University of Maryland


Frank Hecker is 2009 Catalyst Award Winner

February 17th, 2009

The Trace Center presented the 2009 Harry J. Murphy Catalyst Award to Frank Hecker, Director of Grants and Programs for the Mozilla Foundation, a nonprofit organization promoting choice and innovation on the Internet. The award was presented in Los Angeles on March 17, 2009, at the opening session of the annual CSUN Conference on Technology and Persons With Disabilities.

Frank Hecker was chosen for this year’s award because of the pivotal role he has played in enabling people from across industry, academia, and the public sector to focus on open source accessibility. He has brought people together and given young people support and opportunities to both learn and contribute to accessibility. Although most people outside of a close circle may not know his name, many will benefit from the technologies impacted by his efforts, including Web 2.0 accessibility via WAI-ARIA, Dojo and JQuery JavaScript toolkits, testing tools for browser support of accessibility, next-generation captioning and descriptions for upcoming HTML video/audio standards, Accerciser testing tool, Braille support in Orca, NVDA, cross-platform DAISY reader, and internationalization of key software for small language communities.

Frank has had industry-wide impact by funding and supporting open source projects to advance accessibility and drive down future costs to people with disabilities. His efforts have both energized the field and grown the number of people with accessibility skills, from students to private corporate developers.

Read about Frank Hecker’s vision in this area.