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Our 40th Year: Reflecting on a Lifetime of Experience

Written By: 
Carole Vande Velde / Director of Marketing

“We don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” John Dewey

When ADC was founded nearly 40 years ago, Marc and Neal were two twenty-somethings with a little capital and a lot of ideas. There were ideas about what products to carry (a selection of leather and nylon EMT holsters and instruments) and how to sell them (direct to the EMT world with a 12-page mail order catalog). They also had ideas about how they wanted to shape the character of the business: It would be a company defined by quality and value, made possible by great people and steadfast relationships. And while the product line and approach to manufacturing and distribution has evolved greatly over the decades, the commitment to these core principles is as strong as ever.

ADC is proud, of course, simply to have reached the milestone of our 40th year in business. (We're counting down to the official anniversary in January 2024.) Many of our competitors from the early days are gone, having relocated, sold out, or closed shop altogether. The fact that we are still here, still thriving from our headquarters in the same New York region where we began, and still serving customers who have been with us from the start, is no small feat. It represents countless hours of building and growth, setbacks and successes. It represents experience.

But, as John Dewey noted, the true value of experience comes from a willingness and ability to reflect on what you’ve been through. This process of reflection, practiced year after year, has shaped:

A culture of loyalty and expertise.

We operate a 30,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China, and partner with other world-leading ISO 9000 manufacturers to produce proprietary components, often on an exclusive basis. These single-sourced, long-term relationships are foundational to our business. This culture of loyalty is deeply embedded with our internal team, as well. The average tenure for staff in our U.S. headquarters is 13 years, with more than 25% of team members logging 20+ years with ADC. That adds up to more than 1,400 years of dedicated experience to our product line, distributor partners, and consumers – a true rarity in today’s world.

A tradition of quality.

ADC inspects both at the source and in our New York facility. We subject virtually every component to rigorous quality control checks using custom-built testing equipment like gauge endurance machines, valve-and-bladder leak test machines, acoustic fixtures, and thermometer water baths. This ensures our products meet or beat the toughest national and international standards on the market today. The proof is in our warranties, which rank among the most comprehensive in the industry.

A deep commitment to value.

We’ve designed our products to provide an unmatched value proposition. As the challenger brand, our instruments are priced around 20-40% less than market leaders while providing comparable performance and better warranties for our consumers – not to mention better margins for our channel partners.

A code of service.

Here at ADC, we believe in service: to our customers and to the community. Our Customer Service team is renowned in the industry for answering calls live and in real time, then providing fast, flexible, and comprehensive assistance. We’re also dedicated to service in the broader sense; working to create a better world is a big part of our mission. One of our most meaningful commitments involves inclusive hiring. We hired our first developmentally disabled employee in the 1980s and today boast one of New York’s largest private supported workforces. These colleagues work in positions throughout production, maintenance, shipping, and quality control, and together represent more than 250 years of combined service to ADC. We’re equally proud of our cause-branded collaborations with the American Cancer Society and Els for Autism, and medical supply donations to organizations like AmeriCares and Project Hope.

Thank you to the staff, vendor partners, resellers, and customers, we’ve been with us along the way. We look forward to the next 40 years.