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Auburn's EASE meets diabled needs

Owner's daughter inspired business
By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
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Serving the construction needs of the Northern California disabled community from Modesto to the Oregon border, Auburn resident Steven Weaver is a man with a mission. In 2001, Weaver left his managerial tech support position with Apple in Silicon Valley, in order to work full time in his own business Eagle Accessibility Solutions and Equipment (EASE). Whether it’s making a doorway entrance more wheelchairs accessible, or constructing a bathroom shower for the same reason, Weaver’s the main Auburn licensed general contractor for this type work. In fact, as far as Weaver knows, he is the only full-time licensed contractor in Auburn, who specializes in accessibility solutions for homes and businesses. Inspiration to start his own business came from his 10-year-old daughter Cassi, whose cerebral palsy put her in a wheelchair. Knowing firsthand Cassi’s struggles, Weaver decided to start a business that would help others who are disabled by making homes and businesses more accessible. “We wanted our house to look like a home, not a hospital because we spent too much time in a hospital,” Weaver said. A licensed contractor, Weaver completely remodeled the bathroom in his own home so Cassi could easily get into the shower area in her wheelchair. The bathroom is paneled with luxurious large size tiles and is completely waterproof. The materials for the project cost several thousand dollars, he said. With upcoming revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) currently before Congress, businesses in Placer County with 15 or more employees and more than six million businesses nationwide will be required to make necessary changes. Weaver can help businesses, which need to comply with the new federal ADA changes. “My primary focus has been the residential market, but my business is expanding to serve businesses for ADA and for facilities to minimize Workers Compensation,” Weaver said. “According to most of the manufacturers I work with, California has the most stringent adoption of the ADA of any state, providing greater opportunity for the disabled community.” According to the California State Labor Board, anyone who contracts to perform work valued at $500 or more must hold a valid license from the board. Weaver points out that many aspects of his business are not regulated in the same way the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requires specific guidelines for durable medical equipment. A former firefighter in Chico and Paradise and Eagle Scout, Weaver’s personal background and integrity enhances his profession. Marilyn Butcher of Greenville, Calif., was very pleased with the spa lift that Weaver installed for her husband Patrick, a paraplegic veteran with shrapnel in his leg, who has received the Purple Heart. “It was like a breath of fresh air to have someone like you come in and realize what it is like to have someone in need of special equipment and care,” Marilyn Butcher wrote in a letter to Weaver. From understanding experiences with Cassi’s situation, he has insights that other contractors might not have. He also has specialized training with equipment. Weaver has traveled to factories in Oklahoma and Ontario, Canada, for training on the use of overhead lifts. In March 2007 in Tampa, Fla., he attended a conference for safe patient handling and movement. The University of Southern Florida hosted the conference for veterans. “There’s no one in the area who is trained to the level I am,” Weaver said. Tim Cooper, a quadriplegic and independent living advocate at Placer Independent Resource Services for the past 13 years, knows the needs of the disabled. “I think it’s a great program for people who need their home modified and don’t know where to look,” Cooper said when asked about EASE. Many of Weaver’s clients are veterans. He’s traveled from Redding to Elk Grove and further to facilitate better entrances and exits for his customers. He realizes that families caring for members with disabilities risk injuring their back from lifting, which is the No. 1 cause for nurses leaving their profession. To help caretakers, Weaver stocks a portable lightweight lift that can lift patients up to 330 pounds. The lift’s collapsibility allows it to be easily transported. Currently, Weaver’s working on a walk-in tub with grab bars for a veteran in Elk Grove. He is changing the home’s patio sliding glass door to make it easier to open and making threshold ramps on many doorways more wheelchair accessible. “It’s my opportunity to serve the veterans and thank them for their service to our country,” Weaver said. _____________________________ EASE Eagle Accessibility Solutions & Equipment Owner: Steven Weaver, licensed contractor Location: 3734 Copper Penny Lane, Auburn, CA 95602 Phone: (530) 305-2554 or 800-EASE-650 Web site: accessbyease.com