Innovation Expands Perkins Products
Watertown Executive earns State-wide Recognition
David Morgan receives the MassMEP award for his work developing the Perkins SMART Brailler
Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) has named David Morgan “Innovator of the Year” for 2012. Morgan, Vice President and General Manager of the Perkins Products division of Perkins, received the award for his forward-thinking work on the Perkins SMART Brailler®, a new interactive learning tool designed to help people who are blind learn to read and write more independently.
The Perkins SMART Brailler merges computer technology with a mechanical braillewriter enabling more interaction while learning braille. Morgan said, “We are convinced that this new technology product truly levels the playing field and demystifies the braille ‘code’ to allow a shared learning experience for all – student, parent, teacher, and friend.” To learn more and to view videos, visit smartbrailler.org.
MassMEP recognized Morgan for his insight and ingenuity in guiding the product design and development of the revolutionary Perkins SMART Brailler. The sleek, modern re-design of the beloved original Perkins Brailler, first introduced in 1951, has the potential to transform the way people who are blind and visually impaired learn to read and write. The Perkins SMART Brailler provides audio text-to-speech and visual feedback coupled with hard-copy output fostering an interactive braille learning process for students, teachers, parents, and adults losing their vision. Audio and on-screen feedback are available in English and a range of other languages via Acapela text-to-speech software, and special curriculum development for classroom teachers is built in. It was developed by a team at Perkins Products with funding provided by the American Printing House for the Blind.
“The Patrick/Murray administration applauds Perkins Products and David Morgan as the first ever recipient of the MassMEP Innovator of the Year award,” stated Secretary Greg Bialecki during the presentation. The Secretary oversees the Commonwealth’s business development, housing & community development and consumer affairs & business regulations agencies. He said, “Three things that Massachusetts is known for are innovation, manufacturing, and the willingness to take on life’s biggest challenges. Innovation is the Commonwealth’s enduring competitive advantage. Manufacturing has a long tradition in Massachusetts and we are working hard to tell the story that manufacturing isn’t what we used to do, but what we are doing now – in new ways. Perkins Products’ new SMART Brailler® is an excellent example of that. David and his team identified a need for a product and they are building it here in Massachusetts. And throughout history Massachusetts’ leaders have asked, ‘What are the biggest problems facing the world? Let’s try to solve them.’ Since 1829, Perkins has always been a great example of that spirit, and now they have created a product that will change lives around the world.”
Morgan came to Perkins in 2005 with extensive experience in manufacturing, engineering, and product development. He transformed the non-profit Howe Press operations into a nimble, vibrant, and innovative mission-driven business that now encompasses not only brailler manufacture and sales, but also distribution of high-tech solutions to thousands of people worldwide via traditional and online sales streams. “To say that David Morgan has had a positive impact on Perkins’ mission – in the Commonwealth and around the world – would be an understatement,” said Perkins president Steven Rothstein. “His focus and innovative thinking is unmatched.”
“David Morgan exemplifies the Next Generation of Manufacturing. He and his team took a great idea through engineering and software development, prototype, testing, production, and a worldwide market launch to help children and adults in need and provide a sustainable income that supports the mission of Perkins School for the Blind. We are honored to present him with the first MassMEP Innovator of the Year Award,” stated Jack Healy, MassMEP Director of Operations.
About the MassMEP Innovator of the Year Award
Innovation is the cornerstone of manufacturing growth in Massachusetts. As such, MassMEP will recognize a manufacturer or individual that demonstrates innovation through the creation of better or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments, and society.
Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership provides services that help manufacturers transform and grow their organizations. From workforce strategies to lean training to supply chain management, MassMEP delivers positive, measurable, and sustainable impact on a company’s top and bottom lines. Key programs include Innovation for Growth, Workforce Strategies, Systemic Continuous Improvement, and Value Opportunity Profile. For more information, visit http://www.massmep.org.
About Perkins Products
Perkins Products is a division of Perkins School for the Blind, the first school in the U.S. for students with visual impairments. Perkins provides education and services to help build productive, meaningful lives for more than 500,000 children and adults in the U.S. and 67 countries worldwide. The Perkins Products division ships its braillers to 175 countries. Founded in 1829, Perkins pursues its mission around the world, in the community and on its Watertown, Massachusetts, campus.