Keynote Speakers

 kestelootJames Kesteloot, President Emeritus of Chicago Lighthouse, is legally blind and is a national champion for the employment of people who are blind. Mr. Kesteloot worked with federal lawmakers, including then US Senator Barack Obama and Congressman Danny Davis, to advocate for individuals who are visually impaired in their search for jobs.
Since the founding of NAPVI in 1980, he has always voiced his opinion of the importance of supporting families. Mr. Kesteloot partnered with NAPVI in its advocacy efforts in Washington, DC, to help strengthen and protect special education laws for children with disabilities and supported the efforts of the Illinois Affiliate of NAPVI. The recipient of numerous honors, he received his BS from Loyola University Chicago and a graduate degree from DePaul University.

lepofskyDavid Lepofsky is a lawyer and advocate for new laws to protect the rights of persons with disabilities in Canada.”
He has practiced law in Toronto since 1981, with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, in the areas of constitutional, civil, administrative and most recently, criminal law. In 2004, he was appointed to the position of General Counsel. He received his Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School and a Masters of Law from Harvard Law School.
Mr. Lepofsky is the  author or co-author of 30 law journal articles or book chapters, as well as a book, on topics including constitutional, criminal and administrative law, human rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities. He has lectured across Canada, in the US, Israel, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Belgium.

gammDavid Gamm, MD, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. He is also the Emmett A. Humble Distinguished Director of the McPherson Eye Research Institute and the Sandra Lemke Trout Chair in Eye Research.
Dr. Gamm’s clinical practice is in pedia-tric ophthalmology and his research focuses on human retinal development and disease. He is a leading authority on stem cell research in ophthalmology.

fishmanGerald Fishman, MD, is an ophthalmologist and Director of The Pangere Center for Hereditary Retinal Diseases at The Chicago Lighthouse. He is also Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois Department of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Fishman is a researcher and academic specializing in inherited retinal diseases including early onset macular degeneration, various night blinding diseases, and causes of unexplained visual loss. Dr. Fishman has provided diagnosis for and helped thousands of people better understand their unique conditions. He also provides electrophysiological, psychophysical and retinal image testing, genetic counseling, visual prognosis, vision testing for evaluations and can recommend courses of action to optimize remaining vision. In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Fishman pursues clinical research on various inherited retinal diseases.
 
simpsonMatt Simpson is Membership and Outreach Coordinator for the US Association of Blind Athletes (USABA). He was diagnosed with Leber congenital amaurosis at an early age and discovered goal ball when he was 10 years old at a USABA Sports Education Camp. A 2012 graduate of Washington and Lee University,  Mr. Simpson is a member of the USA Men’s National Goal Ball Team. He has won two USABA National Championships as well as an IBSA World Youth Championship. Mr. Simpson and Team USA took the Bronze at the IBSA Goal Ball World Championships in July 2014, and qualified the team for the 2016 Rio Paralympics games. He plans to represent the USA at the Rio Paralympics and hopes to pursue a law degree.

oconnorKevin E. O’Connor, CSP, is a former president of NAPVI and the parent of a young adult who is visually impaired. He has presented around the country for the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), The Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB), and The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). Mr. O’Connor is a professional speaker, author, and university teacher. He is one of 550 people in the world to hold the Certified Speaking Professional designation (CSP). He holds three masters degrees  and he has taught every grade level from third through undergraduate, graduate and professional level.