Michele Erwin has a successful career in the Fashion Industry, having worked for notable fashion houses, such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. After her son was diagnosed with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) and experiencing the difficulties of traveling with a Wheelchair she knew something needed to be done. Taking her business acumen and passion for projects she embarked on the journey of getting wheelchairs crash tested for commercial flight and created All Wheels Up
Dream Destination: Italy and Africa
Alan is an Entrepreneur fighting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He graduated from Bentley University in 2013 with a Management Degree and has been a big part of All Wheels Up since 2014 working alongside Michele its founder. Alan is very active in the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Community and serves on the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy Adult Advisory Council representing the voices of adults living with Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy in PPMD’s legislative, policy, and program activities.
As COO his responsibilities include building and managing the marketing and social media team, managing the website and donation system, building the CRM and donor database, research of aviation, regulations, wheelchair industry, traveling with a wheelchair, laws, giving talks and interviews about All Wheels Up, fundraising, serving on the development committee, helping build the wheelchair advisory committee, and attending events with industry, regulators, and government
From the beginning of his time at All Wheels Up, Alan knew it was possible for wheelchairs to fly in the cabin of airplanes and what was needed was research and an organization focused solely on proving it could be a reality. The work of All Wheels Up led to a feasibility study in 2021 that proved there were no design and engineering challenges so formidable that they call into question the technical feasibility of an in-cabin wheelchair securement system and the value of exploring the concept further.
Disability Advocacy and Inclusion drives Alan to be a a leading voice for what needs to change. One of Alan’s biggest motivator at All Wheels Up is for people who use wheelchairs to freely and independently travel around the world. The future for accessible travel is incredibly bright and having wheelchairs fly in the cabin will dramatically change the entire travel industry.
Dream Destination: Paris
Stephen “Steve” Cullen- Board Member and Chair, Advocacy Committee
Steve is the chief operating officer (COO), Aero Smart Communities, and a former COO of aerospace companies, including one specializing in avionics, interior refurbishments, maintenance, and finishes for corporate aircraft (which use the same airframe as commercial aircraft, e.g., Boeing 737, but with interior modifications). Steve is a former chief strategy officer of a surgical instrument management and consultant company. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force with operations and operational requirements experience, including over 10 years working in Washington, DC. He advocates as a volunteer for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Advocacy Institute and for Rare Disease Legislative Advocates, a program of the EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases and is a member of DAV (Disabled American Veterans). His board experience includes Instruments of Mercy, a non-profit organization repairing donated surgical instruments for healthcare providers for medical mission trips. Steve earned a doctorate degree, MBA, MS, and BS and was a National Defense Fellow at the Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Tinamarie Duff- Founding Boardmember
A New York native now living in New Jersey; Tinamarie has worked at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) for over 20 years holding various leadership roles. She is currently the Global Lead for BMS’ DAWN (Disability Advancement Workplace Network) people and business group, which holds a mission to fosters an environment and workplace culture that promotes the value of individuals with disabilities and their impact on BMS business worldwide. Tinamarie has an undergraduate degree in Marketing and a Master’s in Business.
She is the mother of two smart and active children that keep her busy running from a lacrosse field to a fencing match or theater event. Tinamarie enjoys cooking, volunteering and in addition to AWU she has a passion that brings her to volunteer at a medical clinic and orphanage in Haiti.
Dream Destinations: Fiji and British Columbia
Ryan Nelson- Board Member
With more than 20 years in the aviation industry, Ryan has extensive military and civil aviation experience, and has piloted more than 60 different types of aircraft. Ryan retired from the U.S. Army as an Experimental Test Pilot and now works as an Aircraft Certification Flight Test Pilot for the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For the past 8 years,
Ryan has conducted flight testing and certification of numerous aircraft and aircraft systems, to include new aircraft type certification (TC), amended type certification, and supplemental type certification (STC) of 14 CFR Part 23,25, 27 and 29 aircraft.
In his current position Ryan ensures the flight test compliance of the type certification processes for avionics, propulsion, and mechanical/electrical systems and equipment installations on those same aircraft. He is responsible for the adequacy and uniformity in application of Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR), national policies, advisory circulars, national directives, and procedures affecting the flight test aspects of analysis, design, testing, and continued airworthiness of such aircraft.
Additionally, Ryan serves as the Flight Test representative on the Organizational Management Team (OMT) for Bell and Airbus Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) and serves as the FAA lead for the Bell 525 Crew Error Management (CEM) working group.
Ryan is a strong Veteran and disability advocate and has worked for years to make various activities more accessible to the disabled community. As a mechanical and systems engineer, Ryan enjoys designing and building things and finding unique solutions to problems/challenges we face in everyday life.
Ryan has aided in the development, testing, and implementation of multiple tools for computer and iPad/tablet access for severely disabled persons, to include multiple eye tracking systems, head tracking cameras, finger tracking cameras, with unique mouse/trackpad and/or switch access solutions.
Additionally he has designed and built:
• A wheelchair accessible glider (swing) and playhouse that allows non-ambulatory children to propel
the glider independently and interact, play, learn, discover with their peers.
• A recumbent tricycle with a specialized seat to allow for non-ambulatory persons to enjoy biking.
• An overhead sling system that allows an immobile person to interact with their environment.
• Multiple pieces of specialized furniture that incorporate the overhead sling system and other accessibility modifications.
He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, an M.A. in Education from the University of Virginia, and an M.S. in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. Ryan is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilot (SETP) and the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International, and volunteers as a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) outreach mentor for various organizations.
Dream Destination- Mars.
Karyn McAlphin, currently Design Director at SEKISUI KYDEX – a global manufacturer of aviation-grade thermoplastics, draws upon her aviation expertise and creativity to bridge the gap between what is imagined and what is achievable inflight, merging design with sustainable materials.
Her passion for branding and product development, coupled with an emphasis on innovation and commitment to quality, stems from years of focusing on the customer’s experience in the aviation industry. Karyn’s highly-collaborative approach, combined with her innate ability to translate customers’ wants and needs into viable solutions, continues to serve her well as she develops strategic relationships with aviation design firms and helps airline representatives successfully resolve their cabin interior color, material, and finish challenges.
Karyn has over 18 years of experience in aircraft interior product development and is an accomplished brand management strategist with 25 years’ marketing experience working for a major North American carrier, including advertising and promotions, media production, corporate identity, product development, customer research, branding, uniform development and compliance, and cross-functional team leadership. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees – one from UCLA in Fine Arts and a second from Brooks Institute in Photographic Illustration. Prior to joining SEKISUI KYDEX, Karyn worked for several years as Sr. Manager – Marketing for Voices for CASA Children, a Phoenix-based non-profit organization focused on advocacy for children in Maricopa County’s foster care system. Karyn presently works remotely from Ventura, CA having returned to her roots during the pandemic.
Walt worked for over 30 years at Boeing, retiring in 2020. Most of his career involved oversight of
suppliers in the development, certification, build, delivery, and installation of aircraft passenger seating.
His final position was as the supplier strategy manager for seating on Boeing commercial aircraft. Walt’s
professional experience included supplier evaluation, development, and improvement; investigation and
analysis of seating trends; and the creation, coordination, and implementation of seating strategies.