Verizon's James Barry Named Employee of the Year

NEW YORK - James M. Barry, a Verizon Communications employee and an advocate for people with disabilities, has been named employee of the year by CAREERS & the DisABLED magazine.

Barry was selected for his commitment to the disabled community and his efforts to raise awareness of the physically challenged and their abilities in the workplace, according to the publication.

One of 10 honorees chosen from companies around the country, Barry will be honored at the publication's ninth annual awards reception April 19 at the Marriott Hotel in Uniondale, N.Y.

''Jim is a tireless advocate for an important segment of our community. This is a well deserved honor,'' said Paul Crotty, Verizon group president for New York and Connecticut. ''Verizon recognizes that a diverse workforce allows us to better understand and meet the needs of our customers, and Jim helps us on both counts. He identifies technologies and resources that expand employment opportunities at Verizon for people with disabilities as well as the quality of life of our customers. His expertise and guidance have been invaluable.''

Barry, who has multiple sclerosis, has worked for Verizon more than 16 years. As advocate and a member of Verizon's universal design committee, Barry examines company products and services to determine how they can assist customers who have functional limitations.

He was instrumental in making Verizon aware of the potential of voice recognition technology, which resulted in products like Verizon Voice Dialingsm. With Voice Dialing, customers can make calls by simply speaking the name, in any language, of the person or the place they are trying to reach. The system recognizes an individual's voice pattern, then dials the telephone number.

Barry also lectures to community organizations, corporations, special interest groups and universities on advanced technologies and what they can do for people with disabilities.

Barry serves on the boards of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, southern New York chapter; and Technical Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities, a federally funded organization located in Albany, N.Y. He is a member of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, formerly the President's Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities. He also hosts ''Jim Barry Speaking Special Issues,'' a biweekly cable television program in Bronx, N.Y. which examines issues regarding technology and people with disabilities.

Barry received his undergraduate degree at St. Francis College in Maine, now the University of New England, and his MBA from St. Johns University in New York. He is currently completing a Master of Science degree in telecommunications at Pace University in New York. Barry, his wife Patricia and their son Brian live in Bronxville, N.Y.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with nearly 109 million access line equivalents and more than 27.5 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $63 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit mwww.verizon.com.