CURE NATION: Bert Burns is a long-time roller, champion wheelchair racer with multiple Paralympic medals, devoted dad and a savvy entrepreneur who has dedicated most of his career to serving people with disabilities through his successful urological supply company.
After selling that company five years ago, Bert recently came out of retirement to get back into urology with a new organization. He shares his story below, including advice for other rollers who would like to be successful in business plus what inspired him to come out of retirement.
Bert Burns’ SCI Motivated Him to Pursue a Career Where He Could Help Others
In 1982, when Bert Burns was in college, he was involved in a car accident in which he was hit by a drunk driver, resulting in a C6/C7 spinal cord injury. Bert was active in sports prior to his injury, so, like many people do, he assumed life as he knew it was over. But, although he couldn’t know it at the time, a new life and purpose was just beginning for him.
“When I first got hurt, I had great PT and OT’s, but the therapist that made the biggest impact on my life was my recreational therapist.”
Bert’s rec therapist showed him some sports and fun activities, but she also introduced him to a couple guys in chairs who had a profound impact on Bert. Adaptive sports legends Randy Nowell and Brad Parks offered him peer support and actually demonstrated wheelchair sports for the first time, including racing and tennis. Suddenly, the possibilities began to open up. Bert began playing adaptive sports and was inspired to pursue a new career.
“I was a finance major before my accident,” Bert recalls, “but these guys had motivated me to help others how they had helped me. I wanted to work specifically with the SCI population.”
“Right out of college, I was fortunate enough to get hired at Shepherd Center, one of the best rehabs in the nation. I did sports all week, all the time, often with new injuries. I would recruit other volunteers to demonstrate adaptive sports that I couldn’t do at my level of injury.”
Bert Burns Switches Gears and Gets Into Urology
Ten years after his SCI, Bert decided to try out a new line of work. He joined a urology company, and while it was different than rec therapy, he loved that he was still helping people in the disability community. He felt he had a lot to offer because he really understood the products and challenges of cathing, plus he had struggled with his own urological supplier over the years.
A few years later, Bert started his own company and over the course of nearly two decades, grew it into a thriving business that served many people with paralysis. He sold that company in 2014.
He reflects, “It was kind of like raising a kid. When I sold the company after 18 years, it was almost like sending my kid off to college out into the world. It finally grew its wings and flew away.”
Bert Attributes His Success in Business to His Intimate Understanding of customer Needs
“When I’m working rehab centers,” Bert says, “the fact that I’m rolling in there talking to case managers, versus walking in there to talk to them, gives me instant credibility.”
“I’m selling a product I actually use. I have knowledge of the little things and features of the catheters that would work well for different types of patients. I’ve literally gone through a lot of it myself.”
This is one of the reasons why Bert is such a strong proponent of hiring people with disabilities, and why he encourages other companies that sell urological supplies to hire people from this community too.
After a 5-Year Break, Bert Burns is Officially Un-Retired
When Burt sold his company and had the opportunity to retire in 2014, he took it. At the time, his kids were around 13 years old, so he was happy to have plenty of time to be a dad. For the past five years, he has spent his days coaching sports teams, carpooling the kids around to events and being there for all the good dad stuff. He stayed active with adaptive sports and connected to the disability community through meet-ups and races.Fast forward five years, and Bert’s children are almost all grown up. They’re much more independent, with driver’s licenses and jobs and busy lives of their own. Bert says, “They’re barely ever home, so I figured I might as well go back to work!”
Bert says he was also drawn to the idea of working with a smaller urology company again. With a smaller company, Bert says, it’s much easier to provide excellent service. He’s excited to be back at it and ready to hit the ground rolling!
Bert Burns’ Advice for People Who Cath
First and foremost, Bert says, “Don’t be afraid to try new stuff. Don’t feel like you are stuck with what you’ve always used. Try talking to your vendor, where you get your medical supplies, about different products. You can order some samples too, before you commit to something. You don’t have to use the exact brand your doctor prescribed if it’s not working well for you.”
Sometimes, a person has used the same catheters for years and they’re not even aware that new products have been developed that would work better for them.
Bert continues, “There are so many new things on the market. For example, Cure Medical offers so many catheters that are hydrophilic or ready-to-use now, which allows the catheter to go in and out so much easier, causes less damage, and provides more comfort for those with sensation. There are closed systems and products that are better for different types of patients.”
Why Bert Burns Is a Big Believer in Cure Catheters
As someone who understands the urology industry backwards and forwards, Bert says, “Cure has a lot of different options for different types of catheters. That means customers have a lot of options to choose from, and Cure catheters are some of the best out there!”
“Cure catheters are also very cost effective, which insurance companies like, along with people who pay out of pocket. Cure is a smaller company, too, making them so much easier to work with than the bigger ones,” Bert explains.
VIDEO: nEW! CURE ULTRA® coude INTERMITTENT CATHETER FOR MEN
To request free samples of the Cure Ultra® Ready-to-se Catheter for men or any Cure Medical catheter, contact your local distributor of quality healthcare products, or click here.
Not only does Bert appreciate the quality, variety and cost of Cure catheters, but he also appreciates how Cure Medical gives back to the disability community.
He says, “I really like that they donate so much money to SCI research! And, the Cure Nation blog is also awesome. You can read about different people on the Cure website all the time, with all sorts of disabilities and stories. I think it really helps readers in relating to others on the same journey and to better understand what is possible for them.”
Thank you for Choosing a Cure, Bert!
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