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 to 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 is 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.
Kayla has a degree in Business & Management. Her focus is to spread awareness about overheating, over sweating, and microclimate management and how WheelAir can provide an effective solution for wheelchair users.
With 15 years of experience in operational roles in Telecom and Logistics, Niels is developing a Quality Management System, distribution, and supply chain configuration to strengthen WheelAir’s expansion. Niels' expertise will help WheelAir progress into the exciting next phase of growth.
Nienke has a bachelor degree in Medicine and is currently finishing a Research Masters in Clinical Epidemiology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She personally experiences the every day benefits of using a WheelAir, and is excited contribute to WheelAir’s growth. With her clinical knowledge and research background she will focus on gathering more clinical data for WheelAir products and provide educational material about heat, moisture, and the benefits of WheelAir.
Neill Bo Finlayson
Outreach & Communications Coordinator
Neill Bo is currently studying a Masters in Communication Science in Amsterdam. He graduated with a degree in Law and Politics before embarking on a career in journalism in which he worked at various regional and national news titles in Scotland.
International Business Development Intern
A final year Masters student at IAE Caen University School of Management studying International Trade Development, Charline is focused on understanding international markets and identifying opportunities for partnerships to bring WheelAir to wheelchair users around the world.
Health Economics and Outcomes Research Intern
With a bachelors degree from Kansas State University and currently pursuing a Masters in Health Economics and Management at the Erasmus University, Carter is focused on UK market accesses and HEOR. He is interested in national adoption and reimbursement criteria for WheelAir.
Health Economics and Outcomes Research Intern
Following graduation from the University of Sheffield, Bradley is currently at Erasmus University Rotterdam studying a European Masters in Health Economics and Management. His focus with WheelAir is on health economics and outcomes research, as well as market access.
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”.
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