Photo by J. Donovan Smith, Variant Design

The driving force in Alan Ludovici’s life has remained constant. His drive to be independent and productive has helped him, at 43, not only to climb the ranks in the fast-paced sport of go-kart racing, but also to fight back from the brink of death more than once. And somehow it all funnels into his becoming a leader in wheelchair design and engineering.

Growing up in Providence, R.I., an only child with divorced parents, Ludovici caught the racing bug from his uncle Ed, a former sports car racer who bought three go-karts for his sons when they were about Ludovici’s age. A parking lot tested the boys’ desire to compete, and by the time Ludovici was 13, he was organizing racing at local tracks.