TARGET Center 20th Anniversary Celebration Opening Ceremony: D'Ann Clayton

Uploaded by usda on 15.10.2012

Thank you Dr. Decker.
And now I would like to share with you a few words
and a few thoughts about Target Center's history.
To do this I'd like to share a story, a story
about baseball and having a vision.
Now I don't know too much about baseball.
When I was younger, I remember my grandmother
had this very big black recliner chair and she got
very excited about the Mets, New York, okay?
And Grandma used to prepare a meal and I would climb
up in the recliner with Grandma and I would watch
this game.
And I never really learned anything about baseball.
It was more about spending time with Grandma.
But during this time, I shared with her the joy
and somewhat like I share with you all the joy
regarding the Nationals winning games and
preparing for the playoffs.
I don't have much more to share except for "whoo hoo".
But I am a movie fan and I recall Kevin Costner and
James Earl Jones in the movie "Field of Dreams".
And do you remember when Kevin Costner had the
vision in the movie "If you build it, they will come."
Nod your head if you remember..."
If you build it, they will come." Very good.
Well I am fortunate to have had predecessors in my
role at the Target Center as Director who had such a
Like in the field of dreams, these individuals
and their USDA leadership built the Target Center
because we would come.
And today we're able to the recognize that vision
in the lives of people who have used the Target Center as
as Dr. Decker has just
explained and discovered accessibility improvement,
career opportunities and importantly a better
ability to help their team meet the department's objectives.
These customer's have included thousands and
thousands of individuals who have visited the Target Center
here in the South Building and most recently they have included
thousands of customers who access our online services.
The first Target visionary...Ophelia Falls.
She was the Founder and the first Target Center Director.
Ophelia understood the need to have a location
where customers could come together who were mostly
employees with disabilities, yes, and the
information technology community.
Ophelia served as the Director of the Target
Center from 1992 to 2001, we are indebted to her for
her vision.
The next visionary, Bruce MacFarlane.
Bruce lead the Target Center from 2001 to 2008.
Bruce augmented the core services for Target with
accessibility, ergonomics and education but with two
new service areas, emergency preparedness and
Section 508 support.
By integrating these critical areas and working
closely with the disability community within USDA,
Target became more aligned with the needs
of employees with disabilities.
We are pleased to have Bruce with us today, Bruce
please stand.
Bruce I thank you for being a visionary.
I thank you for paving the way.
I also thank you for your Federal Service and your
commitment to our common cause and to USDA as a whole.
Our next visionary was in the person of Kevin Curtain.
Kevin had a vision for delivery of service and a new model.
Once Kevin began to place the universal design at the
forefront of Target, Kevin would find himself
wiring the center.
So when I say to you that Kevin carried a toolbox,
I'm quite serious and I'm told he really did.
Kevin led the Target Center staff in the
redesign and the reopening of Target 2.0.
After this great milestone in our history, Kevin
unfortunately carried his tool box to the sky.
Although he left Target, he left us with an amazing
operating model in his legacy.
I am honored to follow Kevin as the Director of the
Target Center, but I am also honored to
introduce to you today, Mrs. Ellen McNamara and
Mr. Michael Curtain please stand, who have
joined us today.
Thank you both for being with us and sharing Kevin
with the Target Center during those very special years.
In 2003, the Interpreting Services Office joined the
Target Center to better serve USDA employees.
Suzie Prior served as the Director of ISO,
Interpreting Services Office, from 2000 to 2009,
and brought forward the availability of open and
effective communication through the Interpreting
Services Office.
Through Suzie's leadership, this office
became a model program for the Federal community.
I'd like introduce you to Suzie, please stand.
Suzie, thank you for also paving the way for the
Target Center at USDA.
I am very grateful for all of you for making this vision
a reality.
So today, today we celebrate our twentieth
birthday and we begin a new chapter today.
We begin the next twenty years.
I would like to define my vision for the next
Today, Target's mission is to provide the Department
of Agriculture with an integrative center for
disability related activities and to support
USDA as a model employer of people with disabilities.
We continue to do this work in partnership with
other great leaders, other great leaders such as
Alison Levy, USDA's Disability Program Manager, Angela
Williams, USDA's Section 508 Coordinator, Carmen
Jones, USDA Special Assistant to the Office of the Secretary.
I would also like to recognize CEAP, the
Department of Defense Computer Electronic
Accommodations Program.
I would like to thank them for their partnership.
Through DOD's CEAP's program that we have actually
filled 1.1 million dollars worth of assistive
technology accommodations since our partnership in 1992.
We have also partnered with CEAP over the years to
host joint training sessions.
And this year we worked collaboratively to
to launch the "Federal Disability Employment
Across America" webinar series.
We did this in collaboration with OPM and
Dinah Cohen, the CEAP Director was unable to be
with us today.
However, I would like to thank her for her support
and I would like thank and introduce to you the CEAP
Deputy Director, Sharon Terrell Lindsey, please
stand, who is with us today.
I would also like to recognize the entire CEAP
team, please stand and wave to the audience.
Thank you and importantly, I'd like to recognize and
thank my management team.
In the person of Mr. Curtis Wilburn, who is the
Director of the Office of Operations and Morris Tate
who is the Director of Business Services, who
spoke earlier today.
I thank them for their support, their leadership
in making our new direction possible for
we are all here because of the support of management.
And to our USDA employees and customers with
disabilities, you are the reason why we serve.
Our customers are the reason why we're here
and our customers are the focus for everything that
we do.
And over the past twenty years, we have served
approximately 45,000 of you, our customers and we
look forward to serving more as we move forward,
And when I speak of serving our customers, I
must of course thank the Target team, they're going
to kill me.
D'Ann Clayton laughs.
That makes, the Target team makes what we do
everyday happen and so I'd like to acknowledge the
presence of Nancy Froman,
Michelle Sherbandi,
and Lynnette Spriggs, in the corner.
That's my staff from the Interpreting Services Office.
I would also like to recognize Paul Lloyd,
Annette Paz,
and Stephanie Bradley, from the Target Center.
I am indebted to all of you for assisting me in my
transition to this role over the past year and
I am also thankful for you caring so much about our
mission and our vision.
Target's vision is to positively impact the
lives of individuals with disabilities who provide
and obtain resources from USDA.
And to do this for our employees and customers
around the world we have work to do.
We have a lot of work to do and we have outlined
our strategies in a draft plan that will be submitted to
management as well as Secretary Vilsack.
This plan will define our path and our way moving
But this work is not work in building a center, it's
not the work of adding new service lines, nor is it
the work of upgrading the Center as service lines
to meet the twenty first century delivery models.
Today, our work focuses on reframing.
Reframing the USDA perspective on disability.
We must transition our community from thinking from
disability as traditional visible disabilities, to
now include non apparent disabilities such as
learning disabilities, Post Traumatic Stress
disorder, workers compensation claimants,
the maturing workforce experiencing range of
motion, hearing and vision loss and the integration
of disabled veterans into the USDA's workforce.
In short, this broader perspective on disability
provides a framework of inclusivity that will
equate to a significant, and I repeat a significant
portion of the USDA workforce and the customer population.
So, to proceed, the Target Center will champion
universal design and planning in all that we do.
This will provide an open baseline for inclusivity.
From there, we will help build tailored support
services for specific populations.
We are a place for coming together to solve challenges.
We are a center of innovation.
We are collaborators that can map out a better
future for a more inclusive, diverse and
accessible environment in the support of USDA's
And USDA's mission is to provide leadership on
food, agriculture, natural resources and related
issues on sound public policy, the best available
science and efficient management.
Established by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862,
our department was first known
as "The People's Department",
because most Americans lived and worked on farms.
But as we gather today in the only cabinet agency
adjacent to the National Mall, we should recognize
the progress that our nation is making to address
inequality and injustice.
And that we are all working together to create
a "People's Department".
One that employs and serves the whole community
including people with disabilities.
I am humbled by this opportunity we have
to work together to make this collective vision
real here at the United States Department of
Agriculture and across the Federal sector.
And I thank each and every one of you for coming here
today to the Department of Agriculture to recognize
the Target Center's progress.
At this time, I invite you to take part in our
technology showcase as well as our breakout
sessions for the training conference and I personally
look forward to meeting each and every
one of you this afternoon.
Thank you so much.