Martin E. Blair, PhD

AUCD's Inaugural Disability Policy Leadership Fellow (2001)

Martin E. Blair, PhD

Martin "Marty" Blair, PhD served as the first AUCD Disability Policy Leadership Fellow in 2001. Marty earned his degrees in special education, secondary education and disability studies from Utah State University. He began his professional career as a middle school special education teacher. After several years in the classroom, he moved to the Center for Persons with Disabilities to work on a variety of projects including distance education for inservice teachers, special education compliance monitoring, and substance abuse prevention training for teachers on the Navajo Nation.

While serving as Policy Fellow, Marty served as a member of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Technology/ Telecommunications, Health, and Education Task Forces and was instrumental in drafting and moving a bill to continue the Federal Assistive Technology Act.

After completing the Fellowship and returning to Utah in early 2002, Marty served as the UCEDD's Assistant Director for Policy and Development. In 2008, Marty was appointed the Associate Director of the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE) and the Associate Director of the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center (MPRRC), both administered through the UCEDD at Utah State University. In addition, he serves as the director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program and Chair of the Utah Interagency Outreach Training Initiative Steering Council, co-chair of the Utah-based Disability Issues Advisory Committee for Senator Orrin G. Hatch and an active member of AUCD's Legislative Affairs Committee. Marty continues to work with state and federal policy makers on a variety of disability issues including education technology, community integration, disability policy, special education policy, employment, and access to services by ethnic minority populations.

Upon concluding his Fellowship, Marty wrote, "I'm feeling that this fellowship has been a resounding success... I've made some great friends with advocates in DC.  I've met wonderful people who work hard to help others. These relationships will last with me throughout my career.  I've learned how things work (and don't) and I've been able to be a part of some interesting and exciting initiatives... Who knows where this opportunity will take me?  It has opened many doors and will be a positive benefit to me, my family and the Center for Persons with Disabilities.  It is a 'win' situation for everyone."

Ten years later, Marty still reflects positively upon his experiences. He wrote, " was career-changing. It opened many doors, enabled me to develop professional relationships, and gave me a national perspective on the issues that we care about. It was challenging at times, but if I had to do it over again I CERTAINLY WOULD!"

Read more about Marty's experience in his final report .