Access Board to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Phoenix on May 23

Phoenix AZ skylineOn May 23, the Access Board will hold a town hall meeting in Phoenix where members of the public can pose questions to the Board and share comments or concerns related to accessibility. There also will be a panel of speakers on various subjects, including access for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. 

The event will be held from 1:30 to 4:00 at the Ability360 Nina Mason Pulliam Conference Center. An assistive listening system, communication access real-time translation, and sign language interpreters will be available. Attendees are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of all participants.

For further information, contact Dave Yanchulis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (202) 272–0026 (v), or (202) 272–0027 (TTY).

U.S. Access Board Town Hall Meeting
May 23, 1:30 – 4:00
Ability360 Nina Mason Pulliam Conference Center
5025 East Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ

Schedule of Events
• Welcoming Remarks and Overview of the Access Board
• Panel Discussion
• Open Q&A Forum

 


Access Board Launches YouTube Channel

YouTube logoThe Access Board has launched its own channel on YouTube to further share and disseminate information. It features a message from Executive Director David M. Capozzi on the Board’s mission and the services it provides to the public. Animations on accessibility that the Board has developed as part of its online guide to the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards are also available on the channel.

“The Board’s new platform on YouTube provides another means of engaging our audience and sharing information,” notes Capozzi. “We look forward to uploading additional content in the future.”

Visitors can subscribe to receive updates on new material that is added to the channel.

 


Lance Robertson Elected Access Board Chair

Board Chair Lance Robertson and Vice Chair Karen TamleyIn March the Board elected Lance Robertson as its new Chair. Robertson represents the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the Access Board. Board member Karen Tamley was chosen Vice Chair.

"I truly appreciate this opportunity to help lead the Board in the critical and essential work that it does to advance accessibility for people with disabilities," Robertson stated. "I look forward to working with Board and staff members in the year ahead and being part of such an expert and dedicated team."

Robertson is Assistant Secretary for Aging at HHS and heads its Administration for Community Living. Before joining HHS last August, he served as Director of Aging Services at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Prior to that, he spent 12 years at Oklahoma State University where he co-founded the Gerontology Institute and served as the executive director of the nation's largest regional gerontology association.

Tamley joined the Board in 2015 as a member representing the public. As Commissioner of the Chicago Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, she leads numerous disability policy and compliance initiatives in transportation, city infrastructure, emergency preparedness, housing, schools and technology, and other areas. She also oversees the delivery of independent living services to city residents.

 


OTIS Director Marsha Mazz to Retire in June

Marsha MazzMarsha Mazz, Director of the Board’s Office of Technical and Information Services (OTIS), plans to retire in late June. Mazz joined the Board in 1989 as an Accessibility Specialist and was active in the development of the original ADA Accessibility Guidelines and later supplements. She also led the joint update of the Board’s ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines and was instrumental in harmonizing the new document with counterpart codes and standards in the private sector, including the International Building Code. She also served as the agency’s Technical Assistance Coordinator and its liaison to the codes and standards community. In 2010, she was named OTIS Director.

Throughout her tenure at the Board, Mazz has been highly regarded for her technical expertise and mastery of detail in architectural accessibility and building codes and standards. Her outreach and coordination with the codes community greatly advanced integration of accessibility into model building codes. In recognition of her work at the Board, Mazz received the American National Standards Institute’s 2010 Ronald H. Brown Standards Leadership Award which recognizes demonstrated leadership in promoting standardization and eliminating barriers to global trade.

 


Kathy Eng to Join Board Staff as a Senior ICT Accessibility Specialist

Kathy EngKathy Eng will soon join the Access Board as a Senior ICT Accessibility Specialist where she will provide technical assistance and training to the public on the Board’s Section 508 Standards for information and communication technology in the federal sector. She also will provide guidance on requirements for telecommunications equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act.

Eng comes to the Board from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) where she served as an IT Accessibility Specialist and helped implement Section 508. She also serves as co-chair of the Best Practices Subcommittee on the Federal CIO Council Accessibility Community of Practice. Before joining DOJ, she worked at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Accessible Systems & Technology where she led development of its Section 508 Trusted Tester methodology, training, and certification program. She also was employed by the Technology and Accessible Resources Give Employment Today (TARGET) Center at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She has a background in assistive technology accommodations and a degree in Rehabilitation Engineering.

 


Upcoming Board Webinars

laptop with Access Board sealThe next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place May 3 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will provide a refresher on requirements in the ADA and ABA Standards for recreation facilities. The session will cover access in new construction and alterations to play areas, swimming pools, sports facilities, fishing piers, boating facilities, golf courses, and amusement rides.

Visit www.accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register for the webinar. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar
The Board also offers a free webinar series on its Section 508 Standards for ICT in the federal sector. The next webinar in this series will be held May 29 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will cover strategies for meeting the updated 508 Standards in federal procurements. Presenters from the General Services Administration (GSA) will review available tools and resources, such as an Applicability Checklist on the revised standards, a solicitation conformance template, a new conformance reporting tool for vendors, and GSA’s Accessibility Requirements Tool.

Visit the webinar site for further information or to register. The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board. Prior webinars can be accessed on the site.

 


Effort Advances to Address Classroom Acoustics in the International Building Code

figure of person at chalkboardAcoustical performance is a critical consideration in classroom design. High levels of background noise and reverberation impair children’s learning and language acquisition, and the effects are pronounced for young children, those with hearing loss or who have speech or learning disabilities, and children who learn English as a second language. A Board proposal to address classroom acoustics in the International Building Code (IBC) was approved at hearings on code changes held recently in Columbus, Ohio by the International Code Council (ICC). The American Institute of Architects, the National Association of Home Builders, and the United Spinal Association and others joined the Board in submitting this proposed change to the 2021 IBC.

“This effort has been long in the making and is long overdue,” states Marsha Mazz, who spearheaded this code change and heads the Board’s Office of Technical and Information Services. “A lot of hard work went into establishing and refining design and performance criteria for classroom acoustics which have been out for some time and are now part of the accessibity standard the IBC references.” According to Mazz, adding a provision in the IBC to apply these specifications is the logical next step and will greatly enhance communication access in learning environments.

The proposal would add a requirement for enhanced acoustics to the IBC applicable to educational occupancies. Classooms that that do not exceed 20,000 cubic feet would have to meet acousitical specifcations in the latest edition of the ICC A117.1 Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities (Section 808). Based on work by the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), the A117.1 criteria set a maximum reverberation time though performance and prescriptive methods and address ambient sound and sound sources inside and outside classrooms. The Board helped support the ASA’s work on the acoustical provisions and, through its seat on the A117.1 Committee, led the effort to incorporate them into the ICC A117.1-2017 standard.

The next steps in the ICC’s code development cycle include a round of hearings on public comments in October followed by a ballot of voting members. Visit ICC’s website for further information on the IBC review process. The classroom acoustics proposal is included in a compendium of proposed changes to general sections of the IBC at the committee hearings (G127-18, page 298).

 


Access Currents is a free newsletter issued by the Access Board every other month by mail and e-mail. Send questions or comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (800) 872-2253 ext. 0026 (voice) or (800) 993-2822 (TTY). Mailing address: 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000; Washington, D.C. 20004-1111.