HME Woman of the Year Finalists Announced

Published in Home Medical Equipment on September 28, 2018

The finalists for the 2018 HME Woman of the Year have been selected. Out of 39 nominees, four women will be traveling to Medtrade in Atlanta where the 2018 winner will be announced.

The HME Woman of the Year finalists are Karen Atkins, chief executive officer and president, Mobility First; Georgie Blackburn, vice president, Government Relations and Legislative Affairs, BLACKBURN’S; Colleen Hunter, CEO and president, Browning’s Pharmacy and Health Care; and Deanne Sandvold, vice president and owner, EZ-ACCESS, a division of Homecare Products, Inc.

Advocates and Leaders

“These women are determined advocates and leaders – serving our industry selflessly for years,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. “They exemplify the dedication and innovation required to have a positive impact not only on their business and coworkers, but also the customers and the communities they serve.”       

Now in its third year, the award, sponsored by VGM, recognizes one woman in the industry who has made significant contributions throughout her career to her company, community and the HME industry.

The 2018 finalists have each been working in HME for more than two decades and were selected based on recommendations from an honorary selection committee. The committee was comprised of 2017 HME Woman of the Year, Barbara Leech, chief executive office of Healthline Medical Equipment, Inc.; Douglas Coleman, chief executive officer of Rocky Mountain Medical Equipment, DBA Major Medical; Liz Beaulieu, editor of HME News; Rita Stanley, vice president of Government Relations at Sunrise Medical and 2017 finalist; and Andrew Morse, assistant to the president for Board and Governmental Relations at the University of Northern Iowa.   

Chosen From a Broad Spectrum of Providers

The HME Woman of the Year nomination period opened during VGM’s annual Heartland Conference. The nominees included a broad spectrum of providers, manufacturers and other professionals in HME, rehab, respiratory and mastectomy. The committee chose the finalists using criteria that included implementing new business processes, advocating on behalf of the industry, improving the lives of patients and impacting her community through volunteerism.    

Mike Mallaro, chief executive officer of VGM Group, Inc., personally notified each of the finalists.  

“I was taken aback and totally speechless – something that rarely occurs with me,” said award finalist Karen Atkins. “To be recognized and included with such an incredible group of women is an honor and humbling.”   

The HME Woman of the Year award will be presented during Medtrade on Oct. 16 at 8 a.m. (EST) in C101 Auditorium of the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. For more information about the finalists, visit, or connect with them in person at Medtrade. 

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