A journey to entrepreneurship

Trevor Eichelbaum has a unique skill.  He can fix things, take them apart and put them back to together with relative ease.  After all, it is what he did for many years growing up on a small farm where fixing things was necessary all the time.

“I grew up in farming,” he says. “I didn’t know what I would ever become in life. I tried on several jobs, in many fields. I had a job as a farmhand, and got a small injury in 1999. This ended up leading me into my career path, though I had no idea at the time.”  

Soon after the injury, Trevor found a job at a local company that supplied mobility equipment.   He started as a Service Technician in January of 2000 and worked all the way up through the ranks from service repairs to eventually managing the company. 

Trevor’s passion for fixing things pours over into his personal life too.   A busy and proud husband and father of 3, he manages to squeeze in some time for his favourite hobby project. Restoring his 1973 Ford Gran Torino Sport which in its current state, has a completely re-built motor with high performance parts.  He plans to keep this classic car red, which was the original colour when it was purchased locally from Glanville Ford.

Even though Trevor indicates he wishes he had more time, he spends every Thursday evening leading a group of cadets.  The goal is to train them to eventually become effective leaders and good citizens. Trevor is a Cadet Instructor Cadre with the 2313 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.  Though he wasn’t looking for extra work, he found himself intrigued when his son turned 12 and wanted to become an army cadet.  As a Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) and Second Lieutenant with the Canadian Forces Reserve, Trevor shows how important it is to give back to his community by investing in youth.

On December 2016, after 17 years as an employee of a local Home Medical Equipment company, Trevor’s hand was forced into considering opening his own business.  Trevor visited the Community Futures Entre-Corp office (CFEC), in downtown Medicine Hat, to discuss his thoughts and plans.  After his initial consultation with CFEC’s business advisor, he was encouraged to complete the business plan template that was provided to him.  With confirmation of his CFEC approved business loan, Trevor was able to begin the search for a building in a suitable location.    The building was leased and interior renovations began.  Finally after 2 straight weeks of 16-hour work days, the location was ready for move-in.  The business officially opened on March 6, 2017.

Trevor gives credit for his entrepreneurship to many of his friends and family, most of all to his dad.  His dad was a farmer and Trevor learned through his father’s example the value of hard work.  He is sure his father helped him see and value entrepreneurship in the farming lifestyle.

Starting out as a “fixer-of-things” at the farm, then to a 17-year faithful employee, eventually to become the proud Owner and Operator of Adapt Mobility.  Trevor Eichelbaum is confident his journey was meant to be.  

His passion for customer service shines through when you first meet Trevor.  In fact, it might be the compelling reason why he was able to open his doors and grow his business so quickly.  He stressed that his customers are not customers, but rather he refers to them as clients. The difference is the relationships that are built over years and last a lifetime.   Trevor also gave tremendous praise to his team who he said, “are like family to me”.   Trevor emphasized that he has an incredibly cohesive team and that they work well together because they love to help clients succeed, which in turn brings success to the business. “No individual on the team is better than any other. We all work together, in our own ways.”

There is no doubt that Trevor and his incredible team have a perfect recipe for growth and success.  Whole-hearted commitment to serve clients will go a long way in a town where word-of-mouth is still how many people find you here.

When asked what 3 pieces of advice Trevor would offer to entrepreneurs starting out today, here is what Trevor had to share: 

1.Know your product and your clientele or market well;

2.This is the biggest roller coaster ride of your life, so just close your eyes for the low ones; and

3.Treat your employees as both your biggest asset and your biggest liability.

Adapt Mobility serves anyone with a disability by providing solutions and helping people adapt with the right equipment and accessories so that they can maintain the lifestyle that they want.  

You can visit the Adapt Mobility website at:       adapt-mobility.ca/

This story was written by Elizabeth Blair.  Elizabeth is the regional innovation network (RIN) coordinator at Community Futures Entre-Corp and works to oversee activities with APEX.  APEX is a Regional Innovation Network that supports the growth of innovative and technologically-oriented businesses in Southeast Alberta.

APEX is a collaborative initiative between three core service providers: Community Futures Entre-Corp Business Development, Medicine Hat College; and Alberta Innovates. APEX strives to support local entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized enterprises to develop and adopt new technologies, commercialize innovative new products, improve productivity, and get connected to Alberta’s Innovation System.