David Bahar has over a decade of experience in public policy and governmental affairs. Until late 2010, David worked with Congressman Inslee of Washington state, and was involved with a number of efforts to improve communication access for the Deaf and hard of hearing.
While with Congressman Inslee, David was involved with the passage of, among other things, the Communications and Video Accessibility Act, the most significant refresh to date of the Americans with Disabilities Act. David ensured the formation of the Emergency Access Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") for achieving equal access to emergency services by individuals with disabilities. David also led Congressional pressure on the FCC to allow Deaf and hard of hearing Video Relay Service ("VRS") users to have ten-digit telephone numbers, allowing them to receive telephone calls and have better access to 9-1-1 emergency services.
Following his work with Congressman Inslee, David joined Convo Communications, the only Deaf owned and operated provider of VRS. David secured for Convo official FCC recognition as a certified provider of VRS, and subsequently led Convo's innovative technology development efforts, including the industry's first Web-based software videophone.
David is currently Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Communication Service for the Deaf and lives in New York City with his wife and sons, where he serves on the Board of Trustees of the Lexington School and Center for the Deaf.
Sean Gerlis is a native of the New York City area and is the 3rd generation of his family to be deaf. Sean has 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry building innovative products and services that transform communication capabilities for the Deaf and hard of hearing. One of his proudest accomplishments was leading the development in 2006 of one of the video relay service industry’s earliest successful software videophones.
As a subject matter expert on the Americans with Disabilities Act, Sean is heavily involved with New York’s local interpreting community, promoting higher standards of quality in interpreting through workshops and community education. Sean also is involved in getting Text-to-911 launch in Rockland County and in the five New York City counties. During his spare time, Sean provides workshops on ADA-related topics concerning effective communication.
Sean is currently an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator for the Board of Elections in the City of New York and lives in West Nyack with his two boys, Asher and Rowan, serves as President of the Empire State Association of the Deaf, and is a contributing member to the Deaf Justice Coalition and the Special Needs Advisory Group of the Office of Emergency Management in New York City.