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Jackson News

Posted on: October 15, 2017

September Business Highlight: Mid State Artificial Limb, Inc.

Mid State Artificial Limb, Inc. is the City of Jackson’s Business Highlight for September 19, 2017. Owner, Troy Luster, founded the business in 1988 after having careers as a master chef and automobile salesman. A neighbor employed by a local prosthetic orthotics company wanted to open his own business, but didn’t have the needed capital, so he approached Mr. Luster about investing as a partner in the venture. Ultimately, due to proposed partner’s financial hardship, Mr. Luster contributed 100% of the capital. Upon contractual disagreement in the process of opening the business Mr. Luster’s proposed partner reneged, putting Mr. Luster in a dubious position since the proposed partner was the experienced party. Trusting in God, Mr. Luster didn’t fret….once it became known in the industry that he owned the business he was invited to an local industry function which led to him gaining the knowledge needed to confidently communicate with Medicare personnel and thus to the establishment of a business operation training ground for the business. Medicare personnel took the business “under their wings”, providing detailed Medicare program data as well as operational pointers. At this point it was still an uphill battle. In this profession dominated by Caucasians, Mr. Luster, an African American, encountered extreme difficulty in hiring qualified and loyal employees. The business took a turn for the best when employee, Robbin Alexander, became one of the first African American females in the country to become a certified prosthetist. Other employees became certified and additional certified individuals were hired along with individuals who served in other roles that contributed favorably to the success of the business. At one point the business grew to 25 employees, serving Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Wanting to ensure firm control of the operation and quality production, Mr. Luster decided to scale down the number of employees. He believes the best advertisement for any business is quality in production/service.

The business currently has four certified employees, including MS Alexander and Ben Davis, who has been the administrator for 4 years. Mr. Davis, a successful certified medical equipment salesman, was hired because Mr. Luster surmised the people skills would lend favorably to making sure customers are meticulously serviced. Mr. Luster said “the business was built based on the philosophy of always maintaining a focal point on doing everything necessary to keep the customer satisfied”. Due to Ms Alexander’s encouragement, Mr. Luster got his prosthetist certification about 7 years ago. He said with the continuous industry changes it is indeed best to always have a multiple certified presence. Mr. Luster said staff certifications and the 20 years of employee stability solidifies Mid State’s solid position in the industry.

Mr. Luster said he envisions leaving a Jackson legacy by creating a training facility to pass on the skills of the trade to community youth so they can have bright financial futures, which will instill pride and keep them from troubled paths. This is a monumental way he wants to give back to the City of Jackson. The business already participates in career fairs; contributes financially to church activities, youth sports, and the Red Cross. In addition, they service needy customers who can’t afford the prosthetist. Mr. Luster said profit or not it warms his heart to know that he is providing a product that enhances the quality of life of his fellow man/woman.

Mid State received national acclaim in 1988 when featured in, then highly popular African American owned, Jet Magazine. Mr. Luster said he received a telephone call from an African American man from a northern state who was crying with happiness because of the establishment of Mid State. The Clarion Ledger wrote a story in 1989 that still hangs on the wall at the business. Several years ago Mr. Luster was invited to Los Angeles to speak at UCLA to share his experiences with students, encourage them to consider the profession, and recruit potential employees. He found out that African American students were being offered full scholarships prosthetic orthotics or the related studies. Mr. Luster same similar opportunities still exist today in this field for African Americans. Mr. Luster is one of the few African Americans in the country who own a prosthetic orthotics company and one of only 2 to 3 in the state of Mississippi.

Mid State Artificial Limb, Inc., an industry pioneer, a strong community leader, and a business with a great future outlook, are reasons the City of Jackson’s administration is proud to recognize Mid State. Troy Luster, a tireless worker totally dedicated to doing whatever he can to improve his native city, is challenging business owners, government, law enforcement, and ordinary citizens to collaborate to foster positivity in the City of Jackson.

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