Bill Oates has led technology strategy and operations for the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city of Boston, and beginning this summer he’s taking over as the head of Perkins Solutions, the technology division of Perkins School for the Blind.
As Vice President of Perkins Solutions, Oates will concentrate on growing the division’s line of literacy and assistive products – including the flagship Perkins Brailler™ and SMART Brailler® – as well as its accessibility consulting services.
He will also work to increase Perkins’ visibility as a thought leader in the field of accessible technology, collaborating with leading-edge companies and leveraging the expertise of the Innovation Advisory Group, a panel convened by Perkins President and CEO Dave Power to track innovations in information and mobile technology.
“Perkins is experiencing growing demand to make the world accessible for people with disabilities,” said Power. “Through Bill’s leadership, we will build on Perkins’ leadership in this area by partnering with industry leaders to address this need through our Perkins Solutions division, offering solutions that include consulting services, assistive technology products and educational programs.”
Oates, who stepped into his new role in early July, said Perkins Solutions must take a modern, innovative approach to developing accessible technology for today’s consumer.
“How do we harness the creativity of new ideas and the power of new technology and direct that energy toward solutions that truly benefit our community?” asked Oates. “That’s the spirit of our vision for Perkins Solutions.”
Oates brings a wealth of experience to his new position. He has served as the commonwealth’s Chief Information Officer since January 2014 and as Boston’s tech chief for more than seven years. Prior to his roles in government, he 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.
In 2012, Oates was inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame by CIO Magazine. He was honored with the New England CIO Innovation Award from the Massachusetts High Technology Council and was named a “Top 25 Public Sector Innovator” by Government Technology Magazine in 2011.
Oates is a native of Watertown, Massachusetts, and completed his undergraduate education nearby at Boston College. He holds a JD and a Master of Laws (LL.M) in global technology law from Suffolk University Law School.
Perkins Solutions (formerly Perkins Products) offers assistive technology products and training to bring greater independence to people who are blind. Products include refreshable braille displays, screen reading software, portable magnifiers, daily living products and more. Perkins Solutions also provides accessibility consulting services for businesses and non-profits.