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Kelby Brick, ’94, appointed director of Maryland Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH)

July 31, 2015
By Phil Dignan
Arrow Buff

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced on June 30 the appointment of Kelby Brick, ’94, as the new director of the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH), an office that Brick helped to establish in 2001.

As director, Brick’s primary responsibility will be to advise the governor on matters relating to deaf and hard of hearing issues and to carry out the governor’s policy objectives. Brick explained that while ODHH has a dozen specified responsibilities, its overall focus is to provide, advocate, and coordinate the adoption of public policies, regulations, and programs that benefit deaf and hard of hearing Marylanders.  

Brick has been tasked with taking ODHH to the next level. “There are a lot of opportunities for ODHH to establish itself as a model. Given the knowledge and expertise available in Maryland, there is no reason why we cannot achieve a better future for our citizens,'” said Brick. “Expecting anything less is unacceptable.”  

One of Brick’s immediate target areas is creating job opportunities.  

“We will be focusing on the economic empowerment of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. A strong Deaf ecosystem benefits the state economy,” said Brick. “As part of that effort, we will be addressing the under and unemployment issue as well as encouraging more business ownership and entrepreneurship.”   

Brick also stated that ODHH will look at the regulation of interpreters, and the efficiency of state programs and services.  

Brick wants to further connect ODHH with the Gallaudet community. “Gallaudet has occasionally sent interns to ODHH, and I hope to expand on that,” said Brick. “Gallaudet professors have a lot of expertise on various issues that ODHH is addressing, and I would love to be able to rely on their expertise as we navigate through those issues.”  

In the announcement about the hiring of Brick, Hogan gave tremendous praise. “Kelby Brick has dedicated his entire career to ensuring that deaf and hard of hearing individuals have the same opportunities and access as everyone else,” said Hogan. “Kelby is a tireless leader and advocate for individuals with disabilities, and there is no one more qualified to take the helm at ODHH.”  

Brick was also recognized by Hogan’s predecessor, former Governor Martin O’Malley, who in February 2011 proclaimed Brick the first recipient of the Kelby Brick Community Leadership Award, honoring a commitment to improving the civil rights of deaf and hard of hearing people. Brick has earned other awards, including the Gallaudet University Alumni Association’s (GUAA) Outstanding Young Alumnus Award in 2006.  

In 2013, Brick founded Brick Advantage, providing consulting services in areas of management, revenues, accessibility, marketing and public policy as well as sign language interpreting services; Brick himself is a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI), specializing in legal and medical interpreting.  From 2006-13, Brick served as vice president of regulatory and strategic policy with Purple Communications, and was director of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Law and Advocacy Center from 2002-06. Brick graduated from the Temple University Beasley School of Law in 1997, its first-ever deaf graduate, and worked as a private attorney for four years.  

Brick has coached youth baseball and basketball off and on for the past 30 years and currently volunteers as an assistant coach for the Elkridge Hurricanes 14 and under travel team of the Elkridge Youth Organization.  

Last May, Brick married Jill Angela Owens, ’09; they both have four children: Austin, Caitlin, Hannah, and Cody.

31 July 2015
By Phil Dignan

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Phil Dignan

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