Biographies

Ron Stewart
ron@ahead.org
Ron Stewart currently works in our community in a variety of voluntary capacities; Technology Advisor to AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disability), Chairs the AHEAD E-Text Solutions Group and is the Postsecondary Educational representative on the NIMAS (National Instructional Materials Access Standard) Development Committee.  In 2001 Ron was the driving force in the founding of the Access Technologist Higher Education Network (athenpro.org), and serves as the organizations President.  Ron left Oregon State University in 2006 to take the position of VP for Operations for Dolphin Computer Access (yourdolphin.com) and in that capacity led a variety of efforts on an international level on curricular access for students with print related disabilities including the Altformat.com effort to establish an international clearing house for information related to Alt Format and DAISY materials production.  Ron left Dolphin in 2008 to return to private consulting and is the Managing Consultant for Altformat Solutions LLC, an association of private consultants and companies working in the Alt Format and E-Text field.

In Ron’s role as Chair of the AHEAD E-Text Solutions Group he has taken a strong leadership position in the development and delivery of training to higher education in the areas of curricular and distanced education access.  Over the last few years Ron has conducted over 50 two day AHEAD E-Text Institutes and trained over 2000 higher education staff and faculty on the preparation and delivery of accessible instructional materials (AIM).  As a member of the NIMAS Development Committee, and now the NIMAS Standards Board, Ron plays a critical role as one of the only Board members who has actually developed and operated comprehensive accessible curriculum production programs.  Currently he is also working with several State Departments of Education on the development of their NIMAS delivery and management programs.  These efforts will be a focus for the next several years as well as the development of modular online training's and the continued work with several national organizations in the UK and Europe.

Ron was the recipient of AHEAD's Ron Blosser Award in 2007 for service in the areas of Access Technologies and Alt Format Production to the AHEAD membership and the postsecondary community.   The Blosser Award is a distinguished service award and was given for Ron's work in regards to Access Technologies and Curricular Access within the AHEAD membership.

Gaeir Dietrich
gdietrich@htctu.net
Acting Director and Alternate Media training specialist/instructor for the High Tech Center Training Unit of the California community colleges, located at De Anza College in Cupertino, California. Previously, Gaeir spent 15 years as the visually impaired specialist for Cabrillo College DSP&S, where her duties included producing Braille, large print, and books on tape, as well as teaching Braille to blind students. In addition, she has worked as a high tech center specialist and the assistant lab manager of the campus computer lab.

Gaeir also spent almost 8 years in the publishing industry, as first an editor and then the senior editor and production manager for Critical Thinking Books & Software, a publishing company best known for their MindBenders books and software. While at CTB&S, she co-authored a number of books and software products, including ThinkAnalogy Puzzles, Get Me Out of Here!, and Editor in Chief, all of which are used in the learning centers of various community colleges throughout California.

Jim Kessler
jrkessler@email.unc.edu
Jim Kessler has been involved with working with persons with disabilities since the spring of 1970. Although for the past 23 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and director of Disability Services since 1996, he has worked for private, state, and the Veteran’s Administration in services for blind and visually impaired. In 1984 he worked with technicians in the University’s computer center to link a desktop computer, Kurzweil Reading Machine and electronic Braille embosser (Triformation) to the University’s mainframe computer. He is a charter member and has been president of the state affiliate (NCAHEAD). As president of AHEAD, he initiate the first “round table” discussion about E-text between the publishing industry, university disability service providers and representatives from RFB&D and Bookshare which has continue to address the issues of access, ownership and ethics.

Robert Lee Beach
rbeach@kckcc.edu
Robert has been the Assistive Technology Specialist at Kansas City Kansas Community College since January of 1994.  His duties at the college include managing all aspects of assistive technology, coordinating the production of alternate formatted materials, and acting as the assistive technology liaison to the community.  He currently teaches the for-credit classes on assistive technology at both Kansas City Kansas Community College and Johnson County Community College.

In 2004 Robert formed the Access Technologists’ Metro Area Network (ATMAN) group in order to facilitate better sharing of resources and information among professionals who work with AT in the metro area.  From 1997 through 2005 he served on the Organizing Committee for the Technology Training and Information Conference, a local conference dedicated to assistive technologies for individuals with vision impairments.  He served as the Conference Chair for 5 of those years.  He has also served on the Advisory Council for the Assistive Technology for Kansans Project since 1997.
Robert has spoken at local, regional, and national conferences on various topics surrounding assistive technology and accessibility.  He has also provided support on AT and alternate format production to many colleges and universities around the country.

Before his current position at KCKCC, Robert provided private consulting to individuals and schools on assistive technology and accessibility.  He holds the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate from California State University Northridge and the Accessible Technology Certificate from EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information).

Jeff Senge
jsenge@fullerton.edu
The founder and coordinator of the Information & Computer Access Program at California State University, Fullerton. He was the co-project director of the Braille Transcription Center Project and co-authored “Preparing for College and Beyond, A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments.” During his nearly 20 years in the field of adaptive technology and information access, he has authored numerous articles and presented at many professional conferences.

His work for the past ten years has focused on improving information accessibility for persons with disabilities in postsecondary education. Jeff has conducted campus-wide as well as state-wide research studies in this area. He has provided assessment and consultant services for the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights as well as the California State University and the California Community Colleges.

Jim Marks,
jimmarks@mt.gov
Jim recently left his position at the University of Montana to take a very critical role as the Disability Transitions Programs Director for the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services. Jim Marks had worked as the Director of Disability Services for Students at the University of Montana, a position he has held for 19 years.  His office serves about 900 students with disabilities, which is nearly 7 percent of the student body.  Disability Services enjoys the reputation of assuring equal access to University programs while developing the self-determination of the students served by the office.  Jim is blind and uses a long white cane, Braille, and many other alternative techniques and technologies for the blind.  He serves on several boards, including the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD), Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFBD), and the Montana Association of the Blind, which is also known as the National Federation of the Blind of Montana.

Roger G. Purdy, Ed.M.
purdyrg@lemoyne.edu
Roger is the Director of Disability Support Services at Le Moyne College, and serves on the NYS Instructional Materials Advisory Council (overseeing Chapter 219, the alternate media legislation for higher education in New York State). He is also currently the president of the New York State Disability Services Council which assists and facilitates professional development for individuals in the field of higher education and disability in New York State. 

Teresa Haven,
Teresa.Haven@asu.edu

Teresa Haven currently works as the Alternative Format Program Supervisor at Arizona State University.  She is also an Access Technology specialist and general disability services professional.