Chief Technology Officer, State Services for the Blind – Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
It’s easy to write a nomination for a Minnesota technology leader David Andrews. Every day throughout his state government career, Dave has championed technology innovation, collaboration, and improvement of services.
Prior to 2009, Dave dared to ask the question “why is the state buying inaccessible technology?” This question, along with a group of dedicated individuals, blazed a trail which led to:
-the passing of the State of Minnesota’s digital accessibility law,
-the hiring of the Chief Information Accessibility Officer, and
-the establishment of the Office of Accessibility.
As part of this journey, he co-chaired the Technology Accessibility Advisory Committee for the State of Minnesota.
For most people, that would be reason enough to nominate them. But Dave has spent a career improving access to digital technology for people with disabilities. He is a long-standing member of the Minnesota Assistive Technology Advisory Council and has served as their Chair. He has served as the Chief Technology Officer of the Minnesota State Services for the Blind for 24 years. He has served on numerous state committees that promote the hiring of people with disabilities and work on improving digital accessibility for both employees and citizens.
And despite all of this work, Dave continues to make time to share what he has learned and help others develop their skills. In addition to serving as a GTS Education Events Steering Committee member, he has given countless presentations at state agencies, at the Government IT Symposium, and at other conferences. And since its inception, Dave has attended the monthly meetings of the Digital Accessibility Coordinator Group. Many would describe him as one of their digital accessibility mentors.
Dave does not only share his knowledge within Minnesota. He has written articles and posts that help people understand more about the impact of digital accessibility and what needs to happen. In May 2017 he wrote an article called “How Do You Work This Thing?” for the Braille Monitor. He was also an invited expert on the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 W3C submission in 2017.
Finally, Dave makes time for the less glamorous collaborations, too. He often works with teams looking to ensure that their products are accessible. He is always willing to listen, provide feedback and help others understand how assistive technology works and the different nuances of the technology based on the user. He gets involved in pilots and trials, helping groups verify new processes, and running tests. For example, he participated as a subject matter expert with the InDesign Accessibility Community of Practice as they investigated best practices, and helped employees develop Excel digital accessibility best practices. He responds to questions people around the world post on email lists, as they work to improve their understanding of digital accessibility and how it can be used to improve the experience of end-users. He gives of his time thoughtfully and generously.
For these reasons and so many more, we strongly, proudly, and loudly nominate David Andrews for the Golden GOVIT Awards.
-submitted by Kim Wee and Jennie Delisi
About GTS Educational Events
If you are a nonprofit or public sector group looking to create a conference, workshop or educational event with impact, look to GTS. We believe educational events are successful when participants learn and grow and then return to their organizations and communities to make them stronger. We look forward to continuing our work with the broad spectrum of organizations striving to make a difference for the people and communities they serve.
Alex Hepp, City of Hopkins
Bill Bleckwehl, Cisco
Dave Andrews, DEED
Jay Wyant, Minnesota IT Services
Jim Hall, Ramsey County
Matt Bailey, IBM
Melissa Reeder, League of Minnesota Cities
Nathan Beran, City of New Ulm
Sue Wallace, IT Futures Foundation
Lisa Meredith, Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative
Justin Kaufman, Minnesota IT Services
Renee Heinbuch, Washington County/MNCITLA
Jerine Rosato, Ramsey County
David Berthiaume, Minnesota IT Services
Cory Tramm, Sourcewell Tech
Tomas Alvarez, Federal Reserve
Tom Ammons, MN.IT – Central
Dave Andrews, MN State Services for the Blind
Susan Bousquet, MN.IT – DOT
Robert Granvin, Metro State
Alex Hepp, City of Hopkins
Shawntan Howell, Ramsey County
Jenny Johnson, Metropolitan Council
Millicent Kasal, MN.IT – Central
Ping Li, MN.IT – MMB
Chibuzor Nnaji, MN.IT – DHS
Mehrdad Shabestari, MN.IT – Central