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Access for All: ADA Considerations for Inclusive Public Meetings

As you work to improve the public meeting process in your community, accessibility is an area of focus that should remain top of mind. Residents living with disabilities in your community deserve your distinct consideration when accessing and participating in public meetings. This challenge has become more complex in recent years, with more meetings moving to a virtual or hybrid in-person/virtual model.  

It can be daunting to understand government-sanctioned ADA standards, especially when getting it wrong can mean costly fines, penalties or lawsuits. More importantly, getting it wrong can prevent a member of your community from equal access to participation in public meetings. In this free session, we’ve brought in Geoff Ames, an ADA accessibility expert, to provide insight on how to develop a compliant public meeting strategy for people living with a range of disabilities, including blindness, low-vision, deafness, and limited manual mobility. Geoff is a senior project manager at Meeting the Challenge, Inc., an accessibility compliance consulting subsidiary of CP&Y, Inc., a full-service engineering, architectural, and construction consulting firm.

This session covers: 

  • The requirements of the ADA 
  • How to evaluate and identify both physical and operational accessibility barriers to government public meetings 
  • The aids and services needed to provide effective, equitable communication for all people

Featured Speaker:

Geoff Ames, Senior Project Manager – Accessibility, Meeting the Challenge (MTC)

Geoff Ames headshot

Geoff Ames is a Senior Project Manager for Meeting the Challenge, Inc. (MTC), a CP&Y Company. Ames is licensed as a Registered Accessibility Specialist by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and a member of the Accessiblity Professionals Association. MTC provides information services and consulting that serves individuals and organizations with rights and responsibilities for compliance under federal disability rights laws. 

Ames has been with MTC since 2001, initially as an accountant and office manager. In April of 2002, he joined MTC’s Rocky Mountain ADA Center project. In his capacity as an information specialist for the ADA Center, he has provided technical assistance and training, addressing all facets of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), such as facility/architectural access, employment, effective communication, program access, integration and nondiscrimination. Beginning prior to his participation in his first Easter Seals Project ACTION Mobility Planning Services Institute, in November 2003, Ames has assisted people with disabilities and public transit organizations, including Denver-RTD, in implementing better access to public transit services. In the past 19 years Ames has delivered numerous trainings for transit drivers, paratransit and specialized transit reservationists and dispatchers, and people with disabilities and advocacy groups. 

Since that time, Ames has participated in several projects funded by the Federal Transit Administration, including his role as the subject matter expert for development of the Riders’ Guide to Public Transit for People with Disabilities – Fixed Route and ADA Complementary Paratransit. Under MTC’s contract with the U.S. Department of Transportation/FTA, he was the ADA compliance review team leader for four projects covering ADA stop announcements, MTA rapid rail station accessibility, paratransit compliance review, and Amtrak station accessibility. 

Ames has participated in and provided leadership on more than 100 of MTC’s implementation projects. He has managed projects that have included building and park accessibility surveys, pedestrian facilities in the public right-of way surveys, program, policy, and procedural evaluation, and transit specific ADA compliance reviews. He has broad experience with a variety of clients, including architectural and engineering firms, small and regional park districts, cities, counties, public and private colleges and universities, private businesses, private and public medical providers and hospitals, housing entities, local, regional, and state transit entities, the Federal Transit Administration, and statewide departments of state governments. 

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