Impacting an Industry | Introduction
When a drop of water falls into a pond, it ripples outwards – changing the water around it.
In the interpreting industry – focused on providing equal access services for the Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and sign language users – there are many organizations and individuals that have had a profound impact on our industry, shaping policies, training service providers, making ripples and affecting change.
With this new series, ‘Impacting an Industry’ it will be my goal to acknowledge the many contributions of those who have had an impact on me personally, on our agency, and on the industry as a whole.
First, let me briefly tell you about my journey in becoming involved in and then intimately acquainted with this unique industry. I grew up in a small town in South Dakota as the oldest of three. During my senior year in high school, I was diagnosed as hard-of-hearing. I received my first hearing aid three days before leaving for college at the University of South Dakota. I wasn’t an avid sign language user at the time, in fact, I’m not even sure if I was aware that there was a “sign language”. All of that changed after marrying my beautiful wife, Christina. I will tell you more about her story in a future article. However, it goes without saying that Christina’s passion for sign language has had a profound impact on me, our family and the trajectory and future of our lives.
At the time Christina and I were married on April 21, 1990, we were living in Northern California, just South of San Francisco. We had decided on moving to the Bay Area because we’d learned that there was a large Deaf community and we’d agreed that Christina would pursue an education that would allow more involvement in the Deaf community. This decision was the start of my journey!
Over the next 10 years, our involvement in the Deaf world grew and in June 2010 Christina and I started our own sign language interpreting agency (click here for full details of our story). We’d toyed with names such as “Hammrich Interpreting Services”, but eventually settled on HIS Sign. The “HIS” for us, has a double meaning, the original name we’d considered, but it also has a connection to our faith.
As the owners of HIS Sign, it is Christina’s and my personal desire to pay it forward and do what we can to impact the lives of others in a positive way, particularly those that are interested in pursuing a career in this industry. There are many people and organizations that we have worked with that share this desire and have had a tremendous impact on us and our company. Every quarter, I will use the articles in this series to share my perspective and to cover topics relevant to the industry. I will endeavor to shed light on challenges in the industry, new and exciting service offerings, as well as acknowledge and celebrate the contributions others have made to impact this industry.
I leave you with this…during the COVID shutdown, in various meetings I often said, “If everyone gives a little, no one needs to give a lot!”. No doubt many of you too are causing ripples or have been impacted by someone that has created ripples. I would love to hear your stories of how you have caused a “ripple” or have been “rippled” by someone else!
If you have any “ripple” stories, questions, feedback, or ideas that you would like to share with me, please feel free to shoot me an email at ImpactingAnIndustry@HISsign.com.
CEO of HIS Sign