In this issue, O&P News poses five questions to Steve Hill, BOCO, CO. Hill owns Delphi Ortho, an orthotic consulting firm.
Hill was previously employed by a major central fabricator for 25 years, which is where he got much of his training in orthotic fabrication. Starting out as a technician, he worked his way up to a management position and then became certified as an orthotist by the Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) in 1996. By 2001, he was certified by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC) as an orthotist.
He has written dozens of articles for every major O&P publication and has been lecturing on technical topics for more than 20 years. He has served on BOC’s Item Writing Committee and currently serves as vice president and a founding member of the Orthotic & Prosthetic Technological Association (OPTA).
Hill is a member of the O&P News Editorial Board and O&P Almanac’s Advisory Board and serves as facility accreditation surveyor and consultant to manufacturers and patient care facilities alike.
O&P News: What was the defining moment that led you to your field?
Image: Hill S.
Steve Hill, BOCO, CO: Nearly 35 years ago, I started attending the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale. It quickly occurred to me that while, artistically speaking, I was a shark among guppies in high school, at art college I was the guppy. I say this not so much because of a lack of artistic talent, but because from a lack of a competitive nature.
I found a surprising amount of pressure for an art school and I felt a little disillusioned. A good friend of mine, Marty Roberts, was working at a small central fabrication facility that needed help. I applied since I needed to start earning money to stay in school. What I found was a job where I could utilize my artistic talent and, at the same time, help people in a real and tangible way.
I was at the Art Institute for less than 2 weeks when I decided that it was not for me. It was then that I began my career in O&P.
O&P News: Who has had the greatest influence on your career?
Hill: That is a tough one because I owe so much of who I am to so many people. I feel like I am standing on the shoulders of giants. If I have to pick one, I am going to have to select someone who is no longer here to defend himself, and that would be Roland Heath, who everyone knew simply as “Junior.” He was a very talented technician from whom I learned many of my hand skills. The O&P community is a less magical place without his fabrication creativity.
O&P News: What advice would you offer other technicians?
Hill: Always use the right tool for the job at hand. You will waste valuable time and money by trying to make do instead of using purpose made tools.
Here is a good example. Let’s say that you need to use a drill press for six different operations within your lab. You buy one, maybe two drill presses and waste countless hours a year changing bits, motor speeds and table heights. A decent drill press can be bought new for about $300. If you line up six drill presses, which is less than $2,000, you can save countless hours a year. Your time is literally invaluable. You can buy drill presses all day long but time cannot be made at any cost.
This philosophy extends beyond the hand tools that we use. It is important to develop the intellectual, emotional and social tools we keep in our toolbox as well our hand skills. We will almost always be working with other technicians, practitioners and possibly even patients. The most valuable technician can not only make the best leg but can cast and fit it as well. Do yourself a favor and continue your personal education throughout your life.
O&P News: What do you enjoy doing to relax?
Hill: I love to spend time with my new wife, Amy and our Siberian husky, Sadie Mae. Whether it is time spent hiking, riding the motorcycle or just sitting around watching movies, I find enjoying the company of family and friends is the most relaxing of times.
O&P News: What is up next for you?
Hill: This will be a fun year. The Orthotic & Prosthetic Technological Association is working on a standardized, peer-reviewed fabrication manual that has been in the works for quite some time. With luck it will be, at least partly, released by the end of this year. Another fun project will be working with [Orthotic & Prosthetic Activities Foundation] OPAF and their First Clinics. We hope to put together a shooting version called First Target that is set to take place in Dallas. I am looking forward to that event. Beyond that, all I know for sure is that it will be something new and different. I wonder what they are doing in the world of stem cell research.
For more information:
Steve Hill, BOCO, CO, can be reached at 828-777-1032; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure: Hill reports no relevant financial disclosures.