AT&T Inc. has named Jeffrey Lewis as the Chief Accessibility Officer. Lewis will lead the company’s Corporate Accessibility Technology Office, which helps people with disabilities get the most out of technology so they can more easily stay connected.
Lewis replaces Chris Rice, who retired. Mark Balsano, deputy chief accessibility officer, will support Lewis. Together, they will work to expand the organization to better provide services to the millions of AT&T customers who have disabilities.
“We know ‘accessibility’ is more than a word. It’s a commitment to connect people to the world around them,” said Lewis. “We are the connector, making real efforts to ensure our products and services are accessible to everyone.”
That’s why AT&T has assigned engineers and other experts to develop technology solutions for people with disabilities. The ongoing effort has led advancements such as:
- Speech recognition software called AT&T WATSON for developers to add voice controls to their apps.
- A text-to-voice converter called Natural Voices available for a wide variety of apps.
- Working with handset makers to improve the user experience for people with disabilities.
- Sharing software tools (application program interfaces) for developers to create apps that improve accessibility.
AT&T’s Wireless Independence Now workshops educate people with disabilities, professionals and caregivers about accessibility features available on smartphones and tablets. At the sessions, the company also collects feedback in order to improve AT&T products and services.
Lewis, who also holds the senior vice president-compliance title, previously worked in AT&T’s Legal Department for 13 years in various roles supporting product marketing, regulatory compliance, and regulatory and external affairs. He and his wife Sarah live in Dallas and have four children.