Bruce Curtis – has been 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.
Dilshan Kathriarachchi – Chief Technology Officer of EQ Works Inc. a publicly traded Canadian Technology company and formerly President and Chief Technology Officer at Addictive Mobility, a mobile-advertising start-up. Dilshan was named in Canada’s 30 under 30 for the year 2013 by Marketing Magazine in recognition as one of Canada’s rising stars in Technology and Marketing.
Dilshan has grown up working in technology, rolling out Sri Lanka’s first e-commerce platform in conjunction with one of the country’s leading banks. Since then, he has founded and helped grow three technology based startups over the past 13 years. He has been regular contributors to many leading publications including Canada’s PC World, MacWorld and Sri Lanka’s Lanka Monthly Digest. Dilshan functions frequently has speaking engagements at conferences and thought leadership sessions in Toronto, Canada; Denver, CO; Miami, FL; Dubai, UAE; Colombo, Sri Lanka.
George Butler – is an industrial designer and orthotic technician. He has vast product design experience in mobility, seating products and communication devices for children with complex supportive seating needs in low resourced settings.
George is involved in complete product testing according to international standards. Mechanical testing of rehabilitation products (wheelchairs, prosthetics, patient lifters, etc.) to Australian Standards (AS) and International Standards Organization (ISO) standards.
George designed hand powered and power-assisted tricycles for adults following the product from concept to production including concept development, prototyping, mechanical testing and user trials, appropriate production tooling design, workshop design and setup, staff training and development.
Working with a local NGO George built and equipped two carpentry schools / workshops in a remote mountainous region of post-civil war El Salvador, Central America and carried out vocational training in these centers.
He has worked for various organizations in Australia, El Salvador, Honduras, Ireland, India, Sri Lanka and the UK.
Jamie Noon – spent 30 years being involved in seating and mobility services. He has developed many innovative seating products for markets in the US and abroad. In the mid 1990’s, after years of focusing on design and fabrication of custom devices, he worked as a Seating and Mobility Clinician with the Rehabilitation Engineering Center at Stanford Children’s Hospital. In this period his clinical approach and standard of service were crystalized. In the following years Jamie worked as part of teams within various international organizations. Together they developed products that could be produced locally and training packages for those who assess clients’ needs and fit wheelchairs.
Jamie periodically presents at the International Seating Symposium (ISS) and at the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) where he has chaired the “International Special Interest Group”. He is co-author of World Health Organization’s (WHO) Wheelchair Service Training Program (WSTP) at Basic, Intermediate, Management and Stakeholder training packages. Jamie has evaluated mobility and seating programs and reviewed applications for United States International Agency for Development (USAID) and contributes in the capacity of Ex-Officio member of International Society for Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP).
While Jamie finds product design most satisfying, he feels that the training of wheelchair service providers is most needed and has the greatest impact.
Michelle Ishack – has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist for over 11 years. She has worked in rehabilitation settings, acute care facilities, palliative care and long term care. She has chosen to specialize in seating & mobility in the last five years, working with adults & seniors with neurological & musculoskeletal disorders who have complex positioning needs. Working as part of a large team of occupational therapists, positioning technicians, and mechanics, she has developed experience in the process of conceiving, designing and fabricating postural elements in house. She has spoken as a guest lecturer in the Occupational Therapy department on a number of occasions at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
Michelle has recently finished her M. Sc. in International Studies from the Université de Montréal, Canada, through which she completed a four month internship with Motivation Australia. Her final research paper dealt with the issue of stigma as it pertains to wheelchair users in developing countries.
Michelle has volunteered in a number of capacities in Bolivia, Canada, Kenya, Mexico and Romania. She is fluently bilingual in English & French and is often called upon to translate or verify the translation of various documents or presentations used in her work.