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Reality TV to custom wheelchairs - Taking metal fabrication for a ride

At the age of only 14, "custom fabrication" was already practically Sean Mahaney's middle name. By the time he graduated from high school he had too much business to continue working out of his home garage and had to open his own shop.

From those early entrepreneurial days to now, Sean has worked in a number of shops on a variety of projects - from reality shows (Remember Discovery Channel's "Street Customs?") to mini trucks (the original Master Image Customs) - and has made a name for himself as a chief master fabricator.

Through it all though, one thing has remained constant - his passion for hands on work through custom fabrication. Now, that passion has put Sean to work in an unlikely direction - his newest business venture - building custom wheelchairs, A custom Sean Co wheelchair.

After a life change brought him to a new town and a new job, Sean reconnected with a former girlfriend, Donna. The two married and both brought two children to the relationship, creating a new family to go with their new lives.

Soon, Sean realized that one of Donna's daughters, Trinity, was something of a kindred spirit to him. Born with Spina Bifida, Trinity is a full-time wheelchair user, and wheels were one thing Sean understood. "I thought this was a great opportunity for me to have fun with her, considering I like everything with wheels. I quickly realized that pre-made chairs, bikes and sports equipment for people who have special needs cost way too much for the average family to afford.

"Sports equipment is not covered at all on most insurance plans, so there isn't much help in getting these kids out and active. I decided I had the ability to do something about this, and I had most of the equipment already."

Sean got to work in his shop and started creating Trinity a custom wheelchair for an upcoming sports camp she was planning to attend in Santa Barbara.Using parts from old wheelchairs, Sean was able to put together a chair that fit Trinity's size and specific needs. By modifying used parts to work with his design and reduce weight, Sean proved that the chairs could be built on a budget with very few expensive parts. Trinity in her new chair - Sean's first custom wheelchair - ready for wheelchair sports camp.



For Trinity, this meant that she wouldn't have to settle for the typical one-size-fits-all options available to wheelchair users. It was also a dream come true for her mom, Donna, who had always been a big advocate for proper fit for wheelchair users. The chair drew a lot of attention during the camp, and it was then that Sean realized the very real need for custom chairs that reflected the personality of individual riders and placed an emphasis on proper size and fit. Luckily, Donna had plenty of experience in helping fit people to their wheelchairs. Trinity's sports chair updated with a new paint job. Word of mouth traveled amongst the local wheelchair community that there was a more affordable, custom builder on the scene. Within a year and a half demand for the chairs grew to a point where Sean has now been able to quit his previous job and work full time on his new business, SeanCo Custom Wheelchairs, a division of SeanCo Fabrication Corporation.

"We are innovating new designs and styles that haven't been seen in the wheelchair community before, while keeping our prices well under other companies that are close to what we do. We really have started a new field of ultra-custom, one of a kind wheelch