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Breaking Down The Barriers

The happiest people in the world are those who find a way to make a living doing something about which they care passionately. Craig Spurrell is attempting to do just that through his new company, Vision Quest Technologies.

Craig has been losing his vision gradually over the last several years. As it became more and more difficult for him to read a computer screen, Craig began exploring available adaptive technologies. He worked with large print and speech, evaluating what current adaptive technology could do and noting what it lacked. Before long, Craig had become quite expert in a variety of adaptive software and hardware. Blind and visually impaired people began asking his opinion about what they could do to make computers work for them. Craig discovered that helping others choose products to meet their unique needs and teaching them how to get the most out of those products, was deeply satisfying.

His full-time job at Bell Canada left him little time to work with other blind people. He was very successful at Bell Canada winning several internal awards and recognition for his work as a Communication Systems Specialist. He provided expertise in the areas of: technology simulations; proof-of-concept testing; solution development for major clients; and showing facility design. But, even with such a successful career, Craig's passion for making computers accessible for blind and sight-impaired people grew stronger.

Finally, near the end of 1995, Craig left his secure employment to follow his dream. He moved to Vancouver and established Vision Quest Technologies. The mission of the company is to provide technical training, education and consulting services to individuals and organizations involved in assisting people who are blind or severely sight-impaired, to enter or re-enter the labour force or an educational program.

Many vendors of adaptive technology provide product support in training, but Vision Quest Technologies is different. "We are purely a consulting and training company," Craig says, "We are not a dealer in adaptive technology or computer equipment. We are totally independent from equipment vendors and manufacturers. This independence ensures our recommendations are based on the most appropriate solution for our client's needs."

Craig's company trains people in the use of large print computer programs and screen reading software, all major application software, and computer operating systems. They offer a fully equipped and accessible computer lab with the most current software and applications, operating systems, and direct access to the Internet. They also do technical assessments; proof-of-concept testing; technology evaluations, and systems integration and technical support.

Craig has been involved in the National Federation of the Blind:Advocates for Equality since 1995. "I found it very helpful to network with other blind computer users and to visit with technology vendors at NFB conventions. Those experiences have broadened my perspective."

Craig is available to talk to anyone about Vision Quest Technologies. He can be reached at: Suite 400, 1681 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 4M6 Telephone: (604) 736-4357 E-mail: