President and Founder
Dick, an above the knee amputee began running in the mid-seventies. A business entrepreneur, with a successful computer applications company, Dick realized that he needed to do something about his sedentary lifestyle. He joined the West Side YMCA and found his passion. From a mile, he progressed to a five-mile race in Central Park.
Buoyed by his success, five months later, he ran his first marathon, and became the first amputee to run 26.2 miles. There was no looking back. In 1983, he founded the Achilles Track Club, currently known as Achilles International.
Dick has a BS, MBA, and Ph.D. from New York University and lives in Manhattan. He’s been married for 40+ years and has a married son and a granddaughter.
212-354-0300 ext 301
Vice-President, and Founder of the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans
Mary Bryant joined Achilles in 1997 when her oldest brother, paralyzed from the neck down, became the first man to complete the NYC Marathon without the use of arms or legs. She is a ten-time marathoner herself.
Besides her work with the Freedom Team, she is responsible for the growth and development of Achilles, including finding sponsors. Mary co-authored Success is a Team Effort and Go Achilles!. She is also an inspirational speaker, having been featured on several television programs including, NBC Nightly News and ABC’s World News Tonight.
She was the 2009 kick-off speaker of the White House’s Wellness Seminars; she served as president of the New York Tri-State Chapter of the National Speakers Association, and she is on the Advisory Board of Evelyn Lauder’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Just One Break. She is also a consultant to America’s Athletes with Disabilities, and has worked with WE Media for the Paralympics in Sydney, Australia.
212-354-0300 ext 302
Vice President and Race Director
Director, New York City Chapter
Kat joined the team in 2009 while working at Achilles outreach programs in local NYC hospitals. She took over the triathlon team in the spring of 2010 and was promoted to Director of the New York Chapter in January 2011.
Prior to moving to New York in 2009, Kat pursued a double major in Liberal Arts and Exercise Physiology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Most recently she received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a specialization in child development from SUNY Empire State College. She has worked as an exercise therapist for adults with severe physical disabilities, as an educator for children with autism and pervasive developmental disorders, and as program director at a center for adults and children with physical and cognitive delays. Her education, employment record and experience as a varsity athlete and coach combine to give her the expertise she utilizes in her multifaceted role at Achilles.
212-354-0300 ext 311
Director, Chapter Development
After ten years as Web site manager for a major New York book publisher, Ellie began building, maintaining, and marketing Web sites for not-for-profit organizations such as the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society as well as other business entities. She joined Achilles in 1996 as a volunteer guide and was so inspired by the determination of Achilles athletes, she ran the NYC Marathon in 2000. Ellie directed Achilles New York Chapter from Sept. 2009 through 2010 and assumed responsibility for chapter development in 2011. She has a BS in Media and Culture from SUNY/Empire State College as well as a Project Management Certificate from Baruch. When not tending to Achilles activities, she narrates the Great Gatsby Boat Tour in Port Washington, New York which she created in 2008. She takes great pride and pleasure in working with Achilles athletes, volunteers and chapter heads to further Achilles programs.
212-354-0300 ext 311
Director of the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans
For the past 10 years, Genna has dedicated her life to enhancing the lives of our nation’s heroes. She began volunteering with the Achilles Freedom Team during her time as a performer in the USO in 2004 and due to her enthusiasm and devotion she evolved into a prominent role in the Achilles office.
Genna’s perseverance, deep knowledge, and understanding of the issues facing wounded veterans led her to establish the Achilles Marathon Tour. These sponsored weekend retreats have enabled over one thousand wounded veterans to run, walk, or handcycle in 16 prestigious mainstream races nationwide. This program has been a catalyst for setting achievable goals early on in recovery so they may continue to lead a fulfilling life post injury.
Genna has been tireless in her quest to raise awareness to meet the needs of those in the wounded veteran community. Her efforts have taken her through the halls of government and to the presidents of Fortune Five Hundred companies. But her heart lies with the men and women who sacrificed so much to protect this country.
Genna is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. with a BA in Musical Theater and is the 2012 Recipient of the American University Alumni Recognition Award. She lives in NYC with her husband, Retired Cpt Marc Giammatteo, who was wounded while serving in Iraq in 2004.
212-354-0300 ext 307
Director of Volunteers
Russell Koplin is a native New Yorker who has been involved with Achilles since her childhood where she began as a volunteer. She studied theater at Northwestern University where she earned a B.S. degree in Communications.
When she is not working on her acting career (Broadway/off-Broadway Theater, TV, and voice-overs for television and radio commercials), Russell helps with volunteer opportunities, guide matching for the NYC Marathon, website development, and an assortment of other responsibilities.
212-354-0300 ext 306
Director of Development
Megan Wynne Lombardo is responsible for raising funds to support Achilles’ range of programs. Prior to Achilles, she was a program coordinator at The America Assembly, a nonpartisan public policy forum affiliated with Columbia University.
Megan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia where she ran track and cross country. An avid runner, Megan’s fondest athletic memory is completing the ING NYC Marathon with fellow Achilles staff member Karen Lewis in 2008. She is proud to be part of an organization that brings athletic opportunities to athletes with different abilities.
212-354-0300 ext 304
Director, Community Relations, Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans
Enza was born and raised in Northern New Jersey and has worked for over twelve years in the non profit world serving individuals with special needs. Growing up Enza was shaped to believe that actions speak louder than words and her family was integrally involved in their community. Enza's life took a wide turn when her brother enlisted in the Army. Instead of feeling paralyzed by fear, with her brother in the combat zone, she focused on taking action. After meeting Trisha Meili and attending the Achilles Dinner Gala she had an immediate connection to the FREEDOM TEAM and became a volunteer.
Consequently, she participated in both the 2006 and 2007 Hope & Possibility Races. Afterwards, she spoke with her brother on the phone about seeing the recently wounded veterans running on their prosthetics and racing in handcycles so soon post injury. Louie vowed that, when he returned from his tour in Iraq, he would participate with his sister. Sadly, three months later on September 20, 2007, CPL Louie Marciante Jr. was killed in combat.
Despite the tragic loss of her beloved brother, Enza did something extraordinary. She created a team called Support Our Soldiers, a group of Gold Star Families that would unite each year at the Hope & Possibility Race to endow handcycles for the FREEDOM TEAM in memory of their fallen family members. Her involvement with Achilles International is fueled by her desire to "always make Louie proud." In addition to her support of Achilles, her life has been a model to many survivors of fallen soldiers. Enza's commitment to the military community and survivors is unrivaled..
Associate Director, Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans
Janet Patton joined the Achilles International team as a part-time staff member in August 2007. She graduated from American University in Washington DC, with degrees in Public Communications and Music Theatre. Janet has a background in teaching young children, and is the passionate leader of the Achilles Kids weekend program. She also assists with the Marathon Tour, and manages the Guaranteed Entry programs for the New York City and Chicago Marathons. She is thrilled to be a part of the Achilles family and is inspired daily by the strength of the Achilles Athletes and their courageous families.
212-354-0300 ext 308
International Chapter Administrator, Accounting
Gerle Shagdar originally from Mongolia, joined Achilles as a volunteer to help two visually impaired Mongolian runners in 2001. From 2001-07, she was a volunteer helping the international chapters, particularly those in Eastern Europe, Chechnya, and Mongolia. Today, her main responsibilities include Achilles finances, NYC marathon registration, and runners’ accommodations. Gerle loves seeing how her work at Achilles directly helps people make their dreams come true.
212-354-0300 ext 309
Director of Office Operations and Wheelchair Logistics
Joe has been working at Achilles International since 2000. Joe is the Director of Office Operations and the Achilles Handcycle Program. It includes purchasing and maintenance of handcycles for all Achilles divisions. He also runs the Achilles Kayak program.
212-354-0300 ext 300