Meet the Team

The Perkins Access Team consists of experts specializing in assistive technology, information technology and user experience, with many individuals holding more than 20 years of experience.

Bill Oates, Vice-President of Perkins Solutions

headshot of Bill OatesBill oversees the strategic operations of Perkins Access and brings a wealth of leadership experience in the technology field. Previous to his role at Perkins, Oates served as the CIO for both the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city of Boston, where he worked to improve systems and drive innovation for more than seven years. Before that, Oates spent more than 20 years in the private sector, as senior vice president/CIO for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and as a tech services executive for the Boston-based Sheraton Corporation. As vice president of Perkins Solutions, his focus is growing the division’s line of literacy and assistive products as well as its accessibility consulting services. A Watertown native, Oates completed his undergraduate education at Boston College and holds a JD and a Master of Laws (LL.M) in global technology law from Suffolk University Law School.

Joseph Martini, Director of Assistive Technology

headshot of Joseph MartiniJoe manages the technology specialist staff, vendor relationships, order and fulfillment operations, and contracts with state and national organizations. His previous experience includes senior management positions with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Spaulding Rehabilitation, Greenery Rehabilitation and Hebrew SeniorLIfe, where he managed operations that assisted patients and families with return to home, school and work challenges. Before delving into the healthcare-provider industry, Joe worked in the healthcare-reimbursement industry conducting technology assessment research for Medicare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. Joe, who holds a BA, has been in the accommodation space for more than 25 years, helping thousands of individuals to lead more fulfilling, more engaged lives. Joe is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC). 

Marla Runyan, Lead Assistive Technology Support, Training and Testing Specialist

headshot of Marla RunyanMarla is a licensed teacher of the visually impaired and a licensed teacher of the deaf with more than 20 years of experience supporting students with unique needs in the K-12 educational setting. Marla holds an MA and is also an experienced user of low vision assistive technology on Mac, iOS and Windows platforms, including Zoom, VoiceOver, ZoomText, and MAGic. Additionally, she has extensive knowledge of iOS accessibility features and apps that support independent living, literacy, academic instruction and augmentative communication. A former world-class athlete, Marla was the first legally blind U.S. Olympian in track and field, and competed at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. In 2001, she received the Helen Keller Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind. Marla is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC).

Akira Fujita, Accessibility Consultant

headshot of Akira FujitaAkira Joined Perkins in 2016. Previously, his work with Apple and assistive technology spanned over a decade. As a Creative Trainer at Apple, he connected with the community hosting workshops, training users and creating awareness of the Accessibility features of Macintosh and iOS systems. Akira exercises expert level fluency of Assistive Technology including but not limited to Screen Readers, Braille Displays, Switch Controls, Screen Zoom, Keyboard Navigation, and Video Relay Services. Developing and facilitating comprehensive trainings, Akira enables others to become competent trainers, and advocates for an accessible environment. Understanding user experience and supporting a wide range of competencies, Akira earned the designation of the go-to Apple Accessibility Champion throughout the region.

Joann Becker, Assistive Technology Support, Training and Testing Specialist

headshot of Joann BeckerJoann has more than 20 years of experience in the field of assistive technology and devices for individuals with low vision and blindness. She has worked nationally and internationally for industry-leading technology companies including Kurzweil, HumanWare and Optelec. Joann, who holds an MA, has trained hundreds of individuals, students, teachers of the visually impaired and adults on notetakers, screen reading software, computer technology, low vision technology, iPhones and iPads. In addition, she is a certified teacher of JAWS, Window Eyes and Zoom Text. Being blind, Joann knows full well the resources and solutions available to meet the unique needs of individuals with visual impairment. Joann is is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC).

Lisa Chiango, Assistive Technology Support, Training and Testing Specialist

headshot of Lisa ChiangoLisa's extensive experience working with individuals who are deafblind spans 20 years and includes a variety of nonprofit, corporate and private environments. She served a key role in establishing the Deafblind Community Access Network by supporting the Deaf-Blind Contact Center and the Deafblind Interpreter Allies. For the last four years Lisa has worked as a private deafblind computer tutor primarily in PC and Mac computing environments. She also served as a specialist with Apple working directly with consumers in one-on-one demonstrations, training on a full range of iOS devices/accessories/software, troubleshooting and providing individualized accessibility training. Lisa, who holds an MA, is fluent in American Sign Language, Tactile Sign language and Pidgin Signed English. 

Tim Cumings, Assistive Technology Support, Training and Testing Specialist

headshot of Tim CumingsTim is an expert user of a complete range of hardware and software solutions, including Microsoft Office, Goldwave, Audacity, Reaper, JAWS, WindowEyes, NVDA, refreshable braille displays, iOS operating systems and Windows. Additionally, he is certified in HTML from the HTML Writers Guild with particular emphasis on accessible web page design, and has been providing technology training and support services for more than 20 years. Tim holds an MA and has a background in broadcast journalism and is a radio talk show host. His shows frequently deal with discussions and demonstrations of assistive technology for blind computer users. He is the former president of the Visually Impaired Blind Users Group and is a member of the Webmaster Association of Blind Citizens.

Jeremias Feliz, Assistive Technology Support, Training and Testing Specialist

headshot of Jeremias FelizJeremias provides training and technical support for users with visual impairments in accessible software, including Kurzweil 3000, ZoomText and Dragon Naturally Speaking. He also helps individuals combine hardware and software solutions for seamless accessibility, showing students how to integrate CCTVs and remote classroom solutions for access to academic material. Previously, Jeremias, who holds a BA, worked as a technology consultant for the University of Massachusetts/Boston, where he trained students in a broad spectrum of assistive/adaptive software and devices. He also conducted tutorials for university faculty and students on universal design principles and assistive technology solutions.

Milissa Garside, Assistive Technology Support, Training and Testing Specialist

headshot of Milissa GarsideMilissa has been providing assistive technology support for individuals with disabilities in the academic setting for 10 years. She has expertise in a broad range of blindness technology including screen reading software, OCR scanning programs, braille devices, iOS devices and accessibility features. Previous to her role at Perkins, Milissa provided training and support to students and staff at the University of Massachusetts’ Boston Ross Center for Students with Disabilities. Milissa has also provided consulting services on software and computer system accessibility. She holds an MA and has a long history of advocacy work on both the state and national level and has held many leadership positions, such as serving as Vice-President of the National Alliance of Blind Students.

Richard Welch, Assistive Technology Support, Training and Testing Specialist

headshot of Richard WelchRichard provides technology training and support services and is a well rounded user of a complete range of hardware and software solutions including Microsoft Office, Audacity, Magic, ZoomText, iOS, Mac-OS, Linux and Microsoft operating systems. A system builder with 20 years of experience, Richard has been advocating for the needs of the disabled community since 1994.