Pam Fields

Founder & CEO, ATECH

Pamela Fields is a leader in the field of assistive technology for independence, especially in devising new approaches to independence as it relates to people with intellectual disabilities (IDD).

Mike Marotta, ATP

Owner, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC.

Mike has been in the field of Assistive Technology for almost 30 years and his experience revolves around a vast array of accommodations for persons with disabilities and their family/support members.

Dr. Tom Pomeranz

President & CEO, Universal LifeStIles, Inc

Dr. Tom Pomeranz is a nationally recognized authority, trainer, clinician and consultant in the field of services for people with disabilities. Over the last 50 years, Tom has conducted thousands of seminars and programs throughout the United States and Canada.

Kathleen Stauffer, MPA

Chief Executive Officer, The Arc Eastern Connecticut

“Shift Happens” Half Day Workshop Session Leader
Kathleen Stauffer has worked as a journalist, photojournalist, editor, and publisher for 30 years. With a wide variety of interests, Kathleen graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Communication and a Russian language minor.

Other Speakers

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Amy Blazawski

Director of Services Development & Support – Self Determination/Assistive Technology, State of CT Department of Developmental Services

Amy joined the  Northwest Connecticut Regional Mobility Manager & Ombudswoman. Her position is grant-funded through the Federal Transit Administration and the CT Department of Transportation. As one of five Mobility Managers in Connecticut, she covers transportation for 44 northwest towns-some deeply rural. Amy works primarily with seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities needing transportation to vital medical and other destinations to keep them engaged in their communities. 

April Chaplin

Northwest CT Regional Mobility Manager, The Kennedy Center, Inc. 

April joined the Kennedy Center in 2014 as an Employment Specialist. Two and half years later she started her role at Northwest Connecticut Regional Mobility Manager & Ombudswoman. As one of five Mobility Managers in Connecticut, she covers transportation for 44 northwest towns-some deeply rural. She primarily works with seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities needing transportation to vital medical and other destinations to keep them engaged in their communities. 


Patricia Cymbala

Transition Advisor Assistive Technology, State of CT Department of Developmental Services

Patricia Cymbala is a Transition Advisor at the Department of Developmental Services in the North Region, working on expanding access and use of assistive technology throughout Connecticut. She is an Assistive Technology Specialist and Certified Living In Place Professional who is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in assistive technology and human services at California State University.

Nick D’Aquila

Vice President, Assisted Living Technologies & Chief Information Officer, Assisted Living Services

Nick D’Aquila is the Vice President of Assisted Living Technologies, Inc. a CT company providing technology solutions that promote independence, safety, and improved quality of life for the elderly and individuals with special needs living in private homes and community-based settings.  In 2021, Nick acquired and became a managing member of My Guardian Angel PERS, LLC., a medical alert device company in Shelburne Falls Massachusetts, serving Franklin, Hampshire & Hampden counties in Western Massachusetts.

Laurie Dale

Senior Leader, Assistive Technology, Ability Beyond

Laurie Dale is the Senior Leader, Empowering Technology at Ability Beyond. She has pioneered the use of assistive technology to improve the everyday lives of the people served by her organization and is responsible for integrating new innovations that revolutionize the way Ability Beyond supports people with disabilities. Laurie works to create new bridges between technology and the individuals supported by the organization, identifying and determining what will best allow them to increase their independence. T

Marisol De Jesus 

Assistive Technology Coordinator, ATECH

Marisol has extensive expertise in using assistive technology to allow individuals with disabilities to live and flourish independently at home, at work, and in the community. 

Marisol’s direct care experience coupled with her incredible technical skills in the use of assistive and smart home technologies allows her to conduct assistive technology evaluations for independence with care and skill. In addition to managing ATECH’s lending library, Marisol trains provider agency staff, other professionals, family members, and individuals with disabilities.

Danielle Epperson

Director Of Clinical Services, Aspire Living & Learning

Danielle Epperson is the Clinical Director for Adult Services in Connecticut with Aspire Living & Learning. Danielle is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in Connecticut.  She has been with Aspire for 12 years working in various divisions as BCBA including public school consultation, outplacement school, non-vocational day program, group homes, and share living arrangements and in-home supports. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists,s and AAC consultants to teach and implement different forms of assistive technology. 

Sandra Finnimore

Project SEARCH Manager, The Arc of the Farmington Valley, Inc., (FAVARH)

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Ramon Hernandez

Assistive Technology Specialist, NEAT Center at Oak Hill

Ramón Hernández is an Assistive Technology Specialist working with NEAT. His background includes Communication, Information Technology, Filmmaking, Marketing, and Special Education. Ramón found his love for Special Education while working as a substitute teacher in Connecticut. He then worked for 3 years at a private special education center as a Teacher’s Assistant and an Assistive Technology Assistant. After graduating from Southern Connecticut State University with a Master of Science, specializing in Assistive Technology, Ramón started working with the NEAT Center. Ramón hopes to bring his love for videography and digital media further into the field of AT.

Gretchen Knauff

Director of the Department of Services for Persons with Disabilities, City of New Haven

Gretchen Knauff is the Director of the Department of Services for Persons with Disabilities in the City of New Haven, Connecticut.  For the past 30+ years, she has been advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities by holding various positions at the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, most recently as its Assistant Director.  When the Governor abolished the agency in 2017, she helped to establish and became the first Executive Director of Disability Rights Connecticut, the private nonprofit that succeeded the Office of Protection and Advocacy. 

Heather Latorra

President & CEO, Marrakech, Inc.

Heather serves as the President and CEO of Marrakech, Inc. Marrakech is a 51-year-old nonprofit organization that supports people with disabilities and people who face socioeconomic barriers. The organization was founded by two Yale University students who wanted to ensure that people with disabilities had the opportunity to live and work in their communities. Marrakech currently employs 700 people statewide who provide quality, efficient and effective support to over 1,000 people with various abilities.

Heather currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Workers Compensation Trust, The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, and Milestones Behavioral Health.

Arlene Lugo

Program Director , CT Tech Act Project and Assistive Technology Consultant, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services

Arlene Lugo, ATP, is the Program Director for the CT Tech Act Project and Assistive Technology Consultant for the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. She was a sign language interpreter prior to becoming a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. In 2006, she was promoted to Education Consultant for the Bureau and became the Program Director for the Connecticut Tech Act Project, where she helps individuals with disabilities access the Assistive Technology (AT) for all areas of life including education, employment, and the community.

Laurie McElwee

South-Central Regional Mobility Manager, State of Connecticut

Laurie McElwee is the South-Central Regional Mobility Manager for the state of Connecticut. Her position is funded through a grant by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. She serves on the Senior Resources Agency on Aging Executive Board and was also chosen as a representative for the group, C4A, a statewide senior group that works to establish programs that support seniors and keep them in their homes. Laurie also participates in presentations for The Kennedy Center’s programs, Parents Empowering Parents Workshops, The Autism Project, as well as community outreach to churches, nonprofits, social services, hospitals, conferences, medical clinics, and universities that support the learning and succeeding for all.

Lisa McNeill

Director of Community Integration Program, Continuum of Care

Steve Morris

Executive Director,
The Arc of the Farmington Valley, Inc., (FAVARH)

Steve is the Executive Director of the Arc of the Farmington Valley, Inc. (dba Favarh, www.favarh.org), a nonprofit organization that provides children’s programs, school transition programs, and adult programs and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Favarh is located in Canton, CT, with 325 employees and 150 volunteers to support 400 children, young adults, and adults. Favarh’s mission is to help people with disabilities work as fully and live as independently as possible while enjoying a healthy and active lifestyle. Favarh has developed innovative integrated apartments (aka, Supportive Housing) one of which opened in March of 2021 and a second opened in April of 2022.

Robert Mule

President, Mule Security Systems, Inc.

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Amy Norton

Coordinator of Assistive Technology, EASTCONN

Ms. Norton is an Assistive Technology Professional and Transition Coordinator at EASTCONN. She works with individuals with disabilities across the lifespan providing assessment, consultation, coaching, and training. She assists districts with integrating the use of assistive technology into the general education classroom, curriculum, and transition planning. Additionally, she works with the CT Tech Act (CTTAP) and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services(BRS) to assess the assistive technology needs of adults with disabilities in preparing for work and in accomplishing tasks in the work settings. 

Amy Rubin Mindell

Director of Community Outreach & Assistive Technology, ATECH

As one of the original founders of the Center for Educational and Assistive Technology at Southern Connecticut State University, Amy developed a program that was one of the first of its type in the country.

Following SCSU, Amy spent the next decade at CAST, Inc. developing innovative assistive technology solutions for students and adults with disabilities and helped create the Universal Design for Learning principles that support all people. Amy brings her passion for assistive technology, access, and independence to the ATECH Center’s operations.


Shannon Taber

Director, Inclusion & Accessibility Services, United Cerebral Palsy of Eastern CT

Shannon Taber is the Director of Inclusion & Accessibility and an Assistive Technology Specialist at United Cerebral Palsy of Eastern CT, with over 20 years of experience working with individuals with developmental and acquired disabilities. She oversees UCP’s ATLAS Center which stands for Assistive Technology Lending & Accessibility Services in Eastern Connecticut and Fairfield County. Shannon is a Certified Living In Place Professional (CLIPP.) Shannon provides Assistive Technology evaluations, device trials and loans, device demonstrations, and modifications for all individuals with disabilities. 

Kathryn Wood

Assistant Residential Director, MidState Arc

Independent Living Success Stories, Innovations in Independent Living
Kathryn has worked in the Human Service Field for the past 20 years with kids and adults. She began her career at MidState Arc in 2001 as a Direct Support Professional and currently is overseeing the Independent Living Program and Individual Home Support while currently pursuing her BS in Legal Studies at Post University.

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