Peter Blanck, Ph.D., J.D. - Chairman, GUDC
Dr. Blanck is University Professor at Syracuse University, which is the highest faculty rank granted to eight prior individuals in the history of the University. He is Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University. Blanck is Honorary Professor, Centre for Disability Law & Policy, at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Blanck received a Juris Doctorate from Stanford University, where he was President of the Stanford Law Review, and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard University.
Blanck has written articles and books on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related laws, and received grants to study disability law and policy. [Click here for a full listing] Blanck is President of Raising the Floor (RtF) USA. He is a former member of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and a former Senior Fellow of the Annenberg Washington Program. Prior to teaching, Blanck practiced law at the Washington D.C. firm Covington & Burling, and served as law clerk to the late Honorable Carl McGowan of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
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Ambassador Luis Gallegos, Honorary Chairman , GUDC
Ambassador Luis Gallegos is the former Ambassador from Ecuador to the United States. Ambassador Gallegos is Chairman of the Global UN Partnership for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies and President of the International Rehabilitation Foundation. The Congress of Ecuador has honored him twice, in 1999 for his work in Human Rights and for his leadership in the promotion and protection of Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ambassador Gallegos is also a recipient of the “Justice for All Disabilities Rights Award”.
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Board of Directors
Berthy De La Rosa-Aponte
Berthy De La Rosa-Aponte has been a disability advocate for over 30 years. Her professional experiences has centered on administering services and programs to the disability and/or the Hispanic communities in the US in the educational and social service fields. Mrs. De La Rosa-Aponte has served in numerous local, state and national boards including gubernatorial, congressional and presidential appointments. In 2003 the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives appointed her to be a member of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel. In 2004 President George W. Bush appointed Mrs. De La Rosa-Aponte to be the Chair of the national Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel. Mrs. De La Rosa-Aponte was recently appointed by President Bush to a two-year term beginning May 12, 2008, as a Member of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Joshua H. Heintz, Esq., Treasurer, GUDC Board of Directors
Joshua H. Heintz has retired from the law firm of Gilberti Stinziano Heintz & Smith, P.C., in Syracuse, New York, where he practiced for 31 years concentrating on a wide variety of energy, commercial and industrial development projects, including brownfield redevelopment, power generation, solid waste management and surface mining facilities. Mr. Heintz also serves as a trustee to Syracuse University, co-Chair of the Board of Advisors of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, member of the Board of Directors of the Robert H. Jackson Center, and is the former Chair of the Syracuse University College of Law Board of Advisors.
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Graham Hill, CEO - Ice Miller Strategies LLC
Graham Hill provides direct counsel and government affairs services to clients on legislative and regulatory issues. He previously served as the Staff Director and Senior Counsel to the United States House of Representatives' Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways, Transit and Pipelines where he was responsible for managing, drafting and negotiating the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act – a Legacy for Users, "The Highway Bill." Graham also was recently nominated by President George W. Bush, and confirmed by the United States Senate, to serve on the National Council for Disability (NCD), an independent federal body with jurisdiction over all matters affecting those with disabilities. The NCD was the author of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Andrew Houghton, President - Disability Inclusion Solutions, Inc.
Mr. Houghton's broad leadership and experience in the disability arena includes presidential and gubernatorial appointments and business consulting for Fortune 500 companies as well as nonprofit organizations. His accomplishments include the development of domestic and international programs that promote full inclusion for people with disabilities through sports and recreation. Mr. Houghton was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled (Committee) in February 2003, as a private citizen representing the interests of nonprofit agency employees with disabilities. In May 2006, Mr. Houghton was reappointed to serve a second term, in July 2006, he was unanimously elected by his peers as Committee Chairperson. In its 70-year history, he is the first private citizen and the first person with a disability to chair the Committee.
Michael Perry, Executive Vice President of Progressive AE
Michael Perry is the Executive Vice President of Progressive AE, a full-service architectural firm with offices in Grand Rapids MI, and Charlotte NC. Michael served as the Principal Architect on the Mary Free Bed YMCA, the first building to be certified by the Global Universal Design Commission for its implementation of Universal Design standards. The new facility, which has experienced exceptional member growth and national recognition, allows people of all abilities the opportunity to participate in health and wellness activities. Through Michael’s leadership, Progressive AE has become a leader in the application of Universal Design in built environments. In his position, his responsibilities are centered on providing principal level leadership to clients, driving new business innovation activities, providing strategic advice across projects and team-wide guidance.
Shelley Siegel, President of Universal Design & Education Network
Shelley Siegel, FASID is founder of Universal Design & Education Network, a Universal Design focused interior design firm, as well as a consulting designer with Siegel Design Group, Inc., a design-build company she owns with her husband, Roy Siegel. Siegel has over 30 years of experience in the interior design industry and a nuanced understanding of “beyond compliance” accessibility goals as evidenced in Universal Design, aging in place, and more. She is an educator and lecturer, has ADA expertise, and in 2016 was appointed to the U.S. Access Board, which is a presidential appointment. Siegel has broad expertise in Universal Design in residential, commercial, and healthcare environments.
GUDC Founding Board Member Emeritus
John Lancaster, Former Executive Director - National Council on Independent Living
John A. Lancaster previously served as the Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), which is the oldest disability grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. NCIL advances the independent living philosophy and advocates for the full integration and participation of people with disabilities in society.
Since 1974, he has worked as a civil rights attorney working on issues related to the integration and empowerment of people with disabilities. He has served in government from 1981-1987 for Governor Harry Hughes of Maryland as the Director of the Office for Individuals with Disabilities and again from 1991-2000 with the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. From 1995-2000, he distinguished himself in the Clinton Administration in the formulation of disability employment policy as the President’s Committee’s Executive Director.