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Chats with Champions: Jim Kutsch

March 14 @ 10:00 am12:00 pm

Chats with Champions is proud to present Jim Kutsch on Thursday, March 14 th, at 10 a.m. in the Porter Meeting Hall at Skidompha Library. Kutsch will speak about The Seeing Eye, the pioneers and innovators of guide dog services in North America which just celebrated its 95 th anniversary. In addition, his presentation will include the background of The Seeing Eye Inc., and his experiences with the organization, both as a student and professional.

Kutsch was the first graduate of The Seeing Eye Inc., the oldest guide dog school in the U.S., to serve as its President and CEO (2006-2019). Prior to assuming the role of President, Kutsch served on the Board of Trustees for 10 years. His relationship with The Seeing Eye began in 1970 as a teenager when he was matched with his first Seeing Eye Dog after being blinded as a result of a backyard chemistry experiment ‘gone awry’. During his tenure at The Seeing Eye, he also served on the following Boards in various capacities: International Guide Dog Federation, Morris Animal Foundation, Council of U.S. Dog Guide Schools, and National Industries for the Blind. In addition, Kutsch was a member of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

Prior to joining The Seeing Eye, Kutsch was a professor of Computer Science at West Virginia University. He then worked for three decades in Telecommunications, including at Bell Laboratories as a
Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, at AT&T Universal Card Services as Vice President of Computing and Network Services and later as Chief Information Officer, and at Convergys Corp. as Vice President of Strategic Technology.

Kutsch has lectured nationally on disability awareness, adaptive technology, and advocacy. He has made extensive contributions in product accessibility and authored several publications.
A native of West Virginia, Kutsch holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Science in Computer Science from West Virginia University. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois. In 1975, as part of his PhD program, Kutsch not only designed the first talking computer for blind users but also developed one of the earliest screen readers. In 2008, he was recognized with an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Rowan University for his lifetime service to people with disabilities.

Upon Retiring in 2019, Kutsch relocated to Damariscotta with his wife, Ginger, and their Seeing Eye dogs, Easton and Willow. He has indulged his hobbies of financial planning, investing, amateur radio, leadership, sailing, bicycling and cooking. During the pandemic, Kutsch taught Morse Code online.

Jim Kutsch and his Seeing Eye dog, Easton


March 14
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
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