Staunton Media Lab Named DBVI Business of the Year

   From left to right: Cindy Roberts, Coordinator of Workforce Services, DBVI; Coley Evans, Audio Director, SML; Tiffany Sweat, Administrative Assistant, DBVI; Steve O'Keefe, Executive Director, SML


Staunton Media Lab Named DBVI Business of the Year

Coley Evans, SML Audio Director, Named Employee of the Year

Statewide Recognition for Employing the Blind and Vision Impaired

For Immediate Release
Monday, October 10, 2016

The Staunton Media Lab, a media arts program for the deaf, blind and uniquely able, was named DBVI Business of the Year at a ceremony in Richmond on October 5th at the Azalea Avenue campus of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI).

The Staunton Media Lab is a for-profit business that trains and employs the blind and vision-impairied as audio editors, and the deaf and hard of hearing as video editors. The Lab was founded by Steve O'Keefe, a technology entrepreneur and former Tulane University professor, who moved to the Shenandoah Valley in 2010 after one too many hurricanes chased him out of New Orleans.

O'Keefe accepted the DBVI award and thanked the dignitaries present, including Howard Green, Deputy Director of Professional Services for the National Organization on Disability (NOD), Dr. Joseph Ashley from Virginia's Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), and Ray Hopkins, Commissioner of DBVI.

"We consider this award a vote for our program," O'Keefe said, "rather than our past accomplishments." The Staunton Media Lab has existed for less than a year, but the decade-long struggle to build the program has spanned three different states. "Only the Commonwealth of Virginia has stepped forward with the support needed to make this program a success," O'Keefe said.

Coley Evans, SML Audio Director, Named Employee of the Year

Coley Evans, Audio Director of the Staunton Media Lab, accepted the award for DBVI Employee of the Year. The 27-year-old Staunton resident was born blind and graduated from the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton. DBVI provided funds for Evans' on-the-job training at the Staunton Media Lab and also provided specialized equipment needed to accomplish his work, including a Braille embosser, a document scanner and a Braille note-taking device.

Evans was recognized in particular for a series of assistive technology tutorials produced by the Staunton Media Lab and available free of charge on SoundCloud. The tutorials include a series on Chromebook Accessibility that guides blind and low-vision users through the assistive technology settings on these inexpensive computers. The tutorials have been shared among teachers of the blind throughout the U.S.

In August, the Staunton Media Lab moved into a studio on the campus of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind where they offer classes for adults, internships and employment opportunities in audio editing and video editing. The Lab has produced hundreds of pieces of content for clients, including editing the podcasts of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton. The Lab produces a free weekly video stream every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET on YouTube, where the team unboxes and tests all kinds of audio, video, computer, and assistive technology gear. A clip from the weekly show was shown at the DBVI awards ceremony.

How to Connect With the Staunton Media Lab

For more information about video and audio editing services and classes offered by the Staunton Media Lab, send email to , connect with us on Twitter, or visit the Staunton Media Lab on the Web, YouTube, SoundCloud, or Amazon.


# Katie McCaskey 2016-10-12 17:24
Congratulations! Well deserved.
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