The very first WheelAir was brought to life in 2015 by our Managing Director, Corien Staels, as her final university project during her textiles degree. Her university tutor, who was a wheelchair user, had told Corien of the problems associated with overheating. Corien thought… why don’t I solve that?
Looking into the issue of overheating further, Corien learned that overheating in a wheelchair is not only very uncomfortable, but also potentially dangerous. She learned that people were using ice-packs and water sprays keep cool. It seemed ridiculous to her that in this day and age, there wasn’t a technological solution.
So, she came up with the WheelAir concept. A simple idea that has already made a lot of impact. The WheelAir system is designed to remove excess heat and moisture from the backs of wheelchair users and cool their core temperature. Not only this, the team based in Glasgow, Scotland are working hard to build a stylish brand that wheelchair users can relate to. The WheelAir has been described as ‘a breath of fresh air’ in the industry. Best of all, the WheelAir is already changing lives. One user, Jay, told us when she first tried the WheelAir that it was the first time in 20 years that she had been able to sit it in the sun without overheating. A momentous moment for both Jay and us.
WheelAir Founder and Managing Director
Since learning about the challenges some wheelchair users experience with overheating and over sweating, Corien has been on a mission to make overheating and over sweating a thing of the past. Nothing motivates her more than hearing about how much of a positive impact WheelAir has had on someone's life.
Product Design Engineer
David Reekie has a degree in product design innovation and a masters in product design engineering. Over the past 10 years, he has worked in the medical and aviation sector. These heavily regulated industries have fitted him well with a keen eye for detail.
Susie qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2000, working in the NHS and also as an independent practitioner. Her area of expertise lies in spinal cord injury rehabilitation, where she has enjoyed 14 years at the National Spinal Injuries Centre. Having also achieved a Masters in Design Research for Disability (2006), Susie is excited to join the WheelAir team, where she can combine her passions for a good idea and improving lives for people with disabilities.
Digital Marketing Coordinator
Kayla has a degree in Business & Management. Her focus is to use WheelAir's social media to help create buzz around the conversation of overheating, over sweating, and microclimate management.
A senior business leader within the Life Science and MedTech sector, having led successful businesses such as Orthofix and Stryker. He remains focused on delivering improved healthcare outcomes to people by mentoring and supporting entrepreneurial individuals.
Husband and father, Bernard loves to work with people, ideas and innovation. Former CEO of FMCG and currently a headhunter, he believes WheelAIR is so much more than a big idea or a blast of freshness: it is your “back-up daily friend”.
Max is a Medical Doctor by training with a wide background in entrepreneurial activities involving medically oriented products. As Founder and CEO of Vicair he is a true industry veteran with a wealth of information to help make WheelAir a success.
As CEO of Skylla Europe, producer for several key wheelchair manufacturers, Saffier has become an expert in medical textile manufacturing and supply chain management, which is invaluable to a startup like WheelAir.
"WheelAir will be a game-changer for wheelchair users. I turn it on before I get warm so I am in control of my temperature."
Model, athlete and entrepreneur
"I find overheating very, very uncomfortable. It’s also very hard to control. It limits what I can do – if it’s a hot day for instance, I’ve got to watch I don’t sit in the sun for too long or don’t do anything too excessive. I have to make sure I keep in the shade. It’s really tiring – not just because it exhausts my body, but because I’m constantly having to think about it. The WheelAir has been great not just for when I'm playing sport, but in everyday life too"
WheelAir Ambassador & Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Player
Student Service Office and Adventure Seeker
Talented nautical, military and landscape artist
Tattoo artist and camping lover
Music and sport lover