Board Misc

  • Portrait of Maria Wilson

    Maria Wilson

    - by

    I work with CSD because I am able to have a direct, positive impact on our future by creating more opportunities, resources, and accessibility for the Deaf community.

    I am primarily responsible for researching legal issues and policy, drafting and analysis of contracts, and supporting CSD’s business units. I recently served three years on the State Bar of Texas Disability Issues Committee, where I focused on promoting the Communication Access Fund, which reimburses Texas attorneys for the cost of auxiliary aids and services (such as interpreters or CART) when meeting with clients who are deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing. I hold a bachelor’s degree with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin and a juris doctorate from the University of Houston Law Center.

  • Benjamin J. Soukup

    Benjamin J. Soukup

    - by Samuel Sandoval

    Benjamin J. Soukup is the founder and CEO Emeritus of CSD. 

    Ben is widely acclaimed for having spent nearly 40 years as a human rights advocate for deaf and hard of hearing people. He has built a sterling reputation as an entrepreneur, humanitarian, lobbyist/political activist, educator, inspirational role model and leader in the area of disabilities. He was one of the original authors of the first Deaf Child Bill of Rights legislation. He was one of the first to lobby for enforcement provisions regarding interpreter certification. In 1976, he was one of the first in the nation to establish the provision of telephone interpreting—the predecessor to modern telecommunications relay services. In 2000, he led CSD as one of the very first to offer video relay services commercially—what would eventually become a billion-dollar industry. His direct influence on human and social services, telecommunications and educational programs can be evidenced not only in the U.S. but in other parts of the world, affecting millions of people with hearing loss worldwide. 

    As former president of the National Association of the Deaf and as a former delegate to the World Federation of the Deaf, Ben has met with world leaders, presidents and members of Congress in an effort to improve public accessibility and increase public awareness of issues affecting deaf and hard of hearing individuals worldwide. In recognition of his lifetime achievements, he was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame and was also awarded an honorary juris doctorate degree by Gallaudet University. In addition to numerous other awards and accolades over the years, Ben and CSD garnered three prestigious awards from the Sioux Falls Business Journal and the Argus Leader in 2005: “Best of Sioux Falls Businesses,” “Best Executive of the Year” and “Best Business” in the general category. 

    Ben has served on numerous local and national boards over the years and currently serves as the chairman of the board of trustees at Gallaudet University. 

  • Headshot of Lamont Jefferson

    Lamont Jefferson

    - by sstuart

    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 on the board of directors for the Valero Alamo Bowl. He is also on the board of directors of the Down Syndrome Association of South Texas, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, and Texas Public Radio, the local NPR station. 

  • Chris Soukup

    Chris Soukup

    - by

    Chris Soukup is Chief Executive Officer of CSD. A 2001 graduate of Gallaudet University, Chris has held diverse and progressively responsible positions thoughout the organization. He began his journey with CSD working in a community-based role in the mid-1990’s. Since 2005, he has been a member of CSD’s executive leadership team, and in 2014, he was appointed by the CSD Board of Directors to lead and support this growing company as Chief Executive Officer.   
    Serving as a senior company spokesperson, he has represented CSD at a plethora of events throughout North America including domestic and international conferences relating to the Deaf, community-based public forums, educational panels and instructional workshops, and other public engagements.   
    Over the past several years he has served on a number of prominent committees and advisory boards that support issues interfacing with the Deaf community including the Federal Communication Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee and the USBLN Disability Equality Index Advisory Committee.

  • Brad Hermes

    Brad Hermes

    - by

    Brad Hermes serves as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer and the Corporate Treasurer.  He 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.