meet our viggi team
Chief Executive Officer
blue sky explorer & inventor
Sandra is naturally curious about the sense of wonder and awe in life. Using her gifts in understanding deep user needs and designing solutions that make a meaningful difference is what ignites a fire in her belly. She loves to swing in the park with her kids and believes that it's important to keep the child within us, especially when designing for children.
Sandra holds an MFA in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her thesis research focused on innovation in classroom design and she is the inventor of the Vidget ™ . Sandra holds a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing and double major in art from SUNY Brockport.
viggi chief of movement
Jackie Bartell, M.Ed. has been working in the field of special education of over 30 years. Jackie received both her B.A. in Psychology and her master’s degree in Developmental Disabilities from the University of Rochester. Jackie has worked with special needs children in a variety of settings including, private and public schools and as a consultant teacher with families. Currently, Jackie provides mentorship to agencies, using the DIR model as well as integrating the DIR approach into her work within her own classroom. Additionally Jackie is a trainer for ICDL, providing online instruction globally in the DIR model.
For the last 20 years Jackie has focused on Autism and the application of the DIR model to education both in and outside the classroom, as well as training hundreds of professionals and families on the DIR model of intervention. She has been a certified DIR facilitator since 2001.
Industrial Design Intern
viggi creator of things
William is a fourth-year industrial design student at RIT with a
minor in entrepreneurship. He joined the Viggi team in September 2018.
Will enjoys shooting hoops at any court he can find having been a student athlete for RIT. Will studied design in Copenhagen, Denmark
and plans on one day opening his own design houseware shop.
Through his education in design and business, Will is able to develop his design while taking into account the business feasibility. Will introduces his own style in his work while maintaining the Viggi core
values. His thorough design process includes performing user interviews, market research, and 3D models.
His favorite part of Viggi is the freedom of creative expression and being part of a team that provides excellent support and feedback throughout the design process. While providing top quality design work he is interested in absorbing the inner workings of a small business
and growing as an individual. He believes through hard work and
collective effort, the Viggi team can produce products that make a difference in peoples lives.
meet our board
Chairman of the Board
Chief Champion & Trailblazer
Chief Executive Officer
Dick is the driving force behind the success of Viggi Kids. He specializes in startups and corporate turnarounds and after hearing our story, decided to invest not only funding, but also time and strategic direction. He was President and CEO of Pictometery International Corp. from 2000 to 2010 and currently serves as CEO for CurAgeis Technologies in Rochester, NY.
As a member of the Board of Trustees of Rochester Institute of Technology and Nazareth College, Dick has been actively engaging Viggi Kids with academic support. He is also Chairman of the Board of Advisors at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science and a member of the University of Rochester’s Economic Development Board and University of Rochester Medical Center Board.
His broad entrepreneurial and management experience allows him to lead the strategic direction of Viggi Kids with extreme skill, as we grow our business, refine our product designs, and forge new and expand existing markets.
Dr. James Watters
Senior VP for Finance & Administration
Rochester Institute of Technology
RIT Venture Fund
James Watters joined the RIT team in 1994 as budget director. He is now the senior vice president of finance and administration and treasurer. At RIT, he oversees the activity of more than 740 full-time employees and 1,500 student workers. He is responsible for administering the university’s annual $661 million operating budget; capital budget totaling $156 million; $850 million endowment and working capital portfolios; and $275 million public debt portfolio.
CEO, Excell Partners
Theresa Mazzullo is the CEO of Excell Partners, a seed stage venture fund with $14 Million under management. She has a 30 year track record in business, finance and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Excell, Theresa was President & Principal of EPIC Advisors, Inc., a 401(k) recordkeeping company with $1.5 Billion in plan assets. She managed a successful sale of that company in 2005. In her role as Excell’s CEO, her duties include company solicitation, deal screening, governance, compliance, community integration, finance and fundraising. Theresa received her BA Degree from Spring Hill College and a Graduate Banking Degree from the ABA’s Stonier Graduate School.
Jim Brush is the executive director of E3 Rochester who has deep roots in the community as a business owner, leader and community advocate. He and his brother Douglas owned Sentry Group, a privately held manufacturer and marketer of fire resistant safes, files and chests started in Rochester by their grandfather in 1930. Brush retired as president and CEO of Sentry in 2014.
When asked why he joined Viggi as a Board Member and investor, Brush stated, “For many years I have been involved in a variety of early childhood development initiatives. I have always felt that avoiding problems early was a far better approach than remediating them later, at high cost, after lives had been irreversibly damaged. Viggi offers products that fit perfectly with this strategy and I am excited to be an investor and Board member as we bring innovative new ideas to market to support early learning.”
Ronald J. Papa
NFA - National Fire Adjustment Co., Inc.
Ron has been instrumental in NFA's growth for more than 30 years. He has successfully adjusted more than 2,000 insurance losses working for a wide range of clients. Ron earned the prestigious designation of Senior Professional Public Adjuster and is accredited by the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), of which he is past president. He was named Person of the Year by NAPIA for "outstanding leadership" and recently addressed the National Symposium of Insurance Commissioners at their conference in Florida. Ron is approved as an instructor by numberous State Insurance Departments, the New York State Bar Association, and the Society of CPAs. He graduated from Niagara University.
Senior Vice President
UBS Financial Services, Inc.
Since 2000, Michael has been committed to providing comprehensive solutions to his clients' financial planning needs. His areas of expertise include investment management, retirement planning, tax planning and estate planning. Throughout his professional career, Michael has helped highly successful individuals, families and institutions with their financial needs, and continues to provide only the highest standard of care and expertise for wealth creation and preservation.
Prior to 2000, he was the owner of Security Safe, a large regional security firm which he sold in 1996. He serves on the Board of Jewish Senior Life, where he is Treasurer, Chairman of the Finance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee. He is also involved in Rochester Broadway Theater League (RBTL), he is Chairman of the Development Committee and the Board Nominating Committee, and serves on the Executive Committee.
RIT Industrial Design
Stan is the Graduate Coordinator of the Industrial Design MFA Program at Rochester Institute of Technology. He advised both Sandra and Christalyn through the design process of the Vidget and Digit Widgit products.
As an educator for the last 15 years, Stan has taught at Pratt Institute and Syracuse University prior to joining Rochester Institute of Technology’s Industrial Design Program in 2001, where he served as the Department Chair and the Graduate Coordinator, leading the department to one the highest ranked industrial design programs nationally and internationally.
Stan's areas of current research and interest include, sensible design, Dr. Seuss, whole/brain thinking, abstractions and perception, emergent properties of artifacts and environments and most importantly, education of the next generation of brilliant designers. Stan also holds a MID from Syracuse University.
Dr. Whitney Rapp
St. John Fisher College
Dr. Rapp is an Associate Professor of Inclusive Education in the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. She earned her Ph.D. in Special Education from Michigan State University in 1997. Dr. Rapp also holds a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from SUNY Potsdam and a Master's degree in Special Education from Michigan State. Dr. Rapp has teaching experience in several grade levels, in both inclusive and specialized settings. Her teaching and research focus on the areas of disability awareness, inclusive education, classroom management through community building, and support strategies for learners with neurologically-based differences.
Dr. Rapp is the author of two books focused on universal design in the inclusive classroom:
Teaching Everyone: An Introduction to Inclusive Education
Universal Design for Learning in Action: 100 Ways To Teach All Learners
Ooey Gooey Lady
Lisa is the founder and CEO of Ooey Gooey, Inc. where her mission is to assist in the transformation of the industry of early childhood education by offering three specific things: one) the best workshops and trainings; two) the most up to date materials and resources; and 3) insightful conversations and connections through the power of social media. Lisa presents hundreds of workshops each year to both domestic and international audiences on various topics related to early childhood education.
Lisa has become known for her ability to link hands-on activities to educational standards, her outspoken advocacy, and her commitment to creating child-centered, play-based early childhood environments. Her understanding of the importance of play is obvious in both her professional and personal life.