (2010, The Braun Corp.). Proceeds from sales go to The Ralph Braun Foundation, which assists people with mobility needs.

He never retired from The Braun Corporation, and continued to be seen in his office and around town even as he battled the cancer which ultimately claimed his life.

Sally Deneen in an article about Braun in Success magazine last year wrote that he remembered praying as a kid to ask God to perform a miracle and make him able to walk. “I have to say that miracle did happen: He blessed me with the ability to take care of myself and help others,” Braun wrote in Rise Above. “My prayers were answered.”

And then some.

It seems only fitting that The Braun Corporation's latest motto is "Because – as Ralph Braun has known all along – Life is a Moving Experience."

Braun was the married father of five adult children. Arrangements are pending at Frain Mortuary, Winamac.

By Karen Clem Fritz

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