Meet the Commissioners
Mark Adreon has been employed with the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind for nine years and has served as Communications and Employer consultant, Public Relations and Outreach as well as project management roles with the department. Mark has work in a number of advocacy roles with a wide range of organizations throughout the state. He has served on the Puget Sound Diversity Employment Network board for ten years assisting in developing a membership list of over 8,500 employers and community based organizations throughout King County. Mark has served on the METRO Accessible Services Advisory Committee for seven years, has chaired the King County 504 ADA Committee and served as a Commissioner with the King County Human Rights Commission. Mark has developed and implemented many community forums including a forum on accessible technology, working with Microsoft, employers, consumers, and developers to strategize how to make consumer and employer based technologies accessible to blind and low vision users. Mark also worked in partnership with DSB, U of W School of Art and other community partners to create "Touching Art"; an art competition and exhibit featuring wall mount tactile art works with visual appeal.
Mike Barta has a background in disability theory specifically related to inclusion, stigma, and independence. Mike was a member of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines working group for the W3C which created the standard for digital accessibility concerns. He is knowledgeable about adaptive solutions, both technical AT and practical work arounds. Mike is retired from 15 years at Microsoft and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Policy. Mike looks forward to working for more inclusion of 'digital divide' concerns as he joins the Commission.
Joshua Caple is a case manager with ElderHealth Northwest, where he provides services to adults with physical and mental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries, as well as the elderly, and regularly interacts with caregivers, guardians, family members, and state case managers. He has worked for several years at assisted living facilities, providing services to profoundly disabled individuals. Joshua previously worked with youth who have physical, mental, and learning disabilities. Joshua brings to the Commission the perspective of a direct service provider.
Patt Copeland is a Visually Impaired Clinical Social Worker who has long established roots in the blind community. She is presently employed as the Community Support Services Manager at the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind and has established Vision Loss Connections, a new nonprofit that organizes recreational activities. Ms. Copeland is Activity Chair for United Blind of Seattle. She also created the Accessible Counseling and Treatment Program at Seattle Mental Health and worked as a Mental Health counselor at the Pike Market Medical Clinic where she helped individuals and families cope with the challenges of living with AIDS and other chronic health conditions.
Hope Drummond is a longtime advocate for people with disabilities on a range of fronts. As an individual of short stature with multiple other disabilities, Ms. Drummond has first-hand experience with navigating through institutions that are not designed to include her as an active participant. In her professional life, Ms. Drummond has assisted clients with disabilities transition into the workforce, sort out benefits and insurance issues, and become more independent. Ms. Drummond has served on the youth advisory board of Healthy Futures at Life Coalition in Mississippi and the board of the My Voice My Choice Project under the Arc of Mississippi Organization. Ms. Drummond is a powerful advocate, who has engaged extensively in the public arena on behalf of individuals with disabilities and has increased awareness of disability issues.
Vickie Foster has served on several boards and committees, including the Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation, the Joint Advisory Board for Seattle Housing Authority, the State Guardianship Committee, the State Rehabilitation Council, the Developmental Disabilities Council, and the King County Metro Accessible Services Board. Ms. Foster serves as personal representative of several individuals with disabilities.
Laura Gramer comes highly recommended by individuals in the disability rights community across the nation. Upon relocating to Seattle, Ms. Gramer sought opportunities to be of service by joining the board of Abused Deaf Women's dvocacy Services and working as an occupational therapist. While in Illinois, Ms. Gramer served on the Universal Access Commission, the Open Doors Organization, the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association, and the Progress Center for Independent Living. Ms. Gramer has engaged in substantial public speaking and lecturing on deafness, disability, and occupational therapy. Ms. Gramer has consistently worked to bridge the deaf and deaf-blind communities to the larger disability rights community.
Jonathan O.L.H. Porter has been a Technology Instructor with the Metrocenter YMCA's Y-Tech department for the past year and a half, but his first passion is disability awareness and advocacy. Being a wheelchair-user himself, he has a been a proponent for the issues of what he calls the "differently-abled" his entire life. Graduating from Seattle University in 2008 with his Bachelors in Business Administration, Jonathan is a 2-time Goodwill Ambassador for the Seattle chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), and has spoken on panels for Seattle Public Schools and at the National Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD) Conference in Atlanta, GA in 2006. Today Jonathan continues to be an active member of both the MDA, with its many awareness and fundraising events, and of the "differently-abled" community.
Deborah Witmer serves as Executive Director of Creative Activities and VSA Washington, a non-profit arts partnership working for equal access to the arts for youth and adults with disabilities in Washington State. As a Resident Director at Seattle Center, Ms. Witmer is involved in transportation and construction mitigation issues around the SDOT and WADOT projects on Mercer and the North Portal. She also works with arts organizations in Seattle to help them meet their access and inclusion goals for people with disabilities. As a long term resident of Seattle Ms. Witmer has several years of experience advocating at the City level. She served as President of the RainKing Neighborhood Association, President of the Southeast District Community Council, Parliamentarian of the Seattle City Neighborhood Council, and chair of its budget committee.
How To Get Involved
The Commission welcomes your interests and ideas. Individuals or organizations who want to introduce your ideas can contact the Commission Chair by calling the Commission Staff Person, Felicia Yearwood at 206-684-4537 or the Seattle Office for Civil Rights at 206-684-4500 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org