February 1, 2013 16

Greg Pisocky, also shown with Duff Johnson, Ferass ElRayes and Neil Soiffer.

Today brightened for me when a colleague asked for a quote about Greg Pisocky, who celebrates 20 years at Adobe Systems today.

Suitably inspired by Andrew’s post on the official Adobe Accessibility blog, I thought I’d take a break from promoting electronic document standards, chewing on old bones and otherwise procrastinating instead of working. I decided to say my own piece about Greg.

I’ve known Greg Pisocky since 2001 or so, soon after I started getting into tagged PDF.

In the very early days Adobe’s software for tagged PDF was pretty rough. It was complicated to use; very finicky, and full of trapdoors and gotchas. A (sadly) lasting impression developed that tagging PDF files for accessibility and compliance with Section 508 required a PhD.

Focused right where the PDF rubber meets the accessibility road, Greg has been Adobe Systems’ bulwark against that impression in Washington, DC; ground zero for Section 508. When frustrated customers petitioned for help, Greg was there to not only put a very human face on a very large software company, but to actually help people understand the issues, work with the software and get the most benefit from our tax dollars.

Greg’s no corporate droid. In addition to his job, he’s just as focused on the real end user; the person who requires assistive technology to read. He fights hard (but clean!) within and without Adobe Systems to keep the accessibility ball moving forwards.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Washington talking with line workers and agency CIOs alike about matters PDF and PDF accessibility. They all know Greg. They all love Greg.

If you’ve spent any time learning the ropes of creating accessible PDF documents then you’ve almost certainly spent time with the extensive educational resources on this subject at adobe.com/accessibility. There’s a good chance you’ve been reading Greg’s stuff.

Never one to blow his own horn, Greg has suffered through (literally) hundreds of meetings; every iteration of the PDF/UA’s development. I may have chaired the US Committee, but Greg and Loretta were already sitting at the table working on PDF/UA when I first walked in the door.

As Greg said to me once: “It’s been a long strange trip in which we can both look back and say we did some good for people who were in danger of being left behind.” Indeed that’s true; and even better because it was also good business and good times along the way.

One day (and it’s not too far in the future), AT users with PDF/UA conforming reader and AT software will encounter PDF/UA conforming files. They will thereby be assured of a high-quality reading experience. It’s really as simple as that.

PDF accessibility’s a long term project, and Greg’s been there from the beginning.

Here’s to another 20 years, Greg! 😉


(Photo credit: Our old friend Joe Clark)