#SoEveryoneCanGame

AbleGamers Team

Group photo of the team at AbleGamers

Peer Counseling and Engineering Research

A headshot of Andy Wu.

Andy Wu

Sr. Director of Peer Counseling

Andy Wu leads the peer counseling strategy for AbleGamers Charity with the aim to connect players with video games. Prior to joining the AbleGamers, he was a professor with experience in program development, research, and community service. Andy holds a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy and a PhD from the University of Kansas.

A head and shoulders photo of Roger Brooks.

Roger Brooks

Director of Peer Counseling, Mental Health

Roger Brooks is a mental health professional and researcher. He has held leadership roles in non-profit and mental health organizations. His primary focus was on innovation and integration in mental health and overseeing clinical and supportive services. Roger received his graduate degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Notre Dame.

A head and shoulders photo of Jessie Hall.

Jessie Hall

Director of Engineering Research

As the Director of Engineering and Lead Peer Counselor, Jessie brings her expertise in leading peer counseling sessions with disabled gamers to her love of building and creating new accessible controllers. Her love for video games and it’s power in creating communities has had a tremendous impact on her life, and continues to empower her proudest work in helping players play games and bring to life new controllers and setups. She has collaborated with over 30 inventors, and owns multiple patents alongside her fellow AbleGamers colleagues. An MMO fan at heart, Jessie has been enjoying New World. Her other favorites also include GTA RP, Dead by Daylight, and Valheim.

Community & Inclusion

A head and shoulders photo of Craig Kaufman.

Craig Kaufman

Director of Community & Inclusion

Craig Kaufman is the Director of Community & Inclusion for the AbleGamers Charity, and a long time advocate for inclusive and accessible gaming experiences. Craig has worked in digital communications for two decades with a focus on community building, charitable giving, and inclusion. Craig resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife, son, and one too many pets.

A head and shoulders photo of Kim RockVam.

Kim RockVam

Director of Impact

Kim joined AbleGamers Charity in 2020 in the role of Fundraising and Digital Marketing. Kim has more than 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector. She has previously held fundraising, marketing and communications and program management roles for both local and national nonprofit organizations. Before coming to AbleGamers , she worked as Creative Director for one of the largest marine and recreational seating manufacturers in the nation while serving as Executive Director for her public school Foundation. Prior to that, she managed corporate, donor and volunteer relations and events for United Way. “My priorities with AbleGamers include diversifying funding opportunities and aligning messaging across the organization”. With her varied professional background and education in Communication Design she specializes in finding creative and donor-centric solutions to support our fundraising efforts. Kim currently serves as Graphic Designer and Marketing Consultant for State Street Theater Co., member of the Energy Awareness Commission and Mom of three beautiful human beings.

A head and shoulders photo of Vinny Santore.

Vinny Santore

Program & Marketing Admin

Vinny Santore is an avid gamer and basketball player. He graduated from Shepherd University with a BA in Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. His work at AbleGamers includes a little bit of everything as he supports all pillars, jumping in wherever needed. He helped create the Digital Outreach Team, acts as the organization’s Technical Writer, assists with Shipping & Receiving, helped create and maintains the onboarding process, and has even helped with Playtesting. Vinny hopes to continue learning and improving his skillset in order to further push accessibility and the Video Game Industry.

A head and shoulders photo of Larry Ruston.

Larry Ruston

Shipping Manager

Disabled Gulf War Vet, Husband, Father of 2, 20+ years Warehouse logistics.

User Research and Professional Development

A head and shoulders photo of Christopher Power.

Christopher Power

Sr. Director of User Research

Dr. Christopher Power is a user researcher who has worked in accessibility and inclusion for 20 years and leads the user research strategy for the AbleGamers Charity and serves as the Executive Director of AbleGamers Canada. He helped invent the APX design pattern language, having trained more than 200 developers in their use. In his day job, he is an Associate Professor at the University of Prince Edward Island on the east coast of Canada.

A head and shoulders photo of Cheryl Mitchell.

Cheryl Mitchell

Director of User Research

Cheryl Mitchell serves as the Director of User Research and Services where she is responsible for managing the User Research team and deploying services targeted to the gaming industry to improve game accessibility. She manages projects aimed at connecting players with disabilities to the game studios, working with game developers to address game design and testing games for accessibility. She has spent over 20 years furthering public policies that improve employment outcomes and promote the socioeconomic empowerment of individuals with disabilities, seniors, and other underserved populations. Prior to AbleGamers, she managed federal contracts and national initiatives sponsored by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Administration on Community Living’s the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research to improve the abilities of people with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community; and to expand society’s capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for people with disabilities. In addition, she worked as an independent consultant designing and implementing community-based programs. Cheryl completed a B.A. in Communication at the University of New Hampshire and has taken graduate coursework in Rehabilitation Counseling. In addition, she serves as a Board Member to The Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE) in Seattle, WA.

A head and shoulders photo of Gregory Haynes.

Gregory Haynes

Senior UX Researcher

Gregory Haynes is a Senior UX Researcher at the AbleGamers Charity. Born and raised in New York City, Greg graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Greg believes in the positive impact that games can have on the well-being of players with disabilities as they form connections and have enriching experiences through gameplay. With over a decade of experience working with people with disabilities, Greg is committed to understanding the many reasons why they seek gameplay experiences, the features and options that they need in order to game, and how all of those facets can foster inclusive design practices within the video game industry. He is one of the key creators of the Accessible Player Experience (APX) Design Patterns developed alongside the AbleGamers User Research team with data collected directly from players with disabilities. Greg has led accessibility talks, workshops, and consultations with several companies in the video game and technology industry including Google, Oculus, Square Enix, Activision Blizzard, and Microsoft, the latter of which involved the development of the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

A head and shoulders photo of Sam Nelson.

Sam Nelson

Senior User Researcher

Sam is an exotic animal enthusiast with a passion for illustration, design, development, and above all UX. Sam is a non-binary representative of the development world, using They/She pronouns interchangeably. They graduated from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a BFA in Illustration and a BA in German. They went on to serve as a full-time AmeriCorps member for a Runaway and Youth services program. During this time, Sam became a certified web developer through an online bootcamp, which kicked off their interest in usability and functionality in tech. Sam has performed research, testing, design, and development on several projects for both client-facing and enterprise applications. They have a fierce passion for accessibility, and is an advocate for accessible software in every industry. Having just finished their Master’s of User Experience Design, Sam is going to continue honing in on accessible software and educating those who create it on how to best do that! Sam has a lot of pets; snakes, lizards, rats, a horse, and a cat. They love animal husbandry and behavior, and you can often find them riding their once-feral mustang (Nero, named after DMC5’s protagonist) or doting on their pet rats!

A head and shoulders photo of Steven Weitz.

Steven Weitz

Director of Professional Development

Steven Weitz is an artist, game designer, educator, and animator, with over 20 years experience in higher education, visual effects, feature animation, game analysis and creation. As the Director of Professional Development at AbleGamers, Steve is continuing his lifelong work to use media arts as a means of societal improvement.

Executive

A head and shoulders photo of Mark Barlet.

Mark Barlet

Executive Director / Founder

Mark founded AbleGamers in 2004 to support his friend who had MS. Himself a service connected disabled veteran, he has dedicated his life to equality for all people with disabilities.

A head and shoulders photo of Steve Spohn.

Steve Spohn

Sir. Director of Development

Steve is the Sr. Director of Development at AbleGamers. Author and gamer, Steve has used his own life story to move game accessibility forward.

A head and shoulders photo of Mark Burgess.

Mark Burgess

Chief Finance Officer

Mark Burgess is the Senior Director of Finance for AbleGamers. He is a Not-for-Profit Section Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a member of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.

AbleGamers Board

A headshot of Mark Barlet.

Mark Barlet

Executive Director / Founder

Mark founded AbleGamers in 2004 to support his friend who had MS. Himself a service connected disabled veteran, he has dedicated his life to equality for all people with disabilities.

A head and shoulders photo of Steve Spohn.

Steve Spohn

Sir. Director of Development

Steve is the Sr. Director of Development at AbleGamers. Author and gamer, Steve has used his own life story to move game accessibility forward.

A head and shoulders photo of Larry Goldberg.

Larry Goldberg

Board Member

Access technologies, R&D, policy development, legislative relations and drafting of Federal legislation, holder of patent for invention in film industry, consultation for major high technology companies, Federal and state agencies, members of Congress and staffs; business development.

A head and shoulders photo of Christopher Power.

Christopher Power

Sr. Director of User Research

Dr. Christopher Power is a user researcher who has worked in accessibility and inclusion for 20 years and leads the user research strategy for the AbleGamers Charity and serves as the Executive Director of AbleGamers Canada. He helped invent the APX design pattern language, having trained more than 200 developers in their use. In his day job, he is an Associate Professor at the University of Prince Edward Island on the east coast of Canada.

A head and shoulders photo of Cheryl Mitchell.

Cheryl Mitchell

Director of User Research

Cheryl Mitchell serves as the Director of User Research and Services where she is responsible for managing the User Research team and deploying services targeted to the gaming industry to improve game accessibility. She manages projects aimed at connecting players with disabilities to the game studios, working with game developers to address game design and testing games for accessibility. She has spent over 20 years furthering public policies that improve employment outcomes and promote the socioeconomic empowerment of individuals with disabilities, seniors, and other underserved populations. Prior to AbleGamers, she managed federal contracts and national initiatives sponsored by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Administration on Community Living’s the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research to improve the abilities of people with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community; and to expand society’s capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for people with disabilities. In addition, she worked as an independent consultant designing and implementing community-based programs. Cheryl completed a B.A. in Communication at the University of New Hampshire and has taken graduate coursework in Rehabilitation Counseling. In addition, she serves as a Board Member to The Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE) in Seattle, WA.