Ricks life took an interesting turn in the summer of 1976 when on the way home from work one day he left his motorcycle and sailed through the air introducing himself to a car coming the other way. Needless to say, they never did become friends. A T-8 spinal cord injury gave Rick new perspective on life and with the gauntlet being thrown down, he accepted the challenge.
Ricks goal was to get his college degree and re-enter the workforce. His first degree was in Physical Education with the second being in Business. The dynamic duo he thought and he was right, they led him to the rehab segment of the healthcare industry where he worked for 32 years. Rick stated that getting the chance to meet so many incredible people and to get the opportunity to change a person’s life is incredibly rewarding. in 2015 Rick was asked by United Spinal Association to start a Chapter in Southern California which after much thought he agreed. Awfully glad they asked he thought. I love being a part of a team of dedicated people, whose mission is to provide resources that will have a positive impact on a person’s life and the lives of those around them.
On a personal note, Rick has been married to his beautiful wife Karen for 33 years and has five incredible children (Rick, Richelle, Jenna, Aimee and Kyle) and four fantastic grandkids (Isabella, Lucas, Reese and Parker). Ricks passion is to be involved with great organizations such as United Spinal, helping to improve the quality of life for those living with paralysis.
Warren is 60 years old with a zest for life. In 2016 he was injured as a passenger in a car accident which resulted in a C-4/5 complete spinal cord injury. As a glass half full person, he is learning new and exciting things every day, and welcomes any advice from the community on how to move around this new world of his.
Warren grew up in a small town in New Jersey, and went on to be a CYO regional state champion in wrestling. He attended San Diego State University to pursue his love for acting, working towards a degree in Theater and Arts. Warren later moved to New York City where he did some off Broadway for 4 years, eventually moving back to Southern California in 1989.
For the last 30 years, he has been an accomplished VP/Partner in a prestigious global Executive Search Firm where he has worked with Fortune Companies (ie: Amazon, Sony, to name a few) around the globe assisting with high level employee search projects. Upon returning to a consulting and advising role, Warren thrived with the help of his previous employer/mentor/boss, Purcell International Group, which set him up with complete home automation office.
Since his injury Warren has greatly appreciated all of the help and mentoring from people within the spinal cord injury community, and he is truly devoted to giving back to that community. He feels truly blessed to be able to still live life to the fullest and he is excited to be a part of Spinal Network where he hopes he can mentor others in their recovery by sharing his experience mentally and physically.
President, Corporate Partnership
Vice President, Marketing
Chelle Struve is an accomplished marketing and advertising professional specializing in integrated marketing programs. These include social, print, broadcast and digital production, multicultural campaigns, product launches, market research, media placement and branding for business-to-business and consumer national accounts in agency, nonprofit and corporate settings. She has produced award winning campaigns for Toyota, Mattel, AMN Healthcare, Embassy Suites and Foothill Transit. Her nonprofit experience includes her previous role as Director of Marketing at Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and client San Diego VeloYouth.
Sean McCormack, locally born and raised San Diegan, has been employed in the medical equipment and supplies industry for 10 years. Graduating from San Diego State University in 2009 with a B.A. in Public Administration, he desired to work for a government position in the Water Department. With the economy in a recession and job market at a freeze, an opportunity to get his foot in the door in the Durable Medical Equipment and Supplies industry came arose.
Sean has worked for Durable Medical Equipment providers locally in San Diego, providing medical equipment, Custom Manual and Power Wheelchairs, Oxygen and Respiratory Services, standard Durable Medical Equipment. Additionally, Sean’s primary roles include health insurance contracting, developing relationships with referral partners, insurance coding and protocol, and overall medical equipment product knowledge. Sean’s true passion, Complex Rehabilitation Technology, providing those faced with catastrophic diagnosis custom manual and power wheelchairs. Sean’s previous employment was with Access Medical, California’s largest, independent provider for custom manual and power. His passion stems from his Father, Kevin, who has been beating Multiple Sclerosis for 36 years. Sean also works a morning job, as a package handler 4:30-8:30 for the last 15 months. Additionally, Sean now works for Lincare, the nation’s largest Respiratory provider for Oxygen and additional Respiratory related services.
Sean has a daughter, Gianna, who enjoys being by his side, meeting some of the clients who he works for. His commitment with the Knights of Columbus keeps him active giving back to the community. Sean’s, Mother and Father are his backbone. Sean enjoys sharing his time, talent, and treasure, with a few non-profit organizations, Wheelchair Dance Organization, Rolling with Me, and personal to him, Multiple Sclerosis Society. Sean’s, motto is, “To give tirelessly of oneself”. One of his catch phrases, “Keep Smiling”.
Dominick Taitano’s life changed 33 years ago after he was involved in an ATV accident. He is a C3/C4 ventilator dependent quadriplegic. He did his rehabilitation at Rancho Los Amigos for twenty-three months. After rehab, he pursued earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at Cal State University San Marcos. After graduating, he worked for a leather goods company for 14 years doing data entry and purchasing. He has also been involved with a family-owned company that provided resources and services to individuals with disabilities.
Dominick grew up San Diego and stays very active despite his high level of injury. He feels life is too short not to embrace all that it has to offer. Staying positive is what has helped him the most. He has also been blessed with the loving support of his family. He strives to do the most he can even with all of his limitations. He enjoys attending sporting events, concerts, plays, amusement parks, places with incredible scenery, and spending time with family and friends. He also finds pleasure in traveling and experiencing new adventures. Dominick has been a peer mentor to those with SCI, which he finds very fulfilling. He figures he should share the knowledge and insight that he has gained after living with his injury for so long. He has also been a guest speaker at colleges and numerous functions. Dominick finds strength in sharing his personal story with others and hopes others will benefit from his life experiences.
Executive Board Member
Ania represents the spina bifida community. She grew up in San Diego and attended the San Diego Adaptive Sports and Recreations summer camp as far back as 1992 and has since made the transition to counselor/mentor.
Ania recently completed her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and entered into a graduate program, both at SDSU.
Ania's passion is dancing, specifically fitness dance. She is a certified World of Dance (WOD), U-Jam dance instructor and has plans to start an all-inclusive dance fitness WOD U-Jam program. Ania will inject a new level of energy into Spinal Network.
Ania is our Chapter Advocacy Representative designing a strategic plan for advocacy and self advocacy in both San Diego and Riverside counties.
Rusty did not let a C5-C6 spinal cord injury at the age of 12 define who he is or who he could become. As a person new to using a wheelchair, Rusty became a voice for change. Rusty advocated for change in the public school system, disputed community accessibility issues, and successfully challenged Department of Rehabilitation’s “most difficult to serve” policy. These early experiences are the foundation that motivates Rusty to advocate for the injustice and inequities within the disability community. Rusty received his B.A. in business administration and graduated with a M.S. in rehabilitation counseling from SDSU. Rusty has been a vocational specialist with the WorkAbility III program at SDCCD since 2003.