[techtrainers] More Info On The Workshop

  • From: "Steinkamp, Joe" <Joe.Steinkamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Gray, Jordan" <Jordan.Gray@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Ashley Thomas - Dallas Lighthouse" <athomas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Carol White - Dallas Lighthouse" <cwhite@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Corinne Vieville" <Corinne@xxxxxxxx>, "Dan Brown - Pulse Data Humanware Lampert Division" <dbrown@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "David Saenz" <aceds97@xxxxxxx>, "Don McDowell - McDowell & Associates" <dsmcdow@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Donald Goosens" <donaldagoosens@xxxxxxxx>, "Dr. Carliss Smith" <csmith9480@xxxxxxxxxxx>, "Elaine Swain" <ElaineSwainT@xxxxxxx>, "George Foster" <georgefoster@xxxxxxx>, "Jack Hickman" <jehickman@xxxxxxxxxxx>, "Jeff Molzow" <jmolzow@xxxxxxx>, "Jodi Black" <jodiblack@xxxxxxx>, "Joline Wood" <joline@xxxxxxxxxxx>, "K. Lynn Nahid - KLN Associates" <lynn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Ken Ewing" <ken@xxxxxxxxxx>, "Marci Tamez" <marcarella2001@xxxxxxxxx>, "Patrick Davis" <jtgdavis@xxxxxxx>, "Paul Escobar" <pe@xxxxxxxxxx>, "Rene Cardenas" <cardre10@xxxxxxxxxxx>, "Rosemary Garza" <rosemarya@xxxxxxx>, "Roy Eubanks - R & S Adaptive Technologies" <rsadapt@xxxxxxxxxx>, "Ryan McCollum" <ryan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind" <mike@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Sebastian Whittaker" <bash@xxxxxxx>, "Wayne Merritt" <wcmerritt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "CCAD-Center for Computer Assistance to the Disabled" <info@xxxxxxxxx>, "River City Consulting" <vocrehab@xxxxxxxxx>, "Spalding Magnifiers" <glspalding@xxxxxxx>, "The Lighthouse of Houston" <Isangree@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 09:22:59 -0600

Greetings All!

As you may know by now the Division for Blind Services is hosting an
Assistive Trainer Workshop on Feb 22nd and 23rd. What you may not know,
and many are asking so it's okay, is that there have been some changes
to the event since it was last discussed with all of you in the group.

The biggest change, and the most obvious at this point, is me. So before
we go any further let me take some time out to fill you in on who I am
and where we are heading over the next few months.

Q:      Joe Steinkamp? Who's that guy?

A:      Joe Steinkamp, that's me, is the new Assistive Technology
Consultant [or
ATC] for DBS [Division for Blind Services] in Austin's ATU [Assistive
Technology Unit]. Joe has been with the Agency [back when we used to
call it something else] for five years. His previous position was in the
Houston Region as an Employment Assistance Specialist [EAS]. Prior to
that Joe worked in radio, computer technical support and corporate sales
Joe also, what seems to him like yesterday, was an Assistive Trainer and
Evaluator for a now defunct Evaluation Facility. Joe is a huge fan of
Science Fiction, alternative music and old school videogames. He rarely
refers to himself in the third person, however, he has been known to do
so on special occasions.

Q:      Where's Peter?

A:      Peter is no longer with the Agency. He left us at the end of
and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors. His knowledge and
experience will be missed.

Q:      Oh great another three letter acronym. What exactly does the ATC

A:      That seems to be the $64,000 question at the moment. And boy did
I ever
wish I was paid anywhere near that much. But I digress.

The Assistive Technology Consultant is a relatively new position. I work
with Bob Wiely, Richard Sellers, Glenda Born and Debbie Hayes in the ATU
here in Austin. I perform research on new non Assistive technology that
may need to be modified for the EAS and their consumers. I work with
Assistive and Non Assistive Venders in the areas of trouble shooting and
And 20% of my time is spent being a CCTV unit and Large Print Evaluator
for ATU.

The biggest part of my job is being the liaison between you and the
I will be fielding questions from all of you and moderating discussion
groups. I will be a resource to you in helping you understand the
Agency's policies, guidelines and unique way of talking in letters not
words. I also will be clogging your inbox with information on new
product releases, tech updates and important Agency news that affects
you and your line of work.=20

Q:      What's this Workshop thing all about really?

A:      Back in the day when JFW was only in the lower digits the Legacy
[our old name if you will] used to host these kinds of things all the
We unfortunately moved away from this area of focus.  But now we
recognize that we need to start it up again in order to deal with the
ever changing AT [Assistive Technology] industry. We also believe that
it is fine time that we ask you the Trainers for your input on what you
have been seeing in your field travels. Both good and bad experiences
are welcome as the whole point of this program is to increase
communication between you, the counselor and the EAS. Understanding the
roles and viewpoints of all involved in the great machine can only aid
us in helping Blind Texans reach their desired goals.

Q:      Hmm. You mentioned changes. What other changes are there?

A:      Wow that's a tough one to answer here. Rest assured that we will
get into this subject next month. But for now I can tell you that we are
in the early stages of looking at revamping the contracts, finding
methods of giving you more info before you take on a job and the needed
redesign of both Phase I and II tests. Needless to say that we have a
lot to do and that's kind of the reason why we want to meet and discuss
all of this in person.

But it really goes much deeper than that. We also want to give you a
chance to see some of the newer pieces of technology on the market
today. We are working with major venders to participate in a "meet and
greet" session during the Workshop. That way you can form your own
relationships with the same venders we work with daily. Knowing the
official word on a product saves you time and the consumer headaches.
Wait strike that and reverse it's order.

Another thing we hope to accomplish during the Workshop is to show you
the types of resources we are using to keep up and maintain the
technology in the field. This is one of the biggest areas of change for
the EAS and we think you too may want to have the gadgets on our utility
Be warned that secret lairs are expensive to clean though.

Q:      I have so many more questions to ask about this thing next
month. Who do
I call about these pressing questions?

Well there's me for a start.
512 377 0451
There's the amazing Debbie Hayes at ATU.
512 377 0309
And the awesome Jordan Gray.
512 377 0571
One or all of us should be able to answer your questions about the

Q:      I saw that bit about the hotel in the flyer. Do I have to stay

Short answer. No. Long answer.
The Summerfield Suites has been the default hotel for the Agency for
It's Service Animal friendly, easy to navigate and they have free food
which is always a plus. The hotel has free breakfasts, free happy hour
and cookies at 9 PM every night. Perfect for the State Employee's non
bulging pocketbook.

They have single rooms, one bedroom suites with double or king sized
beds and even two bedroom suites. Each suite has a kitchenette, a TV in
every room and in some they even have VCRs. Rates are all over the map
with a standard one bedroom suite at $73. If need be you could really
pack yourselves in one of the bigger suites and split the rate. Again I
speak from experience on that one.

The concept of choosing this hotel was somewhat based upon the idea that
not everyone knows Austin as well as we do. The hotel is less than five
miles away from the meeting and it's a straight shot to boot. We also
are working on having some events after hours at the hotel if everything
goes according to plan. So we aren't just pushing a hotel on you. I have
personally stayed at this hotel so often in my years with the state that
I got a Xmas card from them last year. No kidding.=20

So If your interested please call the Group Sales Department at 512 452
9391 and mention your with the "Workshop" so you can get the reduced
rates. They give frequent flyer miles as well if you sign up for their
rewards program if that helps any.=20

Well I think that about covers it for now. I have more info coming to an
Inbox near you over the next few weeks. I also plan on sharing some of
our resources a bit early as kind of a sneak peek of what's to come. And
if you notice in the schedule I asked you to submit questions to me for
the discussion portions of the program. Part of that request comes from
this crazy desire that we are going to do a once a month Q&A with
different people. So I desperately want your questions for content sake.

I thank you for your time and patience while we get this new level of
service started. It's going to take a while to get this ball rolling but
I think you will like the changes as we move onward to the next release
of Windows. Oops. Uh forget I said that last bit.=20

Joe Steinkamp

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