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Summary of Rocky Mountain ADA Center’s to the Pacific ADA Update Conference in San Francisco

Summary of Rocky Mountain ADA Center’s to the Pacific ADA Update Conference in San Francisco

By Paul Simmons 10/4/17

The Rocky Mountain ADA Center was pleased to attend the The Pacific ADA Update Conference at the InterContinental Hotel on Thursday, September 21 and Wednesday, September 22, 2017 in San Francisco; it was a wonderful experience.

Our team (the amazing Maggie Sims and I) boarded our Virgin America flight in Denver on Wednesday, September 20 and upon arrival at the San Francisco International airport, we requested an Uber ride to our hotel from my phone. The whole process was easy and very friendly to use. We got a very friendly driver who knew his way around San Francisco and we were dropped off right at the front door of our hotel. After getting our rooms and unpacking our luggage, we headed out for dinner at Mozzeria, a Deaf owned and operated pizzeria in the heart of San Francisco. Mozzeria is owned by deaf couple, Russ and Scott Stein and it has an eclectic yet welcoming atmosphere, and food worth feasting on. All the staff there were deaf and communicated through sign language. We were able to order our meals effortlessly. Wednesdays featured Wine Crush Wednesdays where one could order a pizza and a dessert with a free glass of house wine.  Bonus!

At the end of our dinner, we could understand why Mozzeria was consistently given high ratings for their food, atmosphere, and dining experience.

The next morning, we registered for our workshops at the Pacific ADA Update conference. In addition to the workshops, there were two keynote speakers: Dave Yanchulis of the US Access Board and John Wodatch, formerly of the Department of Justice. Yanchulis gave an overview of the ADA standards and Wodatch covered the past 27 years of the ADA and its prospects for the future. The workshops covered a variety of topics including employment, recreation, service animals, accessibility, and emergency preparedness. As a deaf person, I was pleased to have full access to all the workshops and presentations through extremely competent sign language interpreters.

The two important items I learned that I wasn’t fully aware of before the conference that I took back to The Rocky Mountain ADA Team were:

  1. Processes related to emergency management, especially when it involves people with disabilities.
  2. Employment law variations between states and the ADA, and which law prevails.

Saturday was the day we returned home to Colorado. Again, we availed of Uber to take us to the airport. Overall, I felt that the Pacific ADA Update conference as organized by the Pacific ADA Center was very well organized, informative, and accessible; Uber was extremely accessible, picking us up exactly where we were and dropping us off exactly where we wanted to go without any hassle; Virgin America was awesomely comfortable yet, without captions, their in-flight entertainment was not accessible to me as a deaf person although I enjoyed their trivia game.

It is always wonderful for me, personally, to gather with so many influential people who care deeply about the ADA and the population of people it protects. I look forward to the next time we are able to travel and meet with our colleagues. If you have any questions about the conference or my work, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at:

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