For MEDwheels’ Jane Gonzalez, the heartbeat of success is a passion for saving lives.
Source: MED Wheels
At a Houston high school football field, a father sat on the bleachers, cheering on his son. Suddenly, the man collapsed of a sudden cardiac arrest. Fortunately, the school athletic department was equipped with an automated external defibrillator (AED) purchased from MEDwheels a San Antonio-based, woman- and minority-owned medical equipment business. The school’s first responders used the device to keep the man alive until an ambulance arrived. After a stay in the hospital, he went home to his family.
MEDwheels’ AEDs have saved three lives in three years, illustrating how MEDwheels’ purpose is bigger than the company.
“When I learn that a life has been saved because of a MEDwheels device, it reiterates how important this work is,” says company President and CEO Jane Gonzalez. “With our diverse product portfolio, MEDwheels has served multiple markets, including the federal government, state agencies, hospitals, and schools. It’s deeply satisfying to know that wherever our AEDs and other devices are used, they bring hope to hopeless situations,” Gonzalez notes. “Above all, our purpose is to save lives physically, spiritually, and emotionally.”
Gonzalez grew up in San Antonio. After earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting, she started her career in Houston. She eventually moved to the East Coast, earning a master’s degree in international finance from St. Joseph’s University and working in corporate America in the energy, defense, and manufacturing sectors. “Through it all,” she says, “I knew I had a calling to become a Latina entrepreneur—to create value for our communities and assist families with difficult medical challenges.” In 2005, she founded MEDwheels as a Medicare durable medical equipment provider. Sudden changes in the healthcare industry, though, forced the company to diversify in order to survive. MEDwheels became a national medical equipment distributor, providing solutions for a variety of medical diagnoses and treatments.
Today, MEDwheels is creating a company in Mexico to improve delivery of care to Mexican patients. Working closely with Henry Childs, director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), MEDwheels, along with various other companies, traveled to Mexico City to meet with key Mexican organizations. With a state of Texas Export Grant and the support of the MBDA, MEDwheels is poised to export to Mexico soon. Additionally, in 2019, Gonzalez joined the HOPE Binational Public Service Fellowship, a nonprofit organization comprised of American and Mexican Latinas. The organization promotes the national prominence of Latina leaders and addresses the most critical issues facing both the United States and Mexico.
MEDwheels currently has access to more than 60,000 products, and the company’s success stems from identifying market value opportunities, creating custom solutions for customers, and having innovative, challenging ideas.
“We step out in faith when the impossible paralyzes us because we know that MEDwheels’ purpose is greater,” says Gonzalez.
Along with MEDwheels’ success is the company’s commitment to other San Antonio small businesses. Gonzalez sits on numerous local boards of directors, working to ensure that, whenever possible, contract dollars go to local businesses. In 2017, MEDwheels became the first minority-owned small business in the country to be awarded a major contract with the city of San Antonio—a multiyear contract for X-Series defibrillator supplies. “This is huge,” says Gonzalez. “We were competing against a billion-dollar company. In the end, MEDwheels won the contract, and other cities followed suit. It was a fight, but we’re committed to opening doors for small, family-owned businesses. All of it is due to the grace of God. MEDwheels is paving the way for other small businesses.”