Office of the Governor Rick Perry

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APA LogoAPA/GCPD Accessibility Awards

Since 2010, the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) has worked with the Accessibility Professionals Association (APA), formerly known as the Texas Registered Accessibility Specialists Association (TRASA), to recognize businesses and organizations that go significantly above and beyond the legal requirements of both physical and service accessibility for people with disabilities.

Nominations can be submitted by accessibility specialists, building owners or managers, or by appreciative public citizens. Site visits are made by APA professionals to inspect physical accessibility and by professionals familiar with disability issues to inspect for service accessibility (friendliness of staff, easily accessible accommodations, innovations such as Braille menus, etc). Suggestions for innovative accommodations and service accessibility are available in a Word and PDF format at the link below to the document Above and Beyond: Service Accessibility.

Nominations for the APA/GCPD Accessibility Award are due September 30, using the official Submission Guidelines and Nomination Form below.

Submission Guidelines (PDF)

Submission Guidelines (Word)

Nomination Form (PDF)

Nomination Form (Word)

Each year, the winners are recognized as part of APA's annual conference in January in Austin. For more information on the APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards ceremony, contact our office at or 512-463-5739, or contact APA at or 512-415-5938.

Above and Beyond: Service Accessibility

Suggestions for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for ALL people to help make your business or service stand out:

Above and Beyond: Service Accessibility (Word)

Above and Beyond: Service Accessibility (PDF)

You can read more about the APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards in the awards program brochure:

Download and print an APA/GCPD Awards brochure in PDF format

Download and Print APA/GCPD Awards brochure information in Word format

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2013 APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards: Children's Medical Center of Dallas in Dallas, Irving Convention Center in Irving, and Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas

The Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) in partnership with the Accessibility Specialists Association (APA) has announced the winners of the annual Accessibility Awards. The awards recognize businesses and organizations that have gone Above and Beyond the legal requirements to provide both physical and service accessibility to people with disabilities. Nominations for the Awards were submitted by individuals and organizations from communities throughout the state. Site visits and interviews were conducted by Registered Accessibility Specialists who are members of the Accessibility Professionals Association (APA), and by local community contacts familiar with disability service issues. Winners of the 2013 Accessibility Awards will be honored at a ceremony in conjunction with the APA Annual Conference and Training on Thursday, January 30, at 11:30 a.m. at the Austin Marriott Hotel North in Round Rock.

For more information on the awards and the event, contact Jo Virgil, Community Outreach and Information Coordinator for the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities at or 512-463-5740, or contact Fred Cawyer of APA, at or 972-285-2445.

2013 Accessibility Award Winners

Children's Medical Center of Dallas (Dallas)
1935 Medical District Drive
Owner: Children's Medical Center; Thor Reffner, Senior Project Manager
Design Professional: WHR Architects, Inc, Dallas - Mark Vaughan, primary contact
Construction Team: Beck Construction, Dallas

Recent renovations of the Children's Medical Center were aligned to tie in with the 100th Anniversary of the facility, which began as an open-air tent hospital dedicated to the care of babies from impoverished families. Today the facility operates as a private, not-for-profit entity and enjoys the reputation as one of the finest pediatric facilities in the U.S. The campus is dedicated to children with medical needs and their families, and renovations have included a strong emphasis on physical and service accessibility. Obstacle-free accessible routes are provided in the building and the parking lot, and in the routes between the two. The facility also offers 24/7 valet parking for patients or visitors with mobility impairments. The Ryan Seacrest Studio allows critical care patients access to view special events within their rooms. A large interactive screen tells the history of the facility audibly and visually upon touch.


Irving Convention Center (Irving)
500 West Las Colinas Blvd
Owner: City of Irving; Maura Gast, Executive Director, Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Tom Meehan, General Manager, Irving Convention Center
Design Professional: RMJM Hillier, Princeton, NJ - Barbara Hillier, primary contact
Construction Team: Austin Commercial

Because the Irving Convention Center is by its nature a venue always open to the public, the design and construction teams took care to make sure all aspects of the building and parking are fully accessible, even beyond the legal requirements. The staff continues to be open to improvements, incorporating what they call a "mile in their shoes" approach to innovative accessibility implementation, surveying the building regularly to identify any spots where traction for wheelchairs, crutches or other mobility needs might be a concern, where audible or tactile directions would be useful, and providing smooth physical access and navigation to all visitors. The Human Resources staff use their quarterly meetings to include service accessibility training, such as the use of People First language and disability etiquette, often incorporating role playing to increase awareness.


Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas)
2201 North Field Street
Owner: Perot Museum of Nature and Science; Dan Kohl, Vice President of Creativity and Innovation
Design Professional: Morphosis, Culver City, CA - Brandon Welling, primary contact
Construction Team: Balfour Beatty, Dallas

Designed to engage a broad audience and inspire wonder and curiosity, the Perot Museum strives to broaden individuals' and society's understanding of nature and science through an immersive and interactive environment, accessible and engaging to all visitors. The museum is designed to give visitors a birds-eye view of downtown Dallas, as well as an interactive experience with the exhibits, symbolically tying together all aspects of inclusion. Ramps throughout the museum are designed with a gentle slope, fitting in with the overall experience of the visitor. Elevators and escalators exceed legal requirements in size, and the elevators include audio information for ease of navigation. Most exhibits include tactile or audio experience, enhancing the significance of the exhibit as well as making the display accessible to visitors with hearing or visual disabilities. The facility also offers special hours of operation when the museum is not open to the public to allow for tours by groups of people with certain disabilities, such as autism.

Past Winners

Visit the APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards Winners Page for information on previous winners.