Michael Phillips

Assistive Technology Award of Excellence

Florida’s Assistive Technology Advisory Council created the Michael Phillips Assistive Technology Award of Excellence in 2020 to honor the spirit of an individual who navigated numerous obstacles through assistive technology (A.T.) tools and devices: Michael “Mike” Phillips.


The Michael Phillips Assistive Technology Award of Excellence recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions towards promoting the use of A.T. in Florida and/or making A.T. more accessible to those who use it.


This award is selected by the Assistive Technology Advisory Council’s Technology Awareness Committee and is presented annually to one deserving individual. To be nominated, an individual must live in Florida and be involved with assistive technology as a professional, an advocate, volunteer, A.T. user, family member of an A.T. user, or caregiver to an A.T. user.

2021 Award Winners

The Wheelchair Highwaymen are a trio of landscape photographic artists that use assistive technology to reveal the beauty and wonder of Florida and are made up of Dr. Max Lee, Dr. JR Harding, and Mr. Gordon Palmer.

The Wheelchair Highwaymen were presented the Assistive Technology Advisory Council’s 2021 Michael Phillips Assistive Technology Award of Excellence by Brian Nerland, the chair of the Council’s Technology Awareness Committee during the September 14, 2021, Council meeting.

The message of The Wheelchair Highwaymen is “Bringing nature back into the lives of the disabled through photography.” The artists that make up this group use drone photographic techniques and Google assistive technology that allow them to capture images of Florida’s landscape.

“These men are pioneers, both as artists and disability advocates challenging the stereotypes and inequities which so often exist, much like the well-known Florida landscape artists of the 1950s, The Florida Highwaymen, who too broke barriers for African American artists,” said Sandra Sroka, Adult Program Coordinator for Arts4All Florida. The Wheelchair Highwaymen rose above the other nominees for a variety of reasons, including their involvement in the disability community and their ability to bring art to the world through assistive technology.

To learn more about The Wheelchair Highwaymen, please visit their website at https://www.wheelchairhighwaymen.com/ (opens in a new tab).

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Do you know someone we should consider for the Florida Assistive Technology Advisory Council’s Michael Phillips Assistive Technology Award of Excellence? Nominate them today!

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Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST)

Florida Alliance for Assistive Services & Technology

820 E Park Ave, D-200, Tallahassee, Florida 32301

>Toll-Free: TTY: 1-877-506-2723

Email: info@FAAST.org

To locate your nearest Regional Demonstration Center, please call us Toll-Free at 1-844-353-2278.

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The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, Inc. (FAAST) is administered through the Florida Department of Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and is federally funded by the Administration on Community Living under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended in 2004 (P.L. 108-364).

Since its onset in 1994, FAAST has been and remains a resource to provide Floridians free access to information, referral services, educational programs, and funding opportunities for assistive technology.