Austin – home of the 165-year-old Texas School for the Deaf – is now the headquarters of a company that provides technology and services for the deaf and hard of hearing.
ZP Better Together, a provider of videophone technology and interpreting services to the deaf and hard of hearing, has moved its headquarters from suburban Sacramento, California to the Paloma Ridge office park in northwest Austin. Paloma Ridge is located on FM 620 near West Parmer Lane. The move announced on January 28th will bring around 150 ZP employees to Austin, where the company already had a branch.
“Austin is one of the deafest cities in our country and a growing center of technology and business,” said Sherri Turpin, CEO of ZP, in a press release. “We cannot imagine a better home for our new headquarters and we are very excited to be strengthening our presence in Texas. This move will allow ZP to unlock a dynamic workforce, attract more deaf talent, accelerate our technological innovations, and support an incredible community of people who share our passion and commitment to access to language and communication. “
ZP employs a nationwide workforce of sign language interpreters, and deaf and hard of hearing people make up nearly three-quarters of ZP’s non-interpreting staff. Last year the company achieved a perfect score of 100 in the Disability Equality Index of the country’s best employers for the “inclusion of disabilities”.
The company’s new Austin dig site is based on a deaf-friendly design and architecture philosophy known as DeafSpace. The design elements of DeafSpace comprise five components of the deaf experience in the built environment: space and proximity, sensory range, mobility and proximity, light and color as well as acoustics.
“DeafSpace and other human-centered design principles are critical to creating spaces that are not only intuitive and comprehensive for the deaf, but also benefit everyone,” said Roberta Cordano, president of Gallaudet University, which trains and maintains the brand for deaf and hard of hearing students DeafSpace. “DeafSpace principles should take precedence in construction to make our built environment accessible to all.”