Philip W. Bravin is currently vice president of business development at ZVRS. He has held various positions within the deaf community and in the corporate business community over the years, including a stint at CSD until July 2005. At CSD, he held a variety of executive positions in corporate research and development, marketing, broadcasting and business development, in addition to helping pioneer the development of CSD’s video relay service.
Prior to joining CSD in 1999, Phil was president of Yes You Can, Inc., an organization specializing in enabling people with the latest technological advancements in addition to providing management, marketing and technical consulting to schools, nonprofit organizations and major corporations. He was formerly the president and chief executive officer of the National Captioning Institute (NCI)—at that time the largest provider of closed captioning services in the world. Prior to joining NCI, he worked for IBM for nearly 25 years in a variety of technical, marketing and management positions.
He is currently president of the board of the Lexington School and Center for the Deaf in New York. He also serves on the board of Austine School for the Deaf (Vermont). He formerly served on the board of trustees at Gallaudet University for 20 years, in which capacity he served as chairman from 1988–93. He is currently trustee emeritus on the Gallaudet Board.
Phil—who received a doctorate in humane letters from Gallaudet University—is often called on to make presentations all over the United States on how technology enhances the lives of people who are deaf and hard of hearing and consults to corporations and organizations. He is a member of the National Association of the Deaf and other organizations. He is a cancer survivor for 20 years and a co-patent holder for Patent No. 7333507 for a multi-modal communications system, which was awarded in 2008. He created and contributes to www.drzvrs.com, a resource blog for the video relay industry. Privately, he loves to tinker with his computers and grabs every opportunity to ski or play golf.
A father of three grown deaf children and grandfather of 12, Phil currently resides in Chester, Vermont with his wife Judith, a retired New York School for the Deaf librarian.
Jameson “Jay” Crane Jr.
Until his recent retirement, Jameson “Jay” Crane Jr. served as the vice president of investments for The Crane Group in Columbus, Ohio (alternate name Crane Group Co). The Crane Group, a privately-held family business, is a diversified portfolio company, comprised of several manufacturing and sales businesses, primarily serving the home building and commercial markets; real estate development; and equity investments.
As part of a third generation family business, Jay joined the Crane Plastics Company (manufacturing business division) as a young man and worked his way up to eventually lead The Crane Investment Co.
Jay has a wealth of experience in the business world, having primarily worked in manufacturing, sales, banking and investments. In addition to his work with The Crane Group, Jay has also served as a vice president of the Fairwood Investment Company, was a former director at the Commerce National Bank (in Columbus, Ohio) and a former director at CNBC BanCorp.
Jay has also been actively involved with community giving, support and service through a variety of board positions, including the boards of Gallaudet University, the Dorothy E. Ann Fund (D.E.A.F.) at the Greater Columbus Community Foundation, the President’s Club at Ohio State University, Commerce National Bank and several others. He is a former board chair of the Deaf Services Center of Columbus (Ohio).
Jay is the father of two deaf children and has maintained an active personal interest in organizations that serve deaf and hard of hearing populations.
Marwan Elrakabawy is a practicing attorney and is currently counsel for the international law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright, LLP. Marwan’s practice focuses on intellectual property litigation and complex commercial litigation-including business torts, contract disputes, patent disputes, insurance litigation and other civil litigation matters.
Marwan received his bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2003 from the University of Texas at Austin and earned his J.D. with honors in 2006 from the University of Texas School of Law. Marwan has a long been active in the deaf community in Austin, having served as a volunteer and coach at the Texas School for the Deaf since 2003. He was previously an assistant basketball coach for the men’s basketball team at Gallaudet University.
Rogelio Fernandez, Jr.
Rogelio Fernandez, Jr. was born and raised in El Paso, TX and Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. After attending public schools, he enrolled at the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) at 16. There, he learned about Deaf culture and ASL and received numerous outstanding achievement awards, such as Athlete and Scholar of the Year. He was also recognized as a member of Who’s Who in American Schools and Programs for the Deaf.
Rogelio attended Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., earning his B.S. in Computer Information Systems in 1999. At Gallaudet, he served as the president and vice president of the Hispanic Student Organization and as vice president of the Kappa Gamma fraternity.
He received a Circle of Excellence award from CSD in 2003 during his tenure there, and currently serves as a Business Account Executive in Austin, Texas with ZVRS. He received Salesperson of the Year awards from ZVRS in 2007 and 2009 for his outstanding achievements in sales.
Rogelio has served on numerous committees and boards. He has been a longtime activist involved in social justice with Latinx Deaf organizations. He is the president of Council de Manos and a board member of Texas Latino Council of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, which he founded in 2004.
Through his consulting company, Manos Communications, he and his wife have traveled extensively to Latin countries to work with the deaf communities there, as well as with the deaf Spanish-speaking population in the United States.
Brad serves as CFO and is tasked with overseeing the fiscal soundness of CSD’s revenues, budget, properties and investments. As CFO, Brad works closely with the CEO and president to develop strategic planning that maintains the financial health of the company. His responsibilities include ensuring historical financial information is reported accurately and developing economic forecasts in order to determine the best investment of CSD’s financial resources.
A certified public accountant, Brad comes to CSD with nearly 10 years of experience leading accounting and finance teams. He has advised and maintained client relationships in a variety of industries, including nonprofit, government, healthcare and technology—both nationally and abroad. Most recently, he was employed as an audit manager at KPMG LLP. In this capacity, he was responsible for managing a team of audit professionals, along with the daily management of audit engagements, budgeting and working with other cross departmental teams within tax, advisory and technology groups. Prior to his role as audit manager, he was an audit senior associate at a KPMG branch in the United Kingdom, leading audit teams for grants and higher education funding.
Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in professional accounting from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a walk-on Longhorns football player. He currently serves as a board member and treasurer for the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation.
Bruce Hodek is retired from a 37-year career in public service. He served as regional manager for the metro office, assistant director and—for the past 18 years—division director in the Minnesota Department of Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD). Bruce’s accomplishments are many. He led the development of many new services for people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing including the implementation of the Mental Health Program offered in the DHHSD regional offices. Bruce was also involved in the development of a consumer-directed services model for individuals who are deafblind, the design of the American Sign Language mentor program for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, and ongoing redesign of sign language interpreter referral services to focus on gaps in the marketplace. Additional projects included restructuring of community-based mental health services for adults who are deaf and use sign language, development of mental health services specifically for children who have hearing loss, and implementation of TV news captioning in smaller Minnesota communities. During the recent years of significant budget reductions, Bruce led the reorganization of DHHS regional offices to maintain the infrastructure needed to support the most vulnerable Minnesotans with hearing loss.
Lamont Jefferson is an accomplished trial lawyer who has been named among the top lawyers in America. He has been go-to counsel on some of the most important cases in San Antonio and South Texas, including litigation over the multibillion dollar expansion of the South Texas Nuclear Project, litigation over the $26 billion Clear Channel merger and the recent much publicized litigation involving the Church of Scientology.
Lamont is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an honorary trial lawyer organization whose membership is limited to no more than one percent of the lawyers in any state. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and most recently served as president of the San Antonio Chapter. Lamont regularly speaks on topics of interest to lawyers and judges—from trial strategy and tactics to rules of civil procedure to professionalism.
Lamont is active in the San Antonio community and currently serves as vice president of the board of directors for the Valero Alamo Bowl. He is on the board of directors of the Down Syndrome Association of South Texas, serves in the Founders Club for the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, and as a board member of the San Antonio Chamber Choir.
Faye Kuo serves two roles: CSD’s corporate secretary and chief legal officer. As an attorney licensed to practice in the state of Texas, she delivers a critical perspective that contributes to executive decision-making.
Faye has served at CSD in numerous capacities prior to her role as CLO, including vice president of legal and program and proposal manager, where she supported and managed a team of eight regional specialists under contract with the Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services in Texas. She oversaw the development and applications of numerous proposals totaling several millions of dollars in value.
Before joining CSD, Faye served as an attorney for Advocacy, Incorporated in their legal services unit. She provided advocacy, litigation, and information services for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Texas concerning their rights to be free from discrimination because of their hearing loss.
Faye has been with CSD since 2010 and actively participates in numerous roles in the community, including as a member of the FCC’s Diversity Advisory Committee, a past commissioner for the American Bar Association Disability Rights Commission, past member of the Texas Bar Disability Issues Committee and a current commissioner for the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.
Faye earned her J.D. from the John Marshall Law School in 2005 and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2001. When she isn’t practicing law, she enjoys walking her dog, Trouble, around Austin.
Danny Lacey is a partner and advisor for Kramer Wealth Managers, where he focuses on developing the vision for clients and leads Kramer’s advisory team for the western states. He serves pre-retirees and retirees, corporate executives, business owners and not-for-profit organizations, who value Danny’s easy style, positive energy and unique approach. Danny helps to challenge assumptions and engage clients to dream and set goals, then he develops a solid plan to support their vision of the future.
Danny graduated with honors in the College of Social Studies from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and earned a master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Gallaudet University. He is an active leader in the deaf community and speaks frequently across the nation, including an invitation to give a TEDxIslay Talk. After being board chair for four years, he currently serves as a board member for the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation (TSDF). He enjoys working with other committee members in planning the TSDF endowment. He also previously served as a member for the advancement committee at St. Gabriel’s Catholic School. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Debbie, and two children.
Albert Lin is a Partner in Husch Blackwell, LLP’s Austin office and practices with the firm’s Healthcare, Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals Group. Albert has a broad tax and transactional practice within the healthcare industry with an emphasis on nonprofit, tax-exempt organizational and operational matters. A sought-after speaker and author on these topics, he has published many recent articles in legal periodicals, covering critical issues facing non-profit, tax-exempt organizations. A certified public accountant as well as an attorney, Albert received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Austin, his J.D. from Southern Methodist University and an LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University.
Albert’s interest in communication issues for the deaf and hard of hearing arise from his own severely profound hearing loss resulting from spinal meningitis at an early age. He currently serves as a director of the Any Baby Can Child and Family Resource Center of Austin, Texas, which has programs to provide assistive listening devices to children in the Central Texas community.
Larry R. Puthoff
Larry R. Puthoff has been a revered educator, administrator, historian, author, mentor, evaluator, consultant, presenter/lecturer, advocate, lobbyist, volunteer … the list is nearly endless. He is a 1964 graduate of the South Dakota School for the Deaf (SDSD) and later made history in Deaf America by becoming one of the first-ever alumnus of a school for the deaf to also become the superintendent of the same school. He has over 35 years of experience in education as a teacher, coach, principal and finally, as the fourteenth superintendent (third deaf superintendent) at SDSD.
After retiring from education in 1995, Larry joined CSD as a vice president for human service programs for the states of South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa. He later assumed full—and sometimes sole—responsibility for several extensive special projects including Celebration 2000, a tri-anniversary event related to SDSD, South Dakota Association of the Deaf (SDAD) and CSD. He authored two deaf history books entitled “The Transcendent Territory” and “Seeing a Need,” and before his second retirement in 2008, he took a lead role in coordinating the nationally funded Deaf Advocacy Training project.
Larry has been active in numerous organizations, such as SDAD, Gallaudet University Alumni Association, SDSD Foundation, South Dakota Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, South Dakota Independent Living Council, South Dakota Board of Vocational Rehabilitation, Augustana College Deaf Education Advisory Board, South Dakota Sign Language Interpreter Evaluation and Certification Board and many, many others. He was also inducted into the South Dakota Deaf and Hard of Hearing Hall of Fame, is currently editor of the SDAD News and continues to advocate for deaf and hard of hearing individuals by advising South Dakota legislators, lawmakers and politicians.
In 2012, Larry was selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Citizen with a Disability Award by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard. Currently, Larry is semi-retired and is working part-time at Augustana College’s American Sign Language Interpreter Training Program.
Mark Seeger was born and raised in Austin, TX as the proud CODA son of two TSD educators, Julius and Ruth Seeger, who graduated from Gallaudet in 1949. Mark graduated from the University of Texas in 1984 and started his advocacy career in the field of deafness at the Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Mark was instrumental in the passage of state legislation in Texas, prior to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, that set the standard for 24/7 relay services nationwide.
Mark continued his career at Sprint as an Account Manager supporting the relationship with the Public Utility Commission of Texas before advancing into marketing management. By 1996, he was responsible for maintaining contract relationships with over 36 state public utility commissions.
In 2002, Mark joined the CSD team as a Government Affairs Officer working with the FCC to help shape the video relay service (VRS) regulations that established reimbursement rates and policies for early providers of the service. At CSD, Mark also managed human service programs, interpreter operations and video relay operations.
In early 2012, Mark returned to Sprint to finish his relay career, primarily managing nationwide marketing for the captioned telephone service, known as CapTel.
Mark retired from Sprint in late 2015 and is now an officer of SeeHarp, Inc., which allows him to do freelance ASL interpreting work in medical and court settings when he is in Austin, as well as the flexibility to travel extensively with his husband, Jeff Harper, who recently retired as an Electrical Engineer from IBM.
Marilyn Jean Smith
Marilyn Jean Smith founded the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) in Seattle and directed the organization from 1986-2011. She is considered the mother of the anti-violence movement in Deaf America, and received her B.A. and M.A. from Gallaudet University.
Her work at ADWAS brought many awards, including one from President Clinton, Gallaudet University, the National Association of the Deaf, Deaf Women United and the Phi Kappa Zeta sorority. Other recognitions include the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World award, The Sunshine Lady award, the National Network to End Domestic Violence award, Bank of America Hero award, the Deaf Hope Trailblazer award, among others. She received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Gallaudet University in 2004.
Marilyn was Distinguished Alumnus Fellow at Gallaudet University in 2012 and is currently Principal of The Leading Edge, LLC, and hosts workshops on domestic violence, sexual assault, leadership, board development, fund development, grant writing, personal ethics, organizational development, nonprofit management, and is a motivational keynote speaker. She works throughout the United States and Canada.
Chief Executive Officer
Christopher Soukup is the current Chief Executive Officer of Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD). CSD operates in more than 30 locations around the USA and abroad with an annual budget of nearly $40MM (US). Since graduating from Gallaudet University in 2001, Chris has served in progressively responsible roles culminating with his appointment by the board to serve as CEO in 2014.
Over the past two decades, Chris has traveled extensively as a spokesperson for CSD and he has been a part of several prominent boards and committees including the Federal Communication Communication’s (FCC) Consumer Advisory Committee. Chris succeeds his father Benjamin Soukup, founder of CSD, who retired this past year. Chris resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and son who attends kindergarten at the Texas School for the Deaf.