Category Archives: Thought Leaders

Marsha Mazz


Director, Office of Technical and Information Services, U.S. Access Board

Marsha K. Mazz has been with the board since 1989 and oversees the technical assistance programs for the ADA and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). Her office is responsible for the continued development of the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines, the Section 508 Standards for Accessible Information and Communications Technology, and the Standards for Accessible Medical and Diagnostic Equipment. Her office includes the Board’s research, training and technical assistance programs and provides on-line guidance as well as toll-free and e-mail responses to questions about the Board’s guidelines and standards. She is the Access Board’s representative to the model code organizations and is a member of the ICC/ANSI A117 Committee on Architectural Features and Site Design of Public Buildings and Residential Structures for Persons with Disabilities; and the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Disability Access Review Advisory Committee (DARAC). Her prior experience includes service with a center for independent living, as a member of the Maryland State Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities, as a board member for the National Council on Independent Living and as chair of the Washington Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Transportation for People with Disabilities.

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Shoshana Shamberg


President, Abilities OT Services and Seminars, Inc. and Irlen Visual Learning Center

Shoshana Shamberg, OTR/L, MS, OTR/L, MS, has over 30 years experience as an educator, therapist and professional trainer. She has presented over 150 international continuing education training seminars on a variety of topics related to independent living services for people with disabilities and aging adults. She has degrees in both occupational therapy and special education with a specialization in assistive technology and environmental modifications. She is a certified Brain Gym Instructor and a Certified Irlen Screener/Diagnostician. She specializes in educational programming for students with severe disabilities and people of all ages with learning differences.

She is presently teaching the only Internet-based training program on accessibility consultation for medical and design/build professionals, with an international participation. She is currently the AOTA representative to the American National Standards Institute (ICC/ANSI 117.1) Accessible Design Standards Building Code Committee, the MD representative to the AOTA IDEA Partnership Advisory Committee , guest instructor at various universities and colleges throughout the USA and internationally, and board member of the Maryland Occupational Therapy Association (MDOTA) as the MOTA Legislative Committee Liason for Third Party Reimbursement Issues.

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James Mueller


Jim Mueller is an industrial designer with more than 20 years of experience in assistive technology, disability management, and universal design. He is recognized as one of the most experienced practitioners and advocates of universal design – design for people of all ages and abilities – and is one of the authors of the 7 Principles of Universal Design. His clients have included Federal and State agencies, private employers, disability insurers, and product manufacturers.

Since 1974, Jim has served as a consultant to employers, product manufacturers, and rehabilitation research centers, as well as a designer/fabricator of hundreds of workplace and home modifications for individuals with disabilities. His design projects have included a Technical Support Facility for a rehabilitation center, concealed head protection for seizure-prone individuals, a portable, wheelchair-accessible miniature golf course for an elementary school, and an experimental electric wheelchair for testing seating and lightweight frame design. He has also consulted on the design of business furniture, personal computers, and telecommunications products.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Industrial Design degree from Syracuse University and Master of Arts degree from The George Washington University. His consulting firm, J.L. Mueller, Inc., is located in Chantilly, Virginia, about halfway between Washington, DC and the Blue Ridge Mountains and 850 miles east of his hometown of St. Louis.

From 1974 to 1982, Jim served as Research Scientist at the George Washington University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on a funded project to study the ergonomics of disabilities. His responsibilities included assessment, design, fabrication, and evaluation of assistive devices for children and adults with disabilities. These devices were shown to dramatically increase functional independence with minimal expense and dependence on complex technology. This project culminated in the publication of two resources on environmental design for people with disabilities, Designing for Functional Limitations and Accommodating the Disabled Student. He also participated in the development of print and video resources to assist employers in accommodating employees with disabilities.

In 1982, Jim established his disability management consulting firm to put this successful research into practice by assisting employers in hiring and retaining workers with disabilities. He incorporated this experience into the illustrated guides to job accommodation, The Workplace Workbook in 1990 and Workplace Workbook 2.0 in 1992.

Since 1993, Jim has served as a consultant to North Carolina State University’s Center for Universal Design, participating in the creation of the 7 Principles of Universal Design in 1997. Since 2001, Jim has also served as a Project Director for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wireless Technologies in Atlanta, GA. As a member of the Accessibility Forum, Jim is active in the development of testing procedures for the implementation of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments.

Jim regularly presents his work in local, regional, and national conferences of rehabilitation professionals, designers, facility managers, and people with disabilities. He also conducts training programs for private businesses and public agencies on the subjects of disability management, job accommodation, and Universal Design. He has produced several books and videotapes on the subjects of assistive technology, disability management, and universal design and has contributed to teaching publications and journals by Design Management Institute, Harvard Business School, and Industrial Designers Society of America.

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Harold Dean Kiewel


Registered architect and certified construction specifier (CCS)

Harold Dean Kiewel, AIA, CSI, CCS | Since 1998, he was worked with Ellerbe Becket, an international firm based in Minneapolis, as a senior architectural specifier, spending much of his time writing project manuals for health care facilities. Harold continues his advocacy to the architectural community through his presentations and volunteer work, and also by educating the Ellerbe Beckett staff about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In 1993, before he joined Ellerbe Becket, Harold founded his own company, Accessible Building Consultants, to provide independent accessibility consulting. His focus was the practice of architecture as an instrument of change in society, and his goal was to help clients and architects understand the real meaning of the ADA. Harold’s solid personal and professional grounding in accessibility issues, combined with his architectural training, made him a valuable resource in the years following the passage of the ADA. He led seminars at regional and national meetings of the AIA, the Construction Specifier’s Institute, and the International Facilities Managers Association and served on numerous committees and task forces of architectural and disability organizations. During that time, Harold was also affiliated with Universal Designers and Consultants, a Maryland-based national consulting firm specializing in ADA compliance.

Harold was born in South Dakota, but following his bout with polio, his family moved to Minneapolis to be near the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital. There, Harold received treatment for post-polio paralysis and learned to walk using leg braces and crutches. His father was a farmer and a carpenter; Harold worked with him on the farm and was active in 4-H. One early influence in Harold’s choice of career was seeing the blueprints for construction projects on which his father worked.

A high school civics and social studies teacher who was an architect encouraged Harold’s initial interest in a career in design. Today, Harold reflects somewhat wryly on the fact that this man taught high school for a living. “I might have missed a clue there about the vicissitudes of this profession.”

Harold was mainstreamed in public school and graduated sixth out of one hundred students in his class. Although he felt encouraged to follow his interests, he also got the message that a “more passive career” would suit him best. Oddly, architecture was among the careers considered more passive. “I guess my counselors didn’t know much about site visits or site work.”

The state vocational rehabilitation program provided tuition and housing for Harold’s first undergraduate degree, which he received in 1973 from the University of Minnesota. Harold studied architecture initially, but towards the end of his sophomore year he was strongly dissuaded from continuing on this path. A design studio professor suggested that if he changed his major he’d do all right, but if he continued with architecture, he would flunk out. Harold has always suspected that this incident reflected the professor’s strong negative feelings about disability in general and had little to do with him or his design skills. Unfortunately, as a result, Harold dropped architecture and explored several other majors before settling on one just for the purpose of graduating.

Immediately after graduation, he worked in retail. The happiest parts of these years were meeting Patricia, falling in love, and getting married. But he felt unfulfilled in his work. “It was as if I heard a bell ringing. I thought about my drawing board and knew that’s where I wanted to be.” Vocational Rehabilitation wouldn’t fund a graduate degree, but they would fund vocational training. So Harold enrolled at the Minnesota Drafting School to get the skills he needed for an entry-level architectural position.

Harold’s first job in his career of choice was with the City of Minneapolis as an access consultant, in 1975. He helped educate building owners about the state’s new accessibility code and then moved on to the State Council on Disabilities, where he provided the same sorts of education on a statewide basis. Out of this work came the book Accessible Architecture, co-authored with John Salmen in 1976. Toward the end of the decade, Harold transferred to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, where he gave technical assistance to a program that offered funding and design assistance to families with special needs.

Still determined to be an architect, Harold went back to the University of Minnesota, taking courses at night part-time until he earned his Bachelor of Environmental Design. Then, in 1982, with the support of his wife and family, he decided to leave his state job to pursue a Master of Architecture degree at the university. His thesis, User Sensitivity in Architecture, offers a methodology for understanding accessibility as a qualitative design issue, rather than as a quantitative building code issue. See more at


Mark Derry


Owner of Eastlake, Derry & Associates, LLC Accessibility Solutions

An original article contributed by John Salmen

Mark Derry is a true entrepreneur in the field of Universal Design (UD). While many in the field gravitated to UD while working as architects or designers, Mark’s professional expertise was honed not through formal education but practical experience. It is that practicality in finding solutions to problems that clients find especially helpful and quite often, cost effective.

Prior to founding his consulting practice, Eastlake, Derry and Associates, Mark provided technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to clients of the ADA Technical Assistance Centers in New York and Maryland, but his grass-roots activism in the area of independent living is what started it all.

Mark first became acquainted with an Independent Living Center (ILC) in Middletown, New York, where he had gone for an appointment with a prosthetist and learned about their amputee support group. The ILC wanted to start a home modifications program and Mark was quickly tapped to lend his creative problem solving skills to the team. It helped that Mark “knows how buildings are put up and taken apart” having worked on construction projects much of his life. As the Center’s home modifications expert, Mark was eligible to participate in the first comprehensive ADA training program offered by the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund under a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. There, Mark learned the fundamentals of the original ADA and the details of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, making him one of only a handful of ADA experts in the Northeast in 1993.

One of the challenges Mark faced early on was helping contractors and code officials find the common sense solutions to remodel or new design challenges. Too often, contractors or code officials would try to apply one-size-fits-all solutions in their attempts at compliance. Such rightspirited but poorly conceived solutions sometimes missed the mark – badly, creating frustration and disappointment on all sides.

Mark recalls one home design problem he was called in on by a distraught homeowner who used a wheelchair for mobility. After spending $20,000 and being out of her home for two months, she returned to her beautifully renovated bathroom to discover she couldn’t use the toilet. A wall with a grab bar had been removed to make way for a roll-in shower. Her contractor wouldn’t modify it, claiming that all elements were “ADA compliant,” which may have been acceptable for a public use area but didn’t work for the homeowner. Unfortunately, he had not thoroughly discussed the plan with the homeowner or taken adequate time to determine what she really wanted. When Mark came in, he asked the homeowner to demonstrate how she accessed the toilet or would like to. She showed how she needed the formerly positioned grab bar to pivot from her chair to the toilet and that the technically conforming grab bars on the opposite wall would not work for her. Ultimately, Mark had to rebuild the wall positioning a 24″ grab bar vertically for her to use in her transfer. The wall also allowed the installation of a shower seat and grab bar in the shower so that she could transfer and use the shower independently.

As a trainer for the ILC, Mark lent his expertise to other organizations throughout the Northeast working with other Independent Living Centers, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the regional ADA Technical Assistance Center where he repeated his mantra that “the consumer is the first person on the team.” Mark also advocated the benefit to the remodeling or building professional of bringing in an Occupational Therapist or Physical Therapist to consult when an individual’s physical limitations were known or anticipated.

With that person-centered approach, Mark was a natural for a leadership position within the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). NCIL promotes the concept that “people with disabilities are the best experts on their own needs, that they have crucial and valuable perspectives to contribute to society, and are deserving of equal opportunity to decide how to live, work, and take part in their communities.” He has served on the Governing Board and has chaired the ADA/Civil Rights Sub-Committee for the past 10 years, where he participated in the rulemaking process on the ADA Amendments Act. Mark has served his home state of West Virginia by participating on the Statewide Independent Living Council, a position to which he has been appointed by three Governors.

While Mark continues to provide accessibility training to advocacy groups, most of his time these days is devoted to consulting with health care facilities on bettering their design and practices to serve patients with any range of ability. Hospitals, quick care facilities, and imaging centers have been called out by the U.S. Department of Justice and private plaintiffs for a variety of concerns including inaccessible examination tables and a lack of interpreter assistance for deaf patients.

Mark’s approach as a consultant is to create a team to work through the facility and review the built environment as well as institutional policies to determine where barriers exist and find ways to eliminate them or create alternative solutions. His macro approach is one designed to be both efficient and save the facility the costs of having to solve problems sequentially.

Ultimately, Mark is pleased that his somewhat unplanned career allows him to influence and improve major facilities that will better serve all users. He acknowledges that there is still much work to be done, but it is very gratifying to know that some of those many trainees over the past 20 years have launched their own consulting careers and are working to provide a more accessible landscape, eliminating one barrier at a time. Mark hopes that collectively, they will create a wave of access improvements for a more usable world.

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