Perkins has been recognized as a leader in innovation by one of the region’s top technology associations for its pioneering role in developing high-tech devices for people with visual impairments.
Perkins President and CEO Dave Power was presented with the 2014 Distinguished Leadership Award at a gala hosted by the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) on September 11.
"Perkins has been innovating in Massachusetts since John Quincy Adams was president," Power said. "Long after Helen Keller attended Perkins, we continue to create new approaches to education and products to make the world accessible for people who are blind. Technology makes this possible."
In his remarks, Power outlined the ways that Perkins is moving to address the high rate of unemployment among people with visual impairments. Technology has been, and continues to be, a key factor in job creation and preparing students for vocational opportunities, he said.
Power was introduced by Gary Hanley, head of American operations for Invest in Northern Ireland, who described the Perkins story as "one of continuous innovation." He cited the Grousbeck Center for Students & Technology as one such example – the Center’s social and gaming space, accessible music studio and Internet radio station "let young people have fun, while gaining social and vocation skills," he said.
A video showcasing innovation on the Perkins campus was met with a standing ovation from the gala audience, which included hundreds of the region’s top tech executives and community leaders.
Other recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Leadership Award included Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Hugh Herr of the MIT Media Lab and David Petty, a computer science teacher at Winchester High School.
In recent years, Perkins’ products division has taken a leadership role in developing assistive technology that empowers people with limited vision in school, at home and on the job. Recent innovations include the award-winning Perkins SMART Brailler, a braille-writing device that features audio and visual output, and the LightAide, an LED-powered learning tool for students with low vision.
View more photos of Perkins receiving the 2014 Distinguished Leadership Award »