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Ergonomics Consultants (A)
Author(s):
Heineke, Janelle
Functional Area(s):
   General Management
   Marketing
   Operations Management
Setting(s):
   Nonprofit
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Pages: 3
Teaching Note: Not Available. 
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First Page and the Assignment Questions:
Susan Margulies and Joe Jones, physical therapists, and Melissa Meile, and Martin Gold, occupational therapists, were relaxing over coffee and cannolis during their monthly dinner out. The group had met at Boston University's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in 1994 during their graduate studies and had been fast friends ever since. They all worked full-time at local rehab hospitals and all did some consulting, primarily related to ergonomics, on the side. Over dinner they had compared notes about their frustrations with their jobs and the conversation had led to a common theme - forming an ergonomic consulting practice.

Martin leaned over the table toward his friends and said, “We've been talking about starting our own consulting business nearly since we left school. That's why we're all working toward getting board certified in professional ergonomists, right? Let's just do it! I'm ready for a change. I still like what I do, but I'm just not challenged with the work anymore. And the health care crisis, especially here in Massachusetts, doesn't ever seem to get better. I'm willing to take a risk.”

Melissa agreed. “I think you're right, Martin. You know, Mike [her husband] and I have been talking pretty seriously about starting a family and I don't see how I can keep working five days a week and alternate weekends with a new baby. I'd really like to have more flexibility and time at home - and that's just not possible at MassBay Rehab.”

Susan had another goal. She said, “I'm less concerned about flexibility and more concerned about making some money. I got my first new car three years ago and now I'm looking for houses - or at least condos - and with the Boston area housing prices, I don't think I'll ever get a house on my salary.'

Joe was shaking his head. “I like the idea as much as the rest of you, but I've got a five-year old and newborn twins. Mary [Joe's wife] has to stay at home for awhile, so we can't count on an income from her, and with three kids, I can't afford to lose my health insurance.”

Martin looked at Joe and replied, “If we can figure out how to do this, Martin, you could be better off all around. More money, more time. Let's quit talking and start doing something about this. We all have different immediate goals, but we all know we're not going to be happy staying where we are - and we're certainly not going to get rich any time soon. What do we need to know before we can really do this?”

Assignment

1.    Develop a list of the information the group should obtain to enable them to decide whether to form a group ergonomics consulting practice.

2.    Search the Internet for information about two of the items on your list.

3.    What information is likely to be difficult to collect?