2013 IAAIS Conference, Minneapolis


Presenter Biographies


Special thanks to:

- Will Elkington and the staff of Sheraton Midtown

- Meet Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association

- The staff of the Communications Center

- Gwen Bighley

- Richard Strong

- Current and incoming members of The IAAIS Board of Directors

- Art Hadley, Banquet MC


Door prize donors:

- The Communications Center

- MindsEye

- Audio-Reader Network

- The End Records



Our Vendors:

- Robert Carson, Victory Electric Corporation

- Ralph Sorbara, Metrosonix

- Werner Haan, Solutions Radio

- Neil Blank, RRSR 1100

- Telephone Reader




Special Treat: Jim Martinez from Houston reported Sight Into Sound was creating a Powerpoint presentation about the service. Here it is; click to watch or right click to save.

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International Association of Audio Information Services

2012-2013 Board of Directors                                          




Stuart Holland                 President

                                           Manager, Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network

                                           2200 University Ave. W #240, St. Paul, MN 55114

                                           651-642-0503                Stuart.Holland@state.mn.us

                                           Fax: 651-649-5927      Term: 2012-2014 (1st term)


Marjorie Williams            First Vice President

                                           Executive Director, Minds Eye Information Service

                                           9541 Church Circle Drive,  Belleville, Illinois  62223

                                           618-394-6442                   MWilliams@mindseyeradio.org

                                           Fax: 618-394-6438 Term: 2012-2014 (1st term)


Jay Doudna                     Second Vice President

Station Manager, Oklahoma Talking Information Service

                                           300 NE 18th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73105

                                           405-522-0520                   jdoudna@okdrs.gov

                                           Fax: 405-521-4582 Term: 2012-2014 (1st term)


Linda Hynson                 Secretary

429 Sondley Woods Place

                                            Asheville, NC 28805


                                                                   Term: 2012-2014 (1st term)


Andrea Pasquale           Treasurer

                                           Program Manager, Sun Sounds of Arizona

                                           2323 W. 14th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

                                           480-774-8300  apasquale@sunsounds.org

                                           Fax: 480-774-8310  Term: 2012-2014 (1st term)


Kim Walsh                       Immediate Past President

                                           Director, Detroit Radio Information Service

                                           4600 Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201

                                           313-577-7684              kwalsh@iaais.org

                                           Fax: 313-577-1300     



Lisa Bordner                   Director

Manager, Northeast Indiana Radio Reading Service

                                           Allen County Public Library

                                           7615 DiSalle Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46825

                                           260-421-1375                   lbordner@acpl.lib.in.us

                                           Fax: 260-421-1387 Term: 2010-2013 (1st term)


Steve Cumming              Director

                                           Station Manager, North Texas Radio for the Blind

                                           2007 Randall St, Dallas, TX 75201

214-871-7668               Steve@readingresource.org

                                           Fax: 214-871-7669      Term: 2012-2015 (2nd term)


Mark Dewitt                     Director

                                           Broadcast Manager, RRS of Greater Cincinnati

                                           2045 Gilbert Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45202

                                           513-487-4228     Mark.Dewitt@cincyblind.org

                                           Fax: 513-221-2995      Term: 2012-2014


Maryfrances Evans        Director

                                           Executive Director

                                           IRIS (Iowa Radio Reading Information Service)

                                           100 East Euclid, Suite 117, Des Moines, IA 50313

                                           515-243-6833     iris89@netins.net

                                           Fax: 515-883-1906      Term: 2012-2015 (1st term)


John Fullerton                Director

Executive Director, Radio Talking Book Service, 7101 Newport Avenue, Suite #205, Omaha, NE 68152

                                           402-572-3003                FullertonJ@rtbs.org

                                           Fax: 402-572-3002      Term: 2012-2013


Art Hadley                        Director

                                           Producer/Engineer Kansas Audio-Reader Network

                                           PO Box 847, Lawrence, KS  66044

                                           785-864-4600/800-772-8898   art@ku.edu

                                           Fax: 785-864-4053      Term: 2011-2014 (2nd term)


Robb Hartlen                   Director

                                           Manager, AMI (Accessible Media Inc)

                                           124 St. John St, Fredericton, NB E3B 4A7

                                           506-455-6860     Robb.Hartlen@ami.ca    

                                           Term: 2012-2015 (1st term)


Nick Morgan                    Director

                                           Executive Director, Virginia Voice

                                           PO Box 15546, Richmond, VA  23227

                                           804-266-2477                nmorgan@virginiavoice.org

                                           Fax: 804-266-2478      Term: 2012-2013


Trish Speight                  Director

Executive Director, Recording Library of West Texas

                                           2012 W. Cuthbert, Midland, TX 79701

                                           432-682-2731   Trish@recordinglibrary.org

                                           Fax:                      Term: 2011-2014 (1st term)





John Kean                       Director

                                           Senior Technologist, NPR Labs

635 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                           202-513-2476                   Jkean@npr.org

                                           Fax: 775-256-7182 Term: 2010-2013 (2nd term)


Deborah Kendrick         Director

                                           Publicist/Writer, Self Employed

                                           2848 Ridgewood Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45213

    Office: 513/321-2232

    Mobile: 513/673-4474     

Email: dkkendrick@earthlink.net

 Fax: 513/321-6430,   

Term: 2011-2014 (2nd term)

IAAIS Conference 2013 

Remembering the Past, Looking Into the Future

June 5-9, 2013


Wednesday  June 5

4-8 Registration    lobby outside of Chicago/Lake

6-8 Board Meeting   Chicago


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Thursday June 6

8AM Registration opens   lobby outside Chicago/Lake


 9:30-11:30 AM  Early Bird Session     Chicago/Lake

(beginner and basic)     Panel discussion                                     

Topics include:  what to expect from this conference, Guidelines for Good Practice, getting the most out of the Program Share and the benefits of IAAIS Membership

Moderator: Mike Duke, Radio Reading Service of Mississippi, Jackson, MS


Lunch on your own (lunch buffet available for $25 in Portland room)


1:00 PM Opening Session         Chicago/Lake

Welcome- Stuart Holland, President of IAAIS and Conference Host

Richard Strong, Director of Minnesota State Services for the Blind

Keynote Address – “Reminiscing about the Future” Leila Poullada and Jane Toleno


2:00 PM IAAIS General Business Session

Business Session Recording 1

Business Session Recording 2

Business Session Recording 3

Introduction of Board and Attendees                     Chicago/Lake 

          Be prepared to give your name, name of your service, your title, years or months in your current job and first year you attended a NARRS/IAAIS Conference


Thursday June 6


5:00 PM Tour of Minnesota Radio Talking Book and The Communication Center

2200 University Avenue, South

St. Paul, MN 55114

Bus will begin loading on the east side of the hotel, the Elliott Avenue entrance, at 5PM.













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Friday June 7


8:00 AM Vendor Breakfast      Portland


9-10:15 AM General Session              Chicago/Lake

Legislative Update

Melanie Brunson, President  of ACB

Maryfrances Evans, IRIS, Des Moines, IA


10:15 BREAK    outside Chicago/Lake


10:30-11:45 AM Workshop

Working with VISTA Volunteers          Chicago/Lake

Working with VISTA Volunteers Powerpoint presentation

AmeriCorps VISTA is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service that provides one or more full-time VISTA members to American nonprofits on a yearly basis. This workshop will give you the process of applying for a VISTA and the requirements of the program

Amy Hatter, Central Kentucky Radio Eye


10:30-11:45 AM Workshop

Who is Your Audience and How to Reach Them    Park

Boomers,Generation Xers and Millenials

Does your station really reflect the potential audience.

Does your station currently appeal to and serve these groups?

If not, why?

Michael Todd, Recording Library of West Texas

Andrea Pasquale, Sun Sounds of Arizona - Tempe


Noon LUNCH                               Portland

Jonathan Odell, Author of The View from Delphi and The Healing

Books will be available after lunch for purchase






Friday June 7


1:30-2:45 PM General Session    Chicago/Lake

New Tech Two-Step

Part 1 – How to Set up a Web Stream

Part 2 – Beyond passwords – How to get the most from iBlink

Lisa Bordner, Chair, IAAIS Technology Committee

 Michael Todd, Recording Library of West Texas

Joe Steinkamp, Serotek

We will briefly share the results of the recent IAAIS survey.  Then move on to a video presentation and discussion about how to set up web streaming.  This will be followed by Q/A.

Finally we will finish with a short discussion about how to get your programs onto iBlink and education about smart-applications like iBlink and why aggregators that look for and find your latest program don’t work well with passwords. 


2:45 BREAK    outside Chicago/Lake


3:00 - 4:15 Workshop

Finding Money: How to identify prospects and write a winning proposal to private foundations         Chicago/Lake                                                   

The basics of this all important part of keeping your audio information service broadcasting. 

Trish Speight, Recording Library of West Texas


Friday June 7


3:00-4:15 Workshop

Keeping Up in The Digital Age            


Success strategies for connecting through technology

In the digital age, most businesses establish an online presence for disseminating information through technology. Some establish this presence with little or no understanding of how it works. Some want to cling to a more traditional method of marketing, which may not be viable in the digital age. And some have an online presence, but have little understanding of how to promote it and make it work for them. Is there a right or wrong way to establish an online presence? Are there resources to help like-minded organizations connect and share information in the digital age? Is there a way to learn from the failures and successes of other online marketing campaigns in order to further your own organization’s efforts? We’ll explore these questions and more in this session.

Joe Steinkamp, Serotek


Dinner on your own



Hospitality space available in the Midtown Room, first floor near the restaurant

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Saturday June 8


8:00 AM Continental Breakfast   Portland


9:00-10:15 AM Workshops

Creating Award Winning Programs   

Last year AMI swept the IAAIS Program Awards so we asked Joe Lamanna  and Jeff Samsonow of Accessible  Media to share their secrets.  Mark DeWitt, Chairman of the IAAIS Program Awards will share information on what the judges are looking for.

Joe Lamanna, Accessible Media, Inc., Jeff Samsonow, Accessible Media, Inc. and Mark DeWitt, WRRS, Cincinnati, Ohio


9:00-10:15 AM

Partnering with Other Agencies   

Bill Phelps, OWL Radio, San Antonio, Texas


10:15 AM Break  Chicago/Lake


10:30-12 General Session                 Chicago/Lake

Planning for the Future:  Keeping your Service Relevant

Lori Kesinger, IAAIS Administrative Assistant

Marjorie Williams, First Vice-President of IAAIS


Noon-1:30 Lunch    Portland

How it All Began

Robert Watson, MN Radio Talking Book









Saturday June 8


1:30-2:45 Workshop

Special Events: Leaders are Readers    Chicago/Lake

Leaders are Readers is a week-long event where community leaders are invited into the broadcast studio to read alongside volunteer readers during their broadcast. In this session you will learn how to engage community leaders, volunteers and staff in a successful public relations event. Objectives will be to identify task assignments for RRS Staff, RRS Volunteers and Development Staff; identify list of potential community leaders and research; create and implement invitation, confirmation and schedule; and finally, create lasting impressions and relationships with a gift, Thank You and hospitality.

Angie Hoschauer, Goodwill Easter Seals Radio Reading Service Dayton, Ohio


1:30-2:45 PM Workshop               Park

Content Delivery Methods

A discussion of ways to deliver your programming and an overview of up and coming technologies


2:45 PM Break  outside Chicago/Lake


3:00 PM Closing Business Session/Elevator speech competition                                 Chicago/Lake

What is an Elevator Speech?

Imagine that you are in an elevator with someone who notices that you are carrying a bag that has the letters IAAIS on the side. The person asks you what that stands for. You know that you have one minute before that person, who could be a potential donor or volunteer, reaches their floor. You need to say the most important things about the organization that the person will be able to remember, and you have very little time. That is an Elevator Speech


6:00 Presidents Reception           Portland

       cash bar and Hors D’Oeuvres


7:00 Dinner and Awards Banquet   Portland




Whether You’re So New to Audio Information
You Squeak…

Or So Old-Hand Experienced

You Creak…

IAAIS Membership
Offers Benefits Your Service Needs



IAAIS Membership has significant benefit for professional and program development, as well as access to networking and program sharing opportunities.  IAAIS membership allows experienced and novice colleagues
to communicate directly with a diverse group:

· Mentoring

· Online ListServ Group

· Annual Conferences

· Workshops

· Membership Directory

· Updates on Critical Legislative Issues

· Online Program Share Portal

· International Representation

· Annual Awards Program

· Quarterly Newsletter

· Equipment and Technology Information

· Audio and Resource Archives

· National Sponsorship Opportunities


Conference Menu


Breakfast Buffet

Friday and Saturday morning 8AM

Continental Deluxe:

Fresh bagels with cream cheese

Assorted Freshly Baked Muffins and Pastries

Assorted Fruit Yogurts and Granola Bars

Sliced Fresh Fruit and Berries

Warm Oatmeal with Brown Sugar and Raisins

Hard Boiled Eggs


Friday Lunch:

Croissant Sandwich:

Smoked turkey and cheddar on a croissant with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper served with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie


Saturday Lunch:

Chicken Caesar Salad:

Chopped romaine lettuce tossed with our Caesar dressing, grilled chicken breast, croutons, and fresh parmesan cheese.  Served with a slice of toasted ciabatta bread and a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie


Saturday Night Banquet Dinner:


Sheraton House Salad:

Mixed greens, cucumber, tomato and red onion served with house vinaigrette

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Conference Menu (continued)

Walleye and Sirloin Duet:

4 ounce beef sirloin prepared medium with a mushroom and red wine demi-glaze paired with a broiled walleye fillet

roasted with fresh herbs, drawn butter, white wine and lemon wedges.

Served with freshly sliced ciabatta bread, our Chef’s fresh vegetables and herb roasted red potatoes.




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Lisa Bordner

Lisa Bordner has been the manager of the Northeast Indiana Radio Reading Service since 2004.  She has over 18 years experience in social service volunteer management, event planning, marketing, and development.  She has served on the IAAIS board for three years assisting on various committees and is currently the chair of the Technology Committee.

     Lisa attended Indiana University majoring in cultural anthropology and business.  She’s served on a variety of nonprofit boards and is a founding member and current Chair of the Senior Information Fair – now in its 14th year.  Her husband, James, composes music for the game industry, advertising and film.  They have two sons who live in California, and a rambunctious Scotty named Isabella


Mark DeWitt

Mark DeWitt is the Broadcast Manager of Radio Reading Services of Cincinnati.

Mark started as a volunteer in 1993 and started full time April 1st, no April fool joke, 1996.  He is also Treasurer for the Ohio Radio Reading Services (ORRS).  Chair of the  IAAIS Awards committee and past Board Member of IAAIS. He hosts a program called Cover To Cover, where they invite authors in, when they are in town, to talk about their books and so much more.

Mike Duke

 Mike Duke is the director of Radio Reading Service of Mississippi.

Blind since birth, Mike attended the Mississippi School for the Blind and Mississippi State University, where he earned a degree in communications.  He then worked as a commercial radio announcer for 12 years before joining Mississippi Public Broadcasting as director of the Radio Reading Service of Mississippi in 1988.

  Mike is an amateur radio operator, and a record collector.  He has served as Vice President Ant as a Board Member of the International Association of Audio Information Services, and as President of the Jackson Amateur Radio Club and of the Mississippi Council of the Blind.

  He has also served on the Consumer Advisory Committee of the Federal Communications Commission.

  Mike was an IAAIS representative on the Narrator HD Radio project, and has served on the Government Relations and Technology committees for IAAIS.

  Mike and his wife, Kathleen, live in Jackson, MS, and attend St. Peter's By-The-Lake Episcopal Church.


Maryfrances Evans

Maryfrances Evans began her broadcast career at KCCI in Des Moines in 1982. Over her 26-year tenure, she advanced from newscast director to management. She left KCCI in 2006 to focus on her small daughters but remained active in freelance videography, marketing and non-profit work. She joined IRIS in 2010 and accomplishments there include statewide DTV delivery, FCC service on the VPAAC Committee and spreading awareness about radio reading from City Hall to Capitol Hill.

“The simple beauty of thousands of volunteers reading aloud cannot be argued. My job is to expand our support and funding by telling the story of radio reading.” 


Amy Hatter

Amy Hatter has served as Executive Director of Central Kentucky Radio Eye since 2011. Amy started at Radio Eye in 2008 as an AmeriCorps VISTA member and was hired on as a staff member in 2009.

      Amy’s accomplishments at Radio Eye include helping with expansion of service to the Greater Louisville Area, and expanding service statewide through NFB-Newsline. Amy has recently served as a member of the IAAIS Strategic Plan Committee. She is a current member of the 2013 Leadership Lexington class, an eleven month leadership development program."

Stuart Holland

An IAAIS Board member since 2001, Stuart has been editor of the IAAIS Report, member of the Executive Committee, chair of International Outreach, and 1st and 2nd vice-president. At conferences, Stuart has conducted workshops on many different aspects of radio reading services. Stuart has been the manager of the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network since 2000, in previous positions as broadcaster and program/volunteer coordinator since 1986. He supervises 9 paid staff and over 500 unpaid staff (volunteers), in the main studios and in six local newspaper reading sites, and works with the agencies that provide resources for these sites. He provides continuing education in oral reading to the volunteers. Stuart also has extensive community volunteer experience in a variety of settings. His education is in theater, music, Liberal Arts, and administration. He has also published writings nationally in a wide variety of settings and is a working actor and musician.


Angie Hoschouer

Angie Hoschouer is the Program Manager for the Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley Radio Reading Service, serving 12 counties in the west central Ohio area. Angie is dedicated to helping those with visual disabilities stay connected to their community by managing the Radio Reading Service program that reads printed materials over a specialized radio.

     Angie is community-oriented and participates in Goodwill Easter Seals’ Speaker’s Bureau program and is a trainer and speaker for the Elder Care Education Series. She also represents the agency and regularly attends many of the senior community meetings including county Council on Aging quarterly meetings, Elderly Service Provider meetings, Seniors Guide Breakfast Club meetings and the Serving Our Seniors meetings.

     Angie is certified as a Project Management Professional and holds a Certificate in Gerontology. Outside of work, her interests include history and genealogy where she is a member of several local and state historical societies and volunteers for historic Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum and Dayton History.


Lori Kesinger

Lori began her career in Audio Information in 1986 as Director of the Valley Voice Radio Reading Service in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  In 1990 she moved to Lawrence Kansas to become Program Manager of the Kansas Audio-Reader Network.  In 1995 she added Administrative Assistant to IAAIS to her duties, a position that has evolved over the years.  Lori is married and has three daughters, all teenagers.


Joe Lamanna

Joe Lamanna has worked in broadcasting for over 25 years.  First as a board operator for CHIN Radio, Toronto’s multicultural radio station, before moving to CHUM Radio, where he worked in their production department for 15 years.  He began working for VoicePrint  in 2004 (now called AMI-audio) and his current position is Manager of National Programming.   He is also an occasional voice actor and writer of radio scripts.  He lives in Toronto


Jonathan Odell

Jonathan Odell is the author of the acclaimed novel The View from Delphi (MacAdam Cage), which deals with the struggle for equality in pre-civil rights Mississippi, his home state.  His new novel, The Healing (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday), explores the subversive role that story plays in the healing of an oppressed people.  Born in Mississippi, Odell grew up in the Jim Crow South and became involved in the civil rights movement in college.  He holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and has been active in human resource development for 30 years.  Last year Odell was given the opportunity to design and implement Heart Jumps!, a literary intervention for elementary and middle school children that uses story creation as a way to increase a child’s love for reading and writing, self-esteem, and classroom safety.  The program will be piloted in two Twin Cities school districts this fall. 


Andrea Pasquale

Andrea Pasquale has been the Manager of Programming & Volunteers at Sun Sounds of Arizona since 2007.  Prior to her service with Sun Sounds she was the Executive Director at the reading service in CT; CRIS-Connecticut Radio Information System, Inc. from 2001-2007.  She
began her service in Radio Reading as a volunteer in 1995.  She has served on the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) Board of Directors since 2007 and is the current Treasurer. She has over 25 years of experience in commercial radio, which has helped her when it comes to working on program ideas for Sun Sounds.  As a previous radio reading volunteer she understands the volunteer aspect of the job.  She graduated the University of New Hampshire with a BA degree in Communications and has been in radio ever since. She is the Recipient of the Raymond E. Baldwin Award presented by the CT Board of Education and Services for the Blind, in 2005.


Leila Poullada

Leila Poullada is a native of Saint Paul who has traveled extensively beginning as a child, traveling with her family to France at age 13. Her family maintained that international bent with a summer home in Britain from 1939 to 1946 which became headquarters for the British War Relief. Understandably, her major in college was European History. After time spent in Pakistan, she obtained an MA in South Asian Studies planning to go into the U.S. Foreign Service. Instead she married a fellow student who was already a Foreign Service Officer. As his wife, she served in Lehore, Pakistan; Kabul, Afghanistan, and the newly independent country of Togo. After her husband retired, the family continued to travel internationally, renewing Leila’s interest in the United Nations which she’d been interested in since 1949 when she met the UN Kashmir Peacekeepers in Pakistan. (Since 1987, she has been involved in the Minnesota chapter of the UN Association of America.) Soon after her husband died in 1987, Leila began recording books for the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network. Having had such a life of international travel and activity, she has especially enjoyed recording books that relate to her past experience. But also, having lived in countries with so many different kinds of government, she is very interested in American political dynamics and has enjoyed reading biographies of the Doles, Colon Powell, and Lyndon B. Johnson from which, she says, she learned a great deal.


Trish Speight

Trish Speight is currently the Executive Director of the Recording Library of West Texas located in Midland Texas, since 2006.  Previous to being the Executive Director she worked as a volunteer reader from 2000-2005 then worked in development as a part time staff member for six months.

     Prior to her involvement with Radio Reading, she worked her way through 7 years of college waiting tables and selling shoes. She attended Baylor University and the University of Houston, BA Political Science and Sociology.

She is a current member of the AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) of the Permian Basin and has served as an AFP Board member as past Vice President of Public Relations and Programs and current Vice President of Scholarships. She has a certification in Non Profit Executive Leadership from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

     She grew up in a Radio household. Her father was an announcer in the 1960’s who went into station management.  

He ended up owning and operating KCRS AM and FM stations until he sold them to Clearchannel (boo, hiss) in 2000.  As a teen Trish spent a lot of time as an underpaid receptionist and board operator at the stations and is most comfortable around “radio people”.

    Trish is married to Phillip Speight, also a Midland native, and mother to two children, daughter Alex, 17, a high school junior who loves theater and son Sam 13, a 7th grader who likes sports and is an XBox addict.


Jeff Samsonow

Jeff Samsonow is beginning his second decade in broadcasting. He worked in radio newsrooms across Canada as a reporter and anchor before joining the staff of Accessible Media (then VoicePrint). As a former volunteer reader, he’s been able to watch, and help, the transition of Accessible Media into the digital era over the last 7 years. Outside of work, Jeff also edited an award-winning community blog and has begun writing and producing short films and web series. He lives in Canada’s northernmost metropolis – Edmonton, Alberta


Joe Steinkamp

Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to Assistive Technology. Since 1979, he has been using one form or another of Screen Reader, Screen Magnifier, OCR or Video Magnifier in his academic and employment adventures. His efforts include stints on the private beta teams  of  Ai Squared, Dolphin, Freedom Scientific and Code Factory.. Joe has also worked as a Professional Broadcaster, lead Retail Sales Trainer, Lead Technical Support for a large OEM computer manufacturer, and he served with the Texas Division of Blind Services as a Technical Consultant for 10 years. Joe is currently Operations Director for Serotek Corporation, makers of the System Access Screen Reader and the award winning iBlink Radio app for iOS and Android platforms. He is also Executive producer of the SeroTalk Podcast network, currently comprised of six ongoing series, which serve as one of the leading information and entertainment sources for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Joe serves as Vice President of the Board for the Assistive Technology Trainers Division for the National Federation of the Blind, is a member of the Executive Committee for the Board of the Sight Into Sound Radio Reading Service and also serves on the new Technologies Committee for the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS)


Richard Strong

Director of Minnesota’s State Services for the Blind, Richard Strong joined State Services for the Blind in 1982 and has held positions in nearly all units of the organization.  He earned his Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and his Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the School of Education, both at Syracuse University. His wife and their two adult children have all played active roles working with and for persons with disabilities.


Michael Todd

Michael Todd is the Station Manager at Recording Library of West Texas Radio.  Before joining the Recording Library in 2008, he worked in commercial radio for 25 years on-air, as Program Director and finally as Operations Manager.   Michael has served on the boards of several non-profits including Safe Place of the Permian Basin, a women and children’s shelter and Mission Agape, an organization which operates a food pantry and holds ESL/Life Skills classes for the Burmese community in Midland.  He also builds and maintains websites and occasionally assists in installing computer networks and workstations.  He was a reporter for the newspaper at Angelo State University, where he graduated with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications.


Jane L. Toleno

My husband Tom, our two young children, and I moved to Minnesota in May, 1983. Minnesota is a great place of belonging with a wide range of professional and personal friends, challenging directions, and much to do.

Today I am a retired childcare teaching assistant, a published writer, and a public speaker. My first book, BlindSight: Come and see (Singing River Publications) was published in 2006. A personal essay, “This Ground I Love” is part of the 2002 Voices for the Land: Minnesotans write about the places they love collection published in cooperation with 1,000 Friends of Minnesota. The account of retiring my beloved dog guide Baxter appears in one of Angel Animal’s earliest collections.

I am a 1997 Summa Cum Laude Honors University of Minnesota undergraduate, a lover of Living Green, and the happy Granny to seven grandkids. I enjoy travel and helping grade school students with reading.

I am absolutely thrilled when my current Leader Dog guide 19 month old, chocolate Labrador retriever Rooney and I can spend time with storytellers and writers, singers, square dancers, basket weavers, bell creators and bell collectors. One of our favorite places to be is the locally owned, independent, Reading Frenzy Book Shop in Zimmerman, Minnesota. It gives me great joy to facilitate writers’ groups in that setting.

My husband Tom and I thoroughly enjoy being involved with the training and care of hunting dogs and participating with them in AKC hunt tests. I am thankful I can do all these things I love. Come and visit, meet our dogs, and explore our four acres of native prairie and our 2,100 squarefoot butterfly garden. You may reach me at (763) 262-8860, via e-mail: jltoleno@windstream.net, or at home at 21730 173rd St NW, Big Lake, MN 55309.


Bob Watson

Bob Watson was born in Stillwater, MN - June 13, 1938, and went to work at age 12 as a milkman for  a family friend who owned a local dairy, Oak Glenn farm dairy. In 1954, he obtained a General Class FCC Amateur (HAM) radio license and met C. Stanley Potter. They became good friends. Bob graduated from Stillwater public schools in 1956, and started in Engineering classes at the U of M in 1957, the same year that Stan and he started working on making Sound-Scriber recordings of the "Minnesota" recordings. (Minnesota started recordings for people with visual disabilities in 1953 with the help of the Hamm Foundation.) In 1958, Bob joined the Navy to go to Advanced Electronics, Submarine, and Nuclear Power schools and served on both Diesel-electric and Nuclear submarines as an Electronic Technician and a 1st Class Nuclear Power Reactor operation technician. After the Navy, Bob went to work for Honeywell Aeronautical division working on Space Craft guidance and navigation systems for Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft. He completed his Engineering Degree in 1965 while at Honeywell Aeronautical. Though he’d been keeping in touch with C. Stanley Potter and helping out with occasional projects, in 1969, he left Honeywell and began as Engineering Director for the Communication Center of Minnesota State Services for the Blind, and began working on creating the Radio Talking Book system and other projects. Bob retired in 1999 from the State of Minnesota.


Marjorie Williams

Marjorie Williams is the Executive Director of MindsEye-the Virtual Newsstand, a reading service serving the Greater St. Louis Area.  She’s a graduate of Marquette University’s Broadcast and Electronic Communication program and has been with MindsEye for 10 years.  During that time, she has worked in every capacity of the organization, except engineering.

She is currently First Vice-President of the IAAIS and Immediate Past President of the Illinois Radio Reading Services, Inc.  Her goal for her involvement in every function she serves in is making operations more efficient and effective while at the same time reducing costs. 

In case you were wondering, but are too polite to ask, she is not related or married to MindEye’s Program and Volunteer Coordinator, Tom Williams