Careers & the disAbled Magazine Names Verizon's Thomas Boudrow Employee of the Year

NEW YORK - Verizon's Thomas Boudrow, a tireless advocate for people with disabilities, particularly those who are deaf or hard of hearing, has been named an employee of the year by Careers & the disAbled magazine.

An outreach manager at the Verizon Center for Customers with Disabilities, in Marlboro, Mass.,  Boudrow was selected for his outstanding accomplishments, including his advocacy efforts to identify and develop the talents of people with disabilities, and for his outreach within the community.

"Tom has long been an advocate for the disabled community, but what makes him stand out is how he uses Verizon's technology to enable customers while creating employment opportunities," said Pedro Correa, vice president of multilingual consumer and business sales. "We're honored to have Tom on our team and fortunate to have his support in improving the quality of life for so many of our customers."

Boudrow played a key role in establishing a special Verizon customer service for deaf or hard-of-hearing customers who use American Sign Language (ASL), enabling them to communicate directly - via a videophone and a high-speed Internet connection -- with Verizon customer service representatives who are proficient in ASL. The service, which began in 2007, has proved to be popular with customers for whom ASL is their primary language.

Prior to joining Verizon in 2004, Boudrow served as executive director of the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf. He serves on the board of a Verizon employee resource group, Disabilities Issues Awareness Leaders (DIAL), which influences product design, work environment, employment opportunities and other issues at Verizon. Boudrow also serves as chairman of the board for the New England Homes for the Deaf, and is a member of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Advisory Committee.

Boudrow, a resident of Peabody, Mass., graduated with honors from Northern Essex Community College. He is one of 10 individuals who will be honored as employees of the year at the Careers & the disAbled magazine's 17th annual awards dinner on April 2 at the Boston Marriott.

Accessibility and Universal Design at Verizon

To make Verizon's technology accessible to the community of people with physical and cognitive limitations, the company became the first telecommunications company to adopt a set of Universal Design Principles nearly 20 years ago. They are now an integral part of the product design process throughout Verizon.

Examples include:

  • Products with Braille.

  • Phones with large buttons and buttons with photos to help those with cognitive difficulties.

  • Phones operated by remote control for people with physical disabilities.

  • Nationwide messaging and calling plans for seniors and hard-of-hearing customers.

  • Videos in American Sign Language to promote wireless devices and calling plans.

  • Expanded videophone services to reach more hard-of-hearing customers in the New England, New York and Potomac regions.

  • Next Generation Senior Phone (Knack).

People with disabilities are the largest minority in America. Along with disability, age is becoming an increasingly important factor in the adoption and accessibility of technology. As a result, Verizon is committed to making technology more accessible.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 80 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 224,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.