It gives me great pleasure to introduce the current slate of officers and members of the TDI Board in this eNote.

All of us on the TDI Board look forward to working with our members and friends in promoting access to telecommunications, media, and information technology for this vast spectrum of people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and all of our other colleagues in shaping an accessible world.

Without further ado, read on!!

2014 – 2015 BOARD OFFICERS
Two New Members At Large Appointed

During the TDI-ALDA Joint Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October 2013, the Board of Directors appointed new officers for a two-year term ending at the upcoming 21st Biennial TDI Conference in 2015.

The new officers are: Sheila Conlon-Mentkowski, President; Fred Weiner, Vice President; Rebecca Rosenthal, Secretary; and Joe Duarte, Treasurer.

West Region
Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington

Sheila Conlon Mentkowski (CA)

Sheila Conlon Mentkowski is very excited to serve as the newly elected TDI President of the Board. Upon her election to the Board, Sheila created the TDI West Facebook page as another way to stay in touch with the growing list of members and friends in the West Region, and keep everyone informed with news of interest in advocacy for access to technology. Her primary goals for the next two years as President is to continue “Shaping An Accessible World” in telecommunications, media, and information technology on behalf of our constituency groups of Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened and those who are deaf plus have another disability. Her other goals are to work on TDI’s upcoming conference in 2015, and to monitor the fiscal health of the organization. Sheila says “I am very proud to be part of TDI and have been since 1980 when I saw my first, “Blue Book” which some of you may remember was a small blue notebook binder. It has been thrilling to see the development of the “Blue Book” over the years.”

Southeast Region
Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia

Fred Weiner (MD)
Vice President

Fred Weiner has been representing the Southeast Region on the TDI Board since 2003. He has served as TDI’s vice-president since 2009. Fred’s professional affiliation with TDI goes further back, starting in the late 1980’s when he was with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and collaborated with TDI in advocating for relay services and promoting the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. After working at NAD, Fred spent nine years working for AT&T, including one year as a Brookings Institution Congressional Fellow, serving as a legislative aide to Congressman Robert Andrews. For the past fifteen years at Gallaudet University, he is currently Assistant Vice President for Administration and part of his responsibilities include Federal and DC government relations. Fred also brings a consumer’s perspective to the table. He comes from a deaf family and looks back fondly in the early years of telecommunication access when there was a Model 28 TTY in his family’s apartment in Brooklyn, New York. He continues to witness first-hand the multi-generational impact of new technologies and accessibility through the eyes of his two deaf daughters, the older one who is now working for start-up companies that leverage technology in different forms to enhance communications access for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Central Region
Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming.

Rebecca Rosenthal (MN)

Becky Rosenthal is currently the Central Region representative on the TDI Board of Directors for the term 2013-2017. Becky recently relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota and currently works part-time as the Program Coordinator for ASLBlend, a new not for profit organization that provides interpreting, SSP services for situations not required by the ADA, and Life Coach-a mentoring program for Deaf/Hard of Hearing teenagers and community education. Prior to moving to Minnesota she was the Executive Director of the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) providing advocacy, administration of the statewide certification system, interpreter referral, training and technical assistance to agencies and organizations who work with Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind people. Rebecca spends her free time with her wonderful husband, David, reading, and walking.

Joseph Duarte (VA), Member At Large

Joe Duarte joined the Board of TDI as the Southeast Region Board Member from 1997 to 2007. He became a Member-At-Large in 2007. He held the position of Vice-President between 1999 and 2003 and has been the Treasurer since 2003. Joe has a strong background in finance and helps Claude Stout with all financial matters of the organization. As an engineer specializing in accessible technologies, Joe helps the TDI Board with its mission to promote and safeguard our rights to full access to telecommunications and media. Joe lives in Centreville, Virginia, with his wife and four children. He graduated from University of Rhode Island with a degree in Biomedical Electronics Engineering. After graduation he worked for IBM as a Systems Engineer before founding Duartek, Inc. to focus on customized audio systems for deaf and hard of hearing people.

There are two additional regional Board Members; Stephanie Buell from Madison, Wisconsin, representing the Midwest Region; and Bernard Hurwitz from Rochester, New York, representing the Northeast Region.

Midwest Region

Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin

Stephanie Buell (WI)

Steph Buell is currently in her second term as the Midwest Region representative on the TDI Board of Directors (2013-2017). Steph has been actively involved in advocacy as long as she can remember and has served on many boards, councils and committees at the state and national level. As the current Vice-President of the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf (WAD), Steph is deeply devoted to the many issues currently impacting the deaf, hard of hearing and Deaf/blind communities. After a long career managing numerous centers and contracts related to Deaf Services, IT Services and Telecommunications Relay, Steph changed career paths in 2012 to full-time real estate. There are only a handful of deaf realtors in the country who offer this valuable service to ASL speakers. Her background has made real estate a good fit and allows the flexibility necessary to work on TDI and WAD projects. Steph lives in the Madison Wisconsin with her husband and English Springer Spaniel Kali.

Northeast Region

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

Bernard Hurwitz (NY)

Bernie Hurwitz is Executive Assistant to the President of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), with primary oversight responsibility for the college’s government relations, human resources and institutional research. He is immediate past president of the Rochester School for the Deaf’s Board of Directors, and a past commissioner of the ABA’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, where he focused on improving disabled lawyers’ access to crucial services, including telecommunications, which would enhance their employability. He holds an A.B. in Politics and Teacher Preparation from Princeton University; a J.D., magna cum laude, from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law; and a certificate in Contract Administration Studies from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Bernie and his family have long been consumers of and advocates for telecommunications accommodations. He is well versed in telecommunications issues as they pertain to deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Moreover, he appreciates how tightly those issues are woven into the fabric of the deaf experience, and is able to communicate that understanding to a wide range of audiences. He lives in Pittsford, NY, with his wife and two children, ages 14 and 11.

The TDI Board of Directors proudly announces the appointments of two members at large, Andy Lange from Florida and Alexa Schriempf of Pennsylvania.

Andrew Lange (FL), Member At Large

Andy Lange is a travel professional with his own travel agency, Lange Travel, specializing in cruises and Florida destinations. Previously for more than 22 years, Andy worked for several telecommunication providers for VRS and TRS services. He started his career with AT&T in 1991 and has worked in a wide variety of managerial and executive positions. Andy has been an advocate all his life. He has held the offices of President for the National Association of the Deaf, Georgia and Florida Association of the Deaf and Gallaudet University Alumni Association. Andy is a 1983 Gallaudet University graduate with a BS degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. Married to Kelly with two children, Eric – 24 years old and Katie – 8 years old. the family lives in St. Augustine Beach. Florida.

Alexa Schriempf (PA), Member at Large

Alexa Schriempf currently works at Penn State as an Access Technology (AT) Consultant, where she meets with students with disabilities to determine the optimal assistive technology to use while in the classroom, online, and studying. In particular, she focuses on making the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematical fields accessible–especially textbooks and lab spaces. Prior to becoming an AT consultant, Alexa transitioned from a 15 year career in teaching Philosophy to working as an instructional designer in the adult workforce training field. Other interests include composting, edible landscaping, scuba diving, and raising two kids with partner Ruth. Youngest is Vera, age 10, and oldest is Noah, age 16. All live in State College, Pennsylvania.

Roy Miller (IL)          Carol Sliney (NM)

The current TDI Board of Directors gratefully acknowledges the selfless service of Dr. Roy Miller and Ms. Carol Sliney. Between these two board members who have volunteered hundreds, maybe thousands of hours, we are grateful to them for leaving TDI in a much better position than when they began to serve 16 years ago.

All for Access!


Sheila Conlon Mentkowski,
Board President

Telecommunications for the
Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.