Dick Sarns is easily one of the biggest pioneers in Ann Arbor’s medical technology industry. Along with designing an innovative heart-lung machine for cardiac bypass surgery back in 1960, Sarns also founded NuStep, a recumbent cross-training bike for individuals with limited movement. After celebrating his 91st birthday in June, Sarns is retiring from his self-started company.
NuStep is a family run company based out of Pittsfield Township. Founded in 1987, Sarns and his wife launched a first-of-its-kind cross trainer in 1993. Since then, its popularity has only been increasing. As of Oct 2016, nearly 90,000 NuStep units had been sold across 20 countries. Locally, they can be found in the YMCA, the Liberty Athletics Club, and all over the U-M.
Every step of the manufacturing process is done right here in the Ann Arbor region. The machines are hand-built in a former warehouse located in Pittsfield Township. After years of subcontracting work outside of the region, NuStep decided to create the necessary parts themselves in order to ensure the parts’ quality.
NuStep employs more than 100 people, many of whom live and work in the Ann Arbor region. Sarns wanted to work with engineers and people in the community, saying “It was one of our primary goals to build our company in Ann Arbor and stay here. It’s a great community.”
NuStep has made an incredible impact on healthcare, senior living, and fitness centers both locally and across the world. Dick Sarns has dedicated his life to inclusive fitness where any individual, no matter who they are, can utilize the product and become healthier.