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. Outside of work, Joe’s interests include creating the perfect truck and camping with his family.
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, business management, videos, photos, and written documentation. During kiteboat tests, she often captains the chase boat. Outside of work, Betsy climbs as many rocks as possible.
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 has been integral to the development of kiteboat electronic control systems and in all aspects of Jetfoiler development.
Alec graduated from Dordt College with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Before joining Kai Concepts, he developed algorithms for generating and evaluating motor designs in Sioux Center, Iowa, and he studied permanent magnet motor design at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 2013-2016, Alec co-founded a self-funded startup focused on reclaiming, refurbishing and reselling automation control systems. His other personal projects have included the development of an optimized electric bicycle and creating an Arduino vivarium controller. On the Kai Concepts Team, Alec works to design and build electrical control systems for the Jetfoiler. In his free time, Alec enjoys kitesurfing, rock climbing, and walking his two dogs.
Sonja earned her PhD in Environmental Science, Policy & Management from UC Berkeley, where she spent her time researching the ecology, evolution, and conservation of Caribbean coral reefs and Indo-pacific parrotfish. In addition to her academic background, she has worked as a data scientist in the tech industry and as a hiking guide in Yosemite. Between her many rock climbing and skiing expeditions, Sonja completes bookkeeping, invoicing, and payroll tasks for Kai Concepts and is responsible for financial reporting.
Margueritte holds a BA in English from the University of Florida, and works as an online media consultant for small businesses around the country. She joined Kai Concepts in 2015. She often documents jetfoiler and kiteboat tests with video and still photography. She also maintains the communication systems and point-of-view cameras used during testing. Margueritte maintains the jetfoiler website.