People in the News: Karen Braitmayer

In March, Seattle architect Karen Braitmayer was elected chair of the U.S. Access Board, the government board that ensures accessibility in all federally funded facilities. Braitmayer, who has osteogenesis imperfecta, says she’s very honored to serve as chair and to work with a talented and passionate group of people. Her expertise is in the built environment, but the board deals with much more than architectural accessibility.

Braitmayer says the growth of mobile devices and touch technology has been especially challenging. “Our biggest challenge is to help provide information to the developers on how to ensure that these new inventions continue to be accessible and usable, she says, and adds that working on updating or creating new regulations requires great patience. “Many of us from the private sector struggle with the time it takes to go through all of the necessary steps to make sure the standards are fully vetted,” she says. Due to the board’s groundbreaking work, she says she understands the need for careful deliberation.

Serving on the board may be an intense commitment but improving access is important to Braitmayer. “I hope it’s what allows the diversity of our community to get out, be involved, and be active in their communities.”

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