Austin — home to 165-year-old Texas School for the Deaf — is now headquarters for a company that provides technology and services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
ZP Better Together, a provider of videophone technology and interpreter services for the deaf and hard of hearing, has moved its headquarters from a Sacramento, California, suburb to the Paloma Ridge office park in Northwest Austin. Paloma Ridge is on FM 620 near West Parmer Lane. The move, announced January 28, brings about 150 ZP employees to Austin, where the company already operated a branch office.
“Austin is one of our nation’s most deaf-friendly cities and a growing technology and business hub,” Sherri Turpin, CEO of ZP, says in a release. “We can think of no better home for our new headquarters and are very excited to strengthen our presence in Texas. This move will allow ZP to tap into a dynamic workforce, attract more deaf talent, accelerate our technology innovations, and support an incredible community of people who share our passion and commitment to language and communication access.”
ZP employs a nationwide workforce of sign language interpreters, and deaf and hard-of-hearing people make up nearly three-fourths of ZP’s non-interpreter employees. Last year, the company earned a perfect score of 100 on the Disability Equality Index of the country’s best places to work for “disability inclusion.”
The company’s new digs in Austin embrace a deaf-friendly design and architectural philosophy known as DeafSpace. Design elements of DeafSpace encompass five components of the deaf experience in the built environment: space and proximity, sensory reach, mobility and proximity, light and color, and acoustics.
“DeafSpace and other human-centric design principles are crucial to designing spaces that are not only intuitive and inclusive for deaf people, but also benefit everyone,” says Roberta Cordano, president of Gallaudet University, which educates students who are deaf and hard of hearing and holds the DeafSpace trademark. “DeafSpace principles should be prioritized in construction to make our built environment accessible for all.”