Marc KrizackMarc Krizack
Whirlwind Executive Director since 2003; 2004 San Jose Tech Museum Laureate and member of Santa Clara University’s 2006 Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI) cohort; A former wheelchair mechanic at the UC Berkeley Disabled Students Program in late 70’s and early 80’s, throughout the 90’s he helped transform a disabled sports club in Novosibirsk (Siberia) into Russia’s first independent living center and helped establish the first university level disabled students program in Russia at Novosibirsk State University. He is a contributing author and member of the editorial committee of the World Health Organization Guidelines on the Provision of Manual Wheelchairs in Less Resourced Settings; Former Co-chair and current Vice-chair of International Special Interest Group within the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA).


RalfHotchkissRalf Hotchkiss
Wheelchair-rider; engineer, inventor; Whirlwind co-founder; for 35+ years a wheelchair-designer – builder – trainer; 1989 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and recipient of countless other honors and awards; has worked in 42 countries teaching people who need wheelchairs how to build and maintain them for themselves.


SashaAlexander Afonin
Alexander (Sasha) Afonin is a machinist, engineer, and wheelchair designer, with special expertise in manufacturing training, technology, and quality assurance. He graduated in 1971 from a technical college associated with an instrument-making factory in the city of Novosibirsk, Russia, where he continues to live. After leaving service in the Soviet army in 1974, he went to work at the large Aeroflot Helicopter Repair Facility (HRF) in Novosibirsk. He received an advanced technical degree in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) in 1986 and returned to the HRF where, in 1990 he first began to work with Whirlwind. In 1992, Sasha joined with some of his co-workers at the HRF to form the small private company SibMedDesign, in order to design and build wheelchairs suitable for use in Russia. In 1996, Sasha received training in wheelchair standards and testing at the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratory. Since 2005, Sasha has worked as a technical expert for Whirlwind in Russia, India, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and the Republic of Georgia. From 2009 to 2012 he was Whirlwind’s leading technical expert in setting up a wheelchair factory from scratch in Tbilisi, Georgia.


JoanJoan Costello
Administration. Long time volunteer with Whirlwind. Writer, editor of Whirlwind publications, Keeper of the Mailing list. Retired from University of California administration.


IndriyantoIndriyanto Sudarto Hardjodijono
Indriyanto joined the Whirlwind Wheelchair team in 2012 for technical support and quality control. He is currently serving as Special Projects design team leader. He is also Whirlwind’s trainer in wheelchair assembly for our Wheelchair Provision and Assembly Centers (WPAC) in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. He worked for more than 17 years (1994 – 2012) in the engineering department of a wheelchair factory in Tangerang City – Indonesia, where he was Product Development Leader working on product design, technical drawing, production process plan and costing. He also was Material Master and Bill of Material Leader for SAP implementation in 2006. Member of TCSWUG, Tangerang City SolidWorks User Group since 2010.


MariaUlfaMaria Ulfah

Maria Ulfah has worked as Whirlwind’s shipping and marketing agent since 2011. She is based in Indonesia. She worked at PT.Dharma wheelchair factory in Jakarta for 10 years before joining Whirlwind.  She processes international orders, manages our supplier/vendor/supply chain, shipping arrangements, customer relations, and other activities. She is certified to World Health Organization standards as a provider of wheelchair services in Indonesia under the UCPRUK training program.


BobIncertiBob Incerti
Bob Incerti, SF Operations Manager and former Instructor in wheelchair design and fabrication. Heads up Whirlwind participation in San Francisco’s Project Homeless Connect. Graduate of San Francisco State Design and Industry Department. Vietnam Veteran. Professional wood worker and master craftsman with a career in residential construction. Lived and taught outdoor education in Kenya and Lesotho. Has volunteered in outdoor education in the SF Bay Area for 25 years. Whirlwind volunteer and employee since 1998.


BruceCurtisBruce Curtis
Bruce Curtis is a member of Whirlwind’s Advisory Board. He was the International Programs Manager for the World Institute on Disability from 1992 until 2014. Mr. Curtis, a disability rights activist who uses a wheelchair, has been working internationally to build the capacity of disability NGOs since 1980. He started providing capacity building training for disability NGOs in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and in the Caribbean from 1980 to 1985. From 1992-2006, he was representing WID while working in Russia and other post-Soviet countries, and during the last six years has worked with disability NGOs in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Georgia, Lebanon, Iraq, Morocco and Uzbekistan, while funded by USAID and the State Department. Mr. Curtis has also developed projects that promote disability NGOs as peace builders in post-conflict countries, including designing and implementing in 2007 with Mercy Corps in Iraq, a project to train disabled Iraqis (Kurds, Shia and Sunni) as community advocates, and from 2004-2006 with the Russian disability NGO Perspektiva and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Georgia Mission, a project to train disabled Georgians and Abkhazians as community advocates who would promote inclusive education in local schools for children with disabilities. Mr. Curtis has also provided technical assistance to disability leaders in Nepal, Bhutan, Lebanon, Ethiopia and various other countries. From 2009-2014, Mr. Curtis managed a USAID funded 5-year project in the Republic of Georgia in partnership with the Coalition for Independent Living, (a national coalition of 24 disability NGOs), in order to set up a small factory (half of the workers use wheelchairs) to produce high-quality, appropriate technology, adult and children’s RoughRider wheelchairs and to conduct public education and advocacy campaigns on promoting a barrier-free environment. Mr. Curtis also helped set up WHO Basic and Intermediate Services provided by the Neuro-Development Center, a children’s rehabilitation center, which has trained occupational therapists to provide postural support seating services for children and adults in wheelchairs and static seats. In 2011-2012, Mr. Curtis, with technical assistance from the Lebanese Physical Handicap Union, collaborated with the Regional Union for Persons with Disabilities in Marrakech Morocco, to develop a strategic plan of action focused on promoting inclusive education and to build their capacity to influence newly elected local and provincial government representatives.


TapanTapan Banerjee
Tapan Banerjee, PhD, serves as a Senior Adviser to Whirlwind. He is the Senior Vice President for Global Partners United, and served as the former Executive Director of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD). He has over 25 years of experience in the field of international business development, with a special focus on creating opportunities for people with disabilities in corporate and public ventures.

Presently, he is Counselor, Senior Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE); Consultant, National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education; local chair corps for Wheels of the World; Board of Directors, Excel, an employment opportunity program for disabled persons; Program Manager, MGM consulting company dealing with training and creating opportunities for persons with disabilities; Representative from Darnesville District to Fairfax Area Disability Board and member of Long Term Care Coordinating Committee of Fairfax County, VA. He is an advisor for E-Car Corporation, for golf carts for disabled golfers; member, Board of Directors, National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), USA; and Consultant, World Bank’s Disability Program, Washington, D.C.

He was the Regional Commercial Counselor for West Africa for the American Embassy in Ivory Coast, Director of the U.S. Commercial Liaison Office to the African Development Bank (ADB), U.S. Department of Commerce, Commercial Counselor, American Embassies in Abu Dhabi, UAE and Amsterdam; Director, U.S. Export Assistance Center in Atlanta; First Secretary/Commercial Attach, American Embassy, New Delhi, India, and First Secretary/Senior Commercial Officer for the American Embassy in Helsinki, Finland.