Don holds multiple patents on innovations in sports and energy systems. During his tenure as Head Sail Designer at Gaastra Sails and, subsequently, as Head of R&D for Naish International, he was responsible for advancements in both design and manufacturing. Don’s background as a professional windsurfer on the World Cup Tour and as a professional kitesurfer has kept him on the cutting edge of sail and kite development for the past 30 years. He has received many awards for competition and design, and has been featured in and contributed to magazines, movies, and TV shows internationally. At Kai Concepts, Don is responsible for the overall project vision, for directing kite design, and for helming the kite on boat tests.
Joe earned a degree in physics from the Colorado School of Mines and spent the next ten years working seasonally on commercial fishing boats in Alaska. During the off-season, he built a 26-foot catamaran that he sailed with his wife from Washington to Alaska to the Gulf of California. In 2007, Joe joined Makani Power to work with Don on kiteboat development. At Kai Concepts, Joe is the shop and engineering manager and a skilled designer and fabricator. During kiteboat tests, Joe is the usual helmsman.
Dan has 10 years of experience engineering, welding and designing - beginning long before his graduation from the University of Maryland in 2012 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. As an engineer, Dan specializes in design, fabrication and the implementation of systems. Having worked in fabrication in various locations around California, Dan joined the Kai Concepts team in late 2015, and is a key figure in the boat building and on the Kiteboat test team.
Jamie holds multiple master’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon, where he contributed to research in robotics, AI, and data mining. At Stanford, he assisted the winning DARPA Grand Challenge autonomous car development team, and at Makani Power he developed avionics hardware and software for a kite-based wind power system. Jamie joined Kai Concepts in 2009, and here he is responsible for developing the data logging and analysis hardware and software, and for maintaining an archive of test data. He also manages the technical side of the website and contributes to overall project design.
Betsy grew up on the beach in San Diego, and she comes from a long line of sailing enthusiasts and engineers, including a grandfather who designed a record-setting hydrofoil boat in the 1950s. After graduating from Carleton College, she worked as an audio editor at a radio station and as a print editor. In 2008, she joined Makani Power’s archive department, and in 2010 she joined the Kiteboat Project. At Kai Concepts, she is responsible for project management, videos, photos, and written documentation.