ODO Fall News and Events

Oct. 2014 News

It was around October 5, 2000, when Marisa Zukerman and I decided to train retailers on accessibility. We called ourselves Easy Access Solutions and put together some business cards and a 3-fold marketing brochure. A month or so later we realized that this would be no easy task, so we decided to go non-profit, but then Marisa left for a “real” job. So my cousin Wendy Lipp and I took the shot at starting Open Doors Organization and educating the business community on access. Jump forward to October 6-8, 2014, when ODO hosted its 5th Biennial Universal Access in Airports (UAIA). The event was a huge success, and it almost seemed like the group of 100 industry leaders in attendance had bonded into one movement for access in aviation. UAIA has become the “go to” place for airlines, airports and vendors to come together and share ideas, all while affecting tens of thousands of travelers with disabilities every day. Hard to believe that our little non-profit can have so much impact. This and other successes over the past 14 years show that slow and steady does indeed win the race. In this season of charitable giving, please remember Open Doors Organization and the important work we do in making travel, transportation and tourism accessible to everyone.

Eric Lipp, Executive Director
Open Doors Organization

Vicki Curtis Honored

Among the many highlights at Universal Access in Airports 2014 was the presentation of ODO's Disability Access Professionals Award to Vicki A. Curtis, a true pioneer in universal design. Much of her long career as a Boeing engineer has been devoted to redesigning their aircraft cabins to meet the needs of all users, regardless of age or ability. A long-time supporter of Open Doors Organization,Vicki has spoken at numerous ODO events over the years. Learn more about her work.

ODO at Destinations for All

Held in Montreal, Canada, on Oct. 19-22, World Summit: Destinations for All attracted 300 attendees from 30 countries. Representing ODO were Constantine "Gus" Zografopoulos and Laurel Van Horn, shown above with Dr. Scott Rains, Independent Travel and Disability Consultant, and Jan Olivje, America's Freedom Sailor, USA. Dr. Rains' keynote address, Accessible Tourism: How far have we come?, is well worth a read. While many of the attendees like Mr. Olivje, now building the first universally accessible tall ship, have dedicated their lives to inclusion, it was gratifying to see many young people at the event equally passionate and ready to carry the work forward.

Eric Lipp Honored at Edwards Air Force Base

On Oct. 28, ODO executive director Eric Lipp gave a keynote address and then received an award from Edwards AFB and the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. The luncheon event was just one of many during the base's inaugural Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM). Designed to promote employment at the base, especially among wounded warriors, the events brought together people with disabilities and the entire Edwards community. Activities included birdwatching at Piute Ponds, the base's bird sanctuary; an abilities expo; a quad rugby game; trap shooting; and a fun walk/run. Among the DEAM Committee members who planned the celebration is Darcy Painter, 412th Communications Squadron, who also serves on the Customers with Disabilities Advisory Board at United Airlines.

New IBM Kiosk

Accessibility of airline check-in kiosks was a hot topic at the ODO Airline Symposium, hosted by United Airlines on Oct. 6th at their headquarters in Chicago's Willis Tower. New DOT kiosk regulations don't go into effect until Dec. 12, 2016, but IBM has wasted no time bringing their fully accessible kiosk to market. Attendees at UAIA 2014 had the chance to test it out for themselves. The kiosk features the EZ Access keypad designed by the Trace Center.

Events in November

Eric Lipp will be speaking at two important aviation events this November:  WACRA 2014 Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, on Nov. 2-5; and the 23rd ACI Latin America-Caribbean (ACI-LAC) Assembly, Conference and Exhibition in Cancun, Mexico, on Nov. 8-11. Over 200 delegates from 95 airports and industry companies are expected at the Airports Council International event. If you're attending either, do look for Eric on the program. We're thrilled to get disability onto the agenda at these influential international meetings.

DOT Forum Set for Nov. 5

The DOT will be hosting an all-day forum on Wed., Nov. 5 to discuss disability-related issues in air transportation.  It will take place at the Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel, 999 Ninth St. NW. We understand the event is at capacity. To join the wait list or cancel your registration, email Adam Duffy and Peter Cacioppo.

2014/15 CRO Classes

ODO's Initial Complaints Resolution Official Training is available on demand in the U.S. and overseas. Call 773.388.
8839 or email Eric Lipp for full details.
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