Who We Are
Wheelchair Labs is located in Phoenix, Arizona operating as a program of Southwest Community Network, a 501(c)3 non-profit based organization. With caring volunteers and community partners, we refurbish and repair donated electric wheelchairs and scooters; in addition to designing and building all-terrain personal vehicles. All mobility vehicles are gifted to those who are physically impaired which include disabled veterans and others in need so they can move freely within their communities and gain better access to jobs, resources, education and basic needs. Our volunteers go through a repair process to assure that the equipment distributed is fully functional and ready to serve the needs of the less mobile.
Co-founder Lance Greathouse has been fascinated with all types of science and machinery for as long as he can remember. As Lance was afflicted with asthma and sidelined from all sports, Lance’s father, who worked with the Arizona Highway Equipment department, transformed his garage for his sons into a test track for learning basic fabrication and electrical skills. Lance, his brother, and father worked on over 40 custom car projects together. Their garage was the living room for all the boys in the family.
In 2003, Lance’s brother Brent Greathouse was diagnosed with a rare form of Parkinson’s disease. Seeing his brother lose his mobility brought home to Lance how important the wheelchair was to Brent’s life and how cost prohibitive a wheelchair was for many people. Lance went a step further and built his brother a custom edgy designed wheelchair which changed Brent’s life. Instead of seeing his brother as wheelchair-dependent person, they saw Brent and treated him differently talking about the chair instead of illness. Brent succumbed to his debilitating illness in 2004.
Wheelchair Labs was inspired and created through this experience and Lance sought to solicit, repair and give away wheelchairs that would give people the freedom to access basic needs to have a quality of life with friends, family and work. In honor of his brother Brent, Lance continues to do so by helping others become mobile and independent.
Lance Greathouse, Co-Founder
Lance spent 30 years selling, repairing and servicing life support, dental, and laser equipment with companies which include Lyn Medical, Henry Schein Dental Corporation, Biolase and Spectrum Technologies. Lance is a graduate of ITT Technical Institute. Appearances, articles and interviews of his innovations, inventions and wheelchair works include appearances on ABC TV’s Shark Tank, PBS Horizon, National Geographic’s Mad Scientists, Discovery Channel, History Channel’s Invention USA, Science Channel’s Underground Science, and more. He is also included in a number of articles for publications including Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Wired, Wall Street Journal and Forbes.
Trudy Catterfeld, Marketing Director
Trudy has spent 25 years in the marketing and sales of products and services in book publishing, real estate and financial services. She has created brands, logos and marketing strategies for target audiences. Trudy has worked with nonprofits, nonprofit boards and grant writing for over 30 years with the Junior League and several other nonprofits. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona.
Michael T. Prior, President, Priority Financial Group (PFG)
Michael has spent 19 years in the financial services industry. Currently, his firm manages the compliance and sales operations for Financial Advisers in multiple states providing investment, insurance, and estate planning services. Previously, he served as an independent Financial Adviser and has helped banks and credit unions establish ethical and profitable wealth management programs. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Management from the University of Phoenix and graduated from the City of Peoria Leadership Institute.
Bill Robertson, Marketing Executive in Sales Management
Bill has spent 30 years with Reynolds & Reynolds Corporation in sales management of CRM software solutions in the new car automotive industry. His focus is on relationship management and strategic business alliances. He attended the University of Texas Arlington on a track scholarship and has run 4 marathons including the Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon.
Charlie Vierhout, Director of Systems Engineering, Troon
Charlie Vierhout has spent 27 years in computer design of circuit boards, industrial computing, software applications, telecommunications systems and data networks. He has expertise in Machine Shop Management and Industrial Robotics. Previously he served as a City Councilmember for the City of Avondale, Arizona, Board Member of the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce, Board Member of the Southwest Valley Lending Closet and Mosaic Arts Center. He has been an advisor to ITT-Tech and commissions’ advisor for Maricopa Community Colleges. Charlie holds a B.S in Industrial Management Technology.
Polly White, Senior Trust Advisor, The Northern Trust Company
Polly has spent 25 years in the estate planning arena, currently serving as Vice President in the Tucson office of The Northern Trust Company. She is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, past Council Chair of the Probate & Trust Section, past Chair of the Estate Planning, Probate, Trust Section of the Maricopa County Bar Association, and past Chair of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council. She received her Bachelor of Science Marketing from the University of Arizona and her law degree from Michigan State University College of Law.