Edward J. Kane founded Devices 4 the Disabled in summer 2015. He succumbed to complications of ALS in September 2016. We continue in his spirit and we honor his memory, and he continues to inspire us.
Ed Kane spent 34 years in the community banking industry in Chicago where he rose to senior vice president of lending and was elected to his bank’s board of directors. He also served as a member of the technology committee for the America’s Community Bankers Association. Edward served his community as president of the local Chamber of Commerce and the local Development Corporation. He also spent time on the housing subcommittee of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the city of Chicago. His love of sports, especially rugby, led him to serve as president of the Chicago Lions Rugby Football Club, and as treasurer of the United States of America Rugby Football Union.
Joel Heifitz is co-founder and CEO of Chicago-based Concept Laboratories, which conducts cutting-edge product development of high-quality beauty, pain relief, and household products. Prior to this, he was CEO of Joy International, a representative of specialty goods for mail order, TV, print, and retail channels. In 2002, while on vacation with his family, he was paralyzed in a swimming accident. After years of rehabilitation and a rigorous workout routine, his physical condition has improved and, though disabled, he remains at the helm of the company. In an article in Fortune Small Business, he said: "I think I could help people who have gotten hurt like me. I could do a lot of good."
Greg Holden, Director of Communications, is an accomplished communicator and author. He served as Director of Communications for the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also the author of more than 45 books on technical and other subjects, including Starting an Online Business for Dummies, which is in its seventh edition and has sold more than 100,000 copies. He has published articles in Forbes and Inc. and online at CNET. He is a contributing editor to ECommerceBytes, a website that covers e-commerce and online entrepreneurship. He is a volunteer with Rainbow Hospice and is pursuing chaplaincy training at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.
Bob Shea has intimate knowledge of the needs of the disabled and is working to help those in need through a variety of positions. He is one of Rainbow Hospice's most active volunteers and serves on that organization's ethics board. He contributes to the Guillian-Barre Foundation's online newsletter. In 2002, he was stricken with Guillian-Barre Syndrome and rendered a quadriplegic. He eventually recovered and is now devoted to helping others deal with illness and disability.
Bob Gallagher, Jr. is a retired Senior Systems Analyst formerly with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., a large insurance broker and risk management firm headquartered in Itasca, IL. Bob is also a member of the board of the Big Shoulders Fund, which supports educational opportunities for the neediest children in the inner city of Chicago.
Ed Alpert is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Business. He also took advanced courses in nonprofit management from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University. Ed was in private business for 22 years as owner of MASTCO Company, a non-ferrous metal recycling firm. For the past 22 years he served as Executive Director of Temple Sholom of Chicago and Am Shalom in Glencoe, Illinois. Recently retired, he also serves on the board of The Ark, Glencoe Youth Services and volunteers for Midwest Workers and Meals at Home.
Dr. Severko Hrywnak is Chief Executive Officer of Project HUGS Foundation. "Dr. Sev" is a board-certified physician and a successful businessman who developed multi-million dollar commercial, residential, and medical complexes in the Chicago area. He is currently the president and CO of the SEV Group, Advanced Ambulatory Surgical Center, Park Immediate Health Care Centers and VIP Surgery Chicago.
Our Advisory Board
Claire Moroni Sayers, MBA is an expert in strategy development and performance management for nonprofit organizations. In both internal and external consulting roles, Claire has helped clients such as Ronald McDonald House Charities, Chicago Public Schools, and the Cristo Rey Network use data to quantify their impact, drive strategy, and achieve optimal resource allocation. Claire’s family has been touched by both Muscular Dystrophy and ALS, and she is committed to helping people with disabilities access the medical equipment they need.
Kristi L. Kirschner, MD is a physiatrist, clinical medical ethicist and disability studies scholar. She is currently on the medical staff at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital on Chicago’s westside and on the faculty at the University of Illinois in the Department of Disability and Human Development. She is one of the founding partners of the Community Care Alliance of Illinois, a new not-for-profit health plan serving seniors and adults with disabilities in Medicaid and Medicare Advantage, where she serves as a trustee and Chief Medical Officer overseeing the model of care for people with physical disabilities. She also serves on the Board of Access Living Chicago.
Jessica Presperin Pedersen MBA, OTR/L, ATP has over 30 years of experience as an occupational therapist and is a master clinician in the area of wheelchairs and seating. Jessica began her career at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in 1979 and developed the first Wheelchair and Seating Clinic in the Chicago area in 1984. Jessica has worked at rehab centers in Chicago and San Diego directing wheelchair and assistive technology programs. She is presently involved in research at RIC and owns a private practice through which she provides seating evaluations, teaches courses to therapists and suppliers, and consults with manufacturers and states in the areas of product development and seating.
Daniel Popuch, Director of Operations, a lifelong Chicagoan, was raised in a family steeped in community activism and parents who were volunteers themselves. That background shaped Dan’s worldview and instilled a moral imperative of helping others. As a small business owner for 30 years, he has donated to many causes, hosted fundraising events and has worked with non-profit groups. Married, with two sons, he has volunteered both time and financial support to his sons’ schools and to their extracurricular activities in sports, music and academics. Now adults, his sons carry on the family tradition of volunteerism and civic involvement. Dan remains committed to working with other like minded people.