D2D Buyer Ready Business: Anew Life Prosthetics & Orthotics – Chris Casteel, Co-Owner/Member Manager

degc-growth-update-_0003_01-Paul Cauley and  Chris Casteel (right) by Ali Lapetina

Anew Life Prosthetics & Orthotics assists patients who have faced limb loss, and provides prosthetic (artificial limb) or orthotic (brace) devices. The company fits and manufacturers these parts, and also has a lab on-site in order to conduct face-to-face patient meetings.

Co-Owner/Member Manager Chris Casteel and his business partner Paul Cauley founded the company five years ago in Detroit (at the old Detroit Savings Bank location), and now have a staff of five who support the client-centric mission of the company.

What is the history and background of Anew Life Prosthetics?
I worked at University of Michigan, where I was previously a patient. (I have a prosthetic leg from a motorcycle accident I was involved in 27 years ago.) While working at the university, I met Paul. In 2009 our paths crossed again and we began a vision to help more people. Paul is a certified prosthetist, and I graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics in order to become a certified orthotist / prosthetist. It’s incredibly fulfilling to help others regain “independence” doing what we do – that’s how Anew Life Prosthetics got its start.

It’s been wonderful process – in fact, we’re right on the cusp of hiring a few more practitioners which will propel our business forward. We’re looking forward to growing in our team in our space.

What is Anew Life Prosthetics’s culture?
We are all about our patients; we want to make their lives as functional as possible. Not only do we assist them via the limbs and braces we create – we also make physical therapy referrals, and provide dietary counsel and support group resources.

Personally, I lead an amputee support group with members in the metro Detroit area. A lot of what the group does is education and pair those who are transitioning into this “stage of life” with a person who is a bit more “seasoned” and lives a full life. It’s a really impactful peer mentoring process.

Why did Anew Life Prosthetics select Detroit as its headquarters?
It was very important to Paul and I to have a location that was central to our clientele, which are all over the metro Detroit area. Our location in the city is perfect; our neighbors and nearby Detroit businesses have been and continue to be so welcoming. Our neighbors Detroit Hardware and Roby’s Shoes (who previously owned our space) were particularly kind to us, especially when we first moved in.

What companies have you collaborated with in Detroit?
Chase Bank helped when our company first got on its feet. Michigan Employment Solutions helped us find some of our beginning staff members. D2D has assisted us with various tax breaks which allowed us to get into the space we’re in.

Due to our relationship with D2D and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation we entered and became a recipient of an NEIdeas grant. With this money we intend to implement scanning technologies that will allow us to create a digital model of residual limbs. This will help us move towards 3D printing and direct manufacturing of prosthetics and orthotics (rather than use traditional methods like plaster). This will ultimately reduce cost and time for patients.

We’ve also worked with Baker College so that students can complete some of their clinical hours in our location. We’ve also hosted Eastern Michigan University master’s students in our location. (We’re working towards having Anew Life Prosthetics being an official residency site.)

What are the benefits of connecting with other Detroit businesses?
I have never found a more supportive group than I have in Detroit. We’re continuing to explore additional partnerships here in the city. In fact, we’re in the process of collaborating with Busted Bra Shop, a Hatch Detroit winner, in order to help those who have had mastectomies. There are endless benefits to collaborating with other Detroit businesses.

Brian Watkins
D2D Program Manager

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