On October 15, CCIT senior Network Operations Center technician Billy Irwin joined leaders of South Carolina’s blind community at the South Carolina State House to celebrate Governor Henry McMaster’s proclamation honoring White Cane Day.
White Cane Day celebrates the achievements of Americans who are visually impaired and recognizes the white cane as a symbol of independence. Governor McMaster read a state proclamation in honor of White Cane Day, urging all South Carolinians to “renew their dedication to eliminating barriers for persons who are blind and visually impaired and to recognize their value as individuals, employees, and productive members of our communities.”
“It is an honor to be recognized by our state’s governor for our accomplishments,” said Irwin. “White Cane Day gives true perspective on the sacrifices that people with visual impairments make in order to be accepted as capable and independent members of society. Clemson has ensured that I am a welcome and productive member of an outstanding workforce.”
Irwin, who is visually impaired, joined the Network Operations Center (NOC) in June 2020 as part of the team that monitors Clemson’s network and computing systems 24 hours a day. Irwin boasts nearly twenty years of professional experience in various IT roles and although he specializes in network infrastructure, Irwin also has experience in teaching access technology to visually impaired adults at the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina.
Steve Fullerton, manager of the NOC, joined Irwin for the celebration. Steve says that Irwin is an excellent addition to the NOC, adding, “Our hiring process in the NOC looks at three criteria: skill set, desire to learn and how well they would fit in with the team. Billy strongly met all three of these qualifications. Getting a person that could assist with ADA validation of software accessibility was a bonus. We enjoy having Verner, his guide dog, around too.”
“We are thrilled to have Billy join CCIT and are proud of his involvement with the blind community of South Carolina,” said Russ Kaurloto, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer. “Providing an inclusive and accessible technology environment continues to be one of our organization’s priorities, and Billy’s work to promote its importance throughout the University and state is commendable.”
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