Grand Rapids entrepreneur launches medical supply company

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

Entrepreneurship is in Richard Ortega’s blood. Four years ago, with just a pickup truck and a friend, Kevin Fahl as his business partner, Ortega launched Alternative Mechanical. Since then, the company installed all the plumbing on Grand Rapids’ new Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion and worked on the rebuilding and rehabbing of six GRPS schools, including Harrison Park and the new Gerald R. Ford Middle School.

This week, the duo announced the opening of their new business, Alternative Medical Supplies LLC, at 1345 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, and the creation of three area jobs.

Alternative Medical Supplies established a partnership with Medline, one of the largest medical supply companies in the U.S., and will sell and distribute durable medical goods including wheelchairs, walkers, blood pressure cuffs, disposable gloves and First Aid kits.

“Right now a lot of medical goods are purchased from other states and from the east side of the state and there aren’t many locally based, locally owned medical suppliers,” Ortega says. “We’re a startup company that will be a local vendor for medical offices, hospitals, nursing homes and doctors’ offices, and we’re using local workers.”

Ortega, a Hispanic, certified his mechanical business through the Michigan Minority Business Development Council as a minority-owned business and is in the process of certifying the medical supplies business, as well.

“In order to build a foundation for a future you have to build a bridge from the present, and that’s what I try to do,” Ortega says. “I try to create a bridge for women and minorities to get out of their dependence on social programs and create opportunities for their lives.”

Source: Richard Ortega, Alternative Medical Supplies, LLC; Rebecca Howe, Lambert Edwards & Associates

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].