BIT Team

Staff

Mike Hess | Founder and Executive Director

Mike Hess is our Founder and Executive Director. He brings more than two decades of blindness experience, leadership, and thoughtfulness to the mission. As the token blind guy in private Fortune 500 companies, Mike experienced just what it takes to build organizations through people, processes, and tools. Mike managed 7- and 8-figure projects throughout his career, and states it is because of his blindness, not despite his blindness, that he became a 6-figure engineer. Even though Mike had great success in his corporate career, he always had the notion of leaving his thumbprint on humanity. Thus, he left corporate America to begin the mission at Blind Institute of Technology. After 4 years of challenges and successes, he has created partnerships with Davita, Uber, OppenheimerFunds and many other organizations to meet the goals of BIT. Along the way, because of key partnerships and wins, the Denver Post, Denver Business Journal, and CBS News 4, have all done significant stories on Blind Institute of Technology.

Natalie Hess | Chief Connections Officer

Natalie Suzanne Hess has spent her life giving back. She went to school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. She has spent multiple years giving back to the elderly and volunteering at school for all three of her children. Support for the Blind Institute of Technology comes naturally to her, as she is passionate about helping the blind and visually impaired community. As Chief Connections Officer, she maintains relationships on both client and candidate sides of the organization.

Ethan Twisdale | Chief Accessibility Officer and Director of the BIT Academy

Ethan Twisdale is BIT’s Chief Accessibility Officer, and the Director of the BIT Academy. He has an extensive background in education and technology, including software development, data analysis, public education, and private instructional workshops. He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Northern Colorado, and a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. He is also a qualified Google Cloud Platform Developer, and a certified Salesforce Administrator. He has helped shape and design mathematics courses at the university level, as well as client-facing instructional technology workshops and certification courses for private industry. Ethan brings his knowledge and experiences to BIT and to the Academy, spearheading our efforts to grow BIT into a world-class resource for all things accessibility.

Cala Estes | Candidate and General Operations Support

Cala Estes will primarily help out with candidate recruitment, onboarding, and volunteer management!  She brings three years of federal human resources experience to BIT along with her dedication to customer service. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Cala also brings a strong knowledge of assistive technology training and accessibility guidelines to the table. As a screen reader user, she has first-hand experience of problem-solving accessibility challenges in the workplace.

Scott Ferguson | (Volunteer) Chief Human Resources Officer

Scott is the Managing Director of Workforce Evolved (A workforce assessment and optimization consulting firm) and brings over 20 years of Human Resources and Workforce Development leadership in both the public and private sector.

Scott has held a variety of Human Resource leadership positions covering all facets of the employee lifecycle. These include creating and overseeing the operations of a corporate university as well as leading the HR function for a national, post-secondary educational institution. Scott also has an extensive consulting background on HR and Workforce issues with a wide variety of clients across multiple industries to include: AT&T, Tempur-Pedic, Fountain Tires, Boston Market, Ducks Unlimited (Canada), Kodak Alaris, Mother Parker’s Tea & Coffee, AMEC, Sealy, US Ecology, Einstein Brothers, Canadian Red Cross, and Success Academies.

Scott has a BS in Workforce Education and Development from Southern Illinois University and a MS in Telecommunications from University of Denver.

Board of Directors

Jim Kemp, Board Chair | President, Annum LLC

Scott Burt, Treasurer | President, Integro

Mark Vivien, Secretary | Account Executive, Softchoice

Brad Weydert | President, Statera

Diana Ferguson | VP, Talent Acquisition, OppenheimerFunds

Scott Watson | General Counsel & SVP Legal and Human Resources, Quiznos

Jim Farnsworth | EVP & GM, Sykes Enterprises

Dr. Crystal Kasper | Low Vision Optometrist, Politzer & Kasper OD’s, PC

Zachary Meade | Franchise Development Consultant, RE/MAX LLC

Volunteers

Michael Kemp | Principal Consultant

Don Dogget | Project Manager

Anant Mistry | Principal Consultant

Michael Casey | Project Manager

Kyle Kontour | Digital Outreach Consultant

about us footer

The Blind Institute of Technology™ (BIT) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing workforce development and inclusive employment solutions that prepare people with disabilities, and the employers who hire them, for success in the workplace.

Led by Executive Director Mike Hess, BIT aims to help solve the unemployment and diversity and inclusion epidemic among people with disabilities by reducing barriers to employment through education, preparation, employment placement and accessible technology initiatives. Our vision is a world in which people with disabilities have the same employment opportunities as their peers.

PROGRAMS