Episode 199 – Unstoppable Blind Engineer with Mike Coughlin

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Mike Coughlin was born in 1947 and had what most people would say is a somewhat normal childhood. I would agree, but it is relevant to say that Mike was diagnosed in the second grade with youth related Macular Degeneration. While he did not lose all his eyesight, he lost enough that reading, especially out loud in school, was not doable for him. In fact, his eye specialists did not even tell him that he was what we classify today as legally blind. Michael did not learn the true extent of his eye condition until he was in his twenties. He was not given access to what we call today assistive technology. Even so, he survived and flourished. He is an Eagle Scout and has achieved the highest rank in the Boy Scouts Order of the Arrow society.

Mike secured a college degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s degree in Ocean Engineering from the University of Miami. Later he earned a second Master’s degree in systems management (MSSM) from the University of Southern California’s continuing education program.

He worked for General Dynamics for seven years. Then he went with his boss to work for 20 years at Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc in acoustics. He then worked, again as an underwater acoustical engineer, for 20 years at Boeing.

Michael is clearly unstoppable. He will discuss the various technologies he began to use although somewhat later in life. He also will discuss just how he accomplished so much and, as you will see, it is all about attitude.

About the Guest:

Until early in my second-grade year at St. John the Baptist Catholic grammar school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, no-one knew my eyes were changing. It was the eye screening they provided that singled me out as having a problem. My wonderful parents, Joseph and Dorothy Coughlin, transplants to Fort Wayne from New York City, started trying to find out what was wrong. Eventually they learned it was Macular Degermation, something rarely found in young people. My earliest years were spent on a farm outside of Fort Wayne as my parents had moved from New York to Fort Wayne due to a transfer by the General Electric Company, where my father was an engineer. The transfer included a move to a rural rental farmhouse on a 40-acre farm and the birth of myself in 1947 and my brother two years later. My mother, with a master’s degree in education from Columbia University, was raising my brother and I and teaching English at the local rural high school. During those four years my father took up hunting and growing a large garden, a big step for a kid from New York, and I learned about rural life with the ability to play on farm equipment and see many types of farm animals. Early on I wanted to be a farmer.

Once I reached school age, we moved into Fort Wayne for the schools. Fort Wayne is a middle sized Mid-west city of about 250,000 people. It was like so many Mid-western cities of that day. We lived outside the center of the city and my schools, both grammar and high school, were made up of middle-class children. As my sight degraded, I was taken to several ophthalmologists and to the University of Indiana Medical Center, but learned little helpful information other than the details of my situation. My teachers accommodated me by letting me sit in front of class and because my outload reading skills where poor did not call on me to read aloud. Interestingly, I seemed to be able to hold things close to my eyes and comprehend the text I saw silently. Because I passed all written tests and my classes with satisfactory grades, they gave me. OK grades and passed me. My shining moments during my grade school years came in my achievement as a Boy Scout. I attained the rank of Eagle Scout with a Bronze Palm and was selected for all three steps in the Order of the Arrow. I also was the senior patrol leader for our troop.

My years at Bishop Luers High School, a co-institutional Catholic school, were another matter. I succeeded from the start, earning high honors grades and selection as president of both the Junior and Senior National Honor Societies. I was a member of the yearbook staff and was given a leading part in the senior play. Although I am sure a number of the girls in my class had the higher grades, due to the non-mixing of most classes, class rankings were separated. So, I was 3rd in my class. of about 150 boys. I was also awarded the Indiana State Catholic Youth Leadership Award by the Knights of Columbus. I still had not been given information on my actual visual status nor information about assistive aides for the blind. Everything I did was by holding written materials close to my face, listening very attentively and not driving. I took the SAT and other tests such as an engineering aptitude test, I wanted to be like my father, an electrical engineer. I scored adequately on the SAT and highly on the aptitude test.

I applied to four mid-western colleges and was accepted in all and chose to attend the University of Notre Dame in south Bend, Indiana, which I thought would be fairly near home. The summer after high school, I was an exchange student to France, where I lived with a French family for seven weeks and my counterpart lived with our family for seven. It was a great experience, but while in France, I learned my father had taken a job in Philadelphia. On my return, together with my family and my French counterpart, Francise, we moved to Strafford, PA, outside of Philadelphia. The move took me to a new part of the country and my summers in Philly were full of excitement with the exploration of a big city and learning about the Jersey Shore. During those summers, I worked for General Electric as an engineering aide. College went very well too. Nort Dame was a good experience. It was competitive but their Electrical Engineering Department was staffed with excellent professors who helped me through every step, but not as a person with a visual disability because I rarely mentioned it to anyone. Honestly, I am not sure why, but I tried to be as normal seeming as possible. I learned to take notes from verbal descriptions of what was being written on the blackboard and if a professor did not verbalize the writing, I asked him to do so, and he did. If I missed something, I left a blank in my notebook and obtained the missing information from a friend. I completed all my course work and had a 3.5 grade average at graduation and was selected to the Eta-Kappa-Nu honorary Electrical Engineering Fraternity. ND won the football national championship my sophomore year and that was a real highlight.

During my senior year, it became obvious that due to a crash in the space program, jobs would be hard to find. I decided to go to graduate school and took the GRE and GMAT, again with no assistive help. One path I investigated was to get an MBA, and I had also heard from a friend, about Ocean Engineering. My advisor suggested I stay in engineer, because he felt my talents were best suited for it. Although I applied to several MBA programs, I also applied to the University of Miami in Ocean Engineering (OE). In addition to the advice I received to stay in engineering, it is possible the choice of Miami was because my brother was a sophomore there. I was accepted and given money at Miami, and the next year started my graduate studies in OE. Two years flew by during which I was married to my first wife Judi and I left Miami with an MS in OE. One course of suey in OE is underwater sound. It is focused on SONAR and is quite mathematical, just what an electrical engineer likes. During the summer of those two years, I was married to my first wife, Judi.

The job market was still tight, but I interviewed and was hired into the Sound and Vibration group at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics (GDEB) due to my studies in underwater sound. Once in Connecticut, I found a very good ophthalmologist, Dr. Kaplan, and for the very first time, was told I was legally blind and what that meant. We had some long discussions after which he voiced some displeasure on how little information I had been given on my situation. He said he had to register me with the state and set me up with a low vision specialist. Those steps led me to getting a Closed-Circuit TV (CCTV) magnifier and access to the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) and their Talking Book program. Both the CCTV and Talking Books opened my world to general reading and technical literature which I generally avoided due to the increasing strain of both the MD and the onset of myopia or age reeled eye changes. During seven years at GDEB I moved from engineer to supervisor and had the opportunity to earn a second master’s degree in systems management (MSSM) from the University of Southern California’s continuing education program offered at many military installations. For me it was at the submarine base in Groton CT. My wife and I bought a house and had our daughter, Laura.

In 1978, my boss at EB opened an opportunity for me by interacting with associates at Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. (bbn), at the time, the foremost acoustics firm in the world. He opened a local, New London, CT, office of the firm and hired three of us to staff it. We continued working for the Navy, but as consultants. I stayed with bbn for twenty years and participated in many projects around the world. For the last ten years I was manager of a group of about 40 engineers and scientists, many ay of whom had Ph.D. or master’s degrees. bbn provided me with several CCTVs and a Xerox/Kurz well scanner-reader. bbn was an early adopter of Ap-le Macintosh computers. One of my associates immediately found that all Mac’s had magnification and text to speech features. This opened the computing world to me. (I had been able to deal with punch cards, but the computer screen with small letter left me out.) During these years, I was able to travel to Hawaii, Japan, and many cities in the US. My LBPH recorded books were constant companions. During this time, my daughter Laura was married and gave us a grandchild, Chloe.
Throughout my working life, I have had the opportunity to give something back to several communities. I was on the advisory board for the Connecticut Stat Library for the Blind, on the Board of directors for CHRIS Radio, and on the Board of Directors for the Waterford Education Foundation I was president of a a Macular Support Group in Waterford, CT and am now on the Board of Directors for the Southeastern Connecticut Center of the Blind, where I conduct a support group for those with Macular on how to use digital technology.

Shifts in the Department of Defense (DOD) business world produced some big layoffs at bbn. Thus, in 2000, I was searching for a job and with the help of a friend, connected with a group at the Boeing Company that worked in the undersea world, as opposed to most of the company which did airborne things. They were looking for someone who lived on the east coast who had a background like their work. The group was in Anaheim, CA, and then in Huntington Beach, CA. I fit the profile and after an interview was offered a. job as an off-site Technical Representative. Since I had no other solid offers, I accepted feeling the job would last at least a few years. The relationship lasted over 20 and provided a very rewarding end to my career. Boeing, like bbn was totally accommodating to my assistive needs. Although they computer usage was based on Windows PC’s s, they provided me with special software which was now available on those platforms and with CCTV equipment as I needed. Someone was always available to assist in getting special software up and running. By the time I started with Boeing, LBPH cassette readers were small and made traveling with them quite easy. I also had a laptop with screen magnifier’/reader software and internet connectivity anywhere I needed ii. While at Boeing, family matters took some good and bad turns. My daughter and her husband had my second grandchild, Evan. The bad part is my long-time wife and partner, Judi, died of cancer. After the grieving time, where things seemed s unsteady. it all turned around, when I met and married my current wife, Karen. I am again on firm footing and life has not been better.

As I grew nearer retirement and brought up the subject with my supervisor, she had other ideas. She wanted me to keep working, however, I was able to reduce my work week to four and then three days. Finally, when I found a good replacement, she agreed to let me go. I had to stay in a two day a week consulting role for a year or so. I worked for Triad Systems Inc., a firm that provided part time support to aerospace firms on the west coast. On the home front , life proceeded without mishap.

I am now fully retired and working as a volunteer for the southeastern Connecticut Center of the Blind. God things have again arrived as Karen’s daughter, Kate, and her husband brought us another grandchild, Esme. Although most of the events above were very good, I am now happy in retirement and ready to do what I can to support others and to enjoy my family.

Ways to connect with Mike:


About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.

Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.


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Transcription Notes

**Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i  capital B e. Visit
to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.

**Michael Hingson ** 01:21
Well, hello, once again. I’m Mike Hingson. Your host Welcome to unstoppable mindset. And today we get to interview Michael Coughlin. Who’s Michael Coghlan? Well, that’s what we’re going to find out in the course of the day. But I’m going to start a little bit different Lee than I have in the past. Let me tell you how I met Michael. He wrote me an email a few months ago, and talked about the fact that he read my book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man’s guide dog in the triumphant trust. And we had discussions about that Michael happens to be a person who was blind. And he talked about his engineering background and other such things. And me being a person with a physics background and also in sales, but also doing a lot of engineering and tech stuff. It just seemed like the thing to do was to have Michael come on to the podcast. So we can find out all the scandalous and non scandalous things that we want to know about him. And just give us a chance to dialogue. And I thought it’d be kind of fun if all of you get to hear it. And that’s how we, we discovered each other, we finally were able to get a time where we could get together and chat. So here we are. And Michael, welcome to unstoppable mindset.

**Michael Coughlin ** 02:34
Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

**Michael Hingson ** 02:37
Well, we’ll really appreciate you being here. Why don’t we start by you may be talking about the the younger early, Michael and tell us a little bit about you. And we’ll go from there. Sure.

**Michael Coughlin ** 02:48
And as you said, I had emailed you because of reading the book, which was powerful. There were in addition to my low vision blindness, were a few other parallels that caught my eye and maybe we’ll cover those as we go through this feel free start. I was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, another midwesterner and I was born on a farm, as was my brother. My mother and father were New Yorkers at birth, and in their early years, they moved to Indiana, because my father was an engineer working for General Electric, and he was transferred to Fort Wayne. When they arrived in Fort Wayne, they decided to look at the Midwest, there’s different sets of eyes and they rented a farmhouse on a 40 acre farm. And my father even became a hunter and raised a large garden and it was something pretty adventurous for a New York kid. But they were loving it. And I grew up for the first five years of my life on that farm, exposed a farm animals farm equipment. And I think at that time, I had been wanting to be a farmer. But quickly, they moved me into the city because of the school system. My mother had been a was a school teacher by trade and that taught in a rural schools and they felt the city schools would just be stronger. So at five years old, we moved in to Fort Wayne, and I started school at St. John the Baptist Catholic school and began my early years. In second grade. When they were doing I skipped screening for students. They immediately picked up on the fact that I couldn’t see very well. And it was a bit of a shock to everybody I was getting by okay, but my parents were told that I had high problems and they immediately contacted a friend who was not the mala just to look at me, sent me to quote the best ophthalmologist in the city and I started going to him, he examined me and examined me and sent me to the University of Indiana Medical Center. And they all pretty quickly decided that I had macular degeneration. As a juvenile, um, it’s very unusual in those days to come up with juvenile macular degeneration.

**Michael Hingson ** 05:21
So What year was this? This would

**Michael Coughlin ** 05:24
have been about 1953 or 54. Yeah. So, I mean, I was in second grade. And I was obviously starting to have visual difficulties. One of the things I didn’t do very well was read aloud, because I was having trouble seeing the print even though I held it close I, I just never could read things out loud. But the school accommodated that well enough. They sat me in front of the class, when the work was going around, and each kid was asked to read a paragraph, they just skipped me. However, I was able to hold things close, read silently, figure out what was on the page, do my homework, pass my tests, and get reasonably good grades, I was probably an average to a little better than average student. So as I progressed, through grammar school, I was just given a little leeway on reading out loud, and everything else seemed to work fine. So they said average student, but if I had something to brag about in those years, it was my Boy Scout work. We had a wonderful Troop at my school. And in the years that I was a boy scout, I earned the rank of Eagle Scout with a bronze POM. I was awarded all three steps in the Order of the Arrow. And by eighth grade, was the senior patrol leader for our troop. Though I had managed through scouting, to excel in something, and then I moved on to high school. At this point, of course, I’d gone through all through grammar school, I’d been seeing ophthalmologists, I knew I had macular degeneration. But I had not been given one piece of information regarding assistive technology, such as talking books, large print, learning Braille, or anything else. I can only attribute that to the fact that I kind of saw things. I didn’t run into anything, because I did have a low vision, but I could see. And so they just treated me like everybody else. And just acted like everybody else as best I could. When I got in high school. And I went yeah, go ahead. No, go ahead. Alright, went to Bishop lures High School, called institutional Catholic High School where the boys were sort of separated from the girls in most classes, because that’s what was done in those days. I really got it, my grades markedly improved. I made high honors or honors at every grade point, every grade session all the way through high school. I was elected president of the Junior National Honor Society and the senior national honor society. I was in senior play with the lead one of the lead roles. I was on a yearbook staff. I just participated in everything I could, and the only thing I could not do was drive. And I had a lot of friends. And back then, at 16, not only could you drive, you could drive with a friend. So I was always able to get rides, and I just went right through high school. Still not using anything in the way of assistive technology, assistive technology. But I prospered. And at the end of my senior year, I was awarded the Catholic, the Catholic Leadership Award for the state of Indiana by the Knights of Columbus. And I decided that it was time to think about college. So there I was, and I was starting to fill that application. And so I took the graduate or the SATs test, it took another test in engineering aptitude. I scored reasonably well on the LSAT, again, with no help, no large print, no extra time holding it close. But I got through it did pretty well on that engineering aptitude test applied to four colleges in the Midwest and were accepted to all of them. I think a lot because my high school teachers liked me and gave me good recommendations. Anyway I have the four selected the University of Notre Dame, which was a good school, good Catholic school, had electrical engineering, which was where I had applied to get in and was ready to head off to college. My senior year at the end of my senior year, in high school, my parents, I was an exchange student in France, where I went there for seven weeks and lived to the French family. The correspondent, French student, Francis came back in the US for seven weeks. And right in the middle of that, my father took a job in Philadelphia, and we moved to Philadelphia. So I was transplanted into the east coast into a big city, and had a whole nother set of experiences that were great. I enjoyed it, I explored that city for the four years I was in college, even though I went back to Notre Dame, went to the Jersey Shore and saw what that was about. And went off to college, where they put me on an airplane in Philadelphia, I flew out and began my career at Notre Dame in electrical engineering, again, doing everything everybody else did, I didn’t go out of my way to tell people that I couldn’t see very well, I just played the role of a student. And for four years, managed to get by with pretty good grades, I had a 3.5 GPA at the end of my four years. And I had a degree in electrical engineering, and was ready to move on again to the next stage in life when the space program collapsed, and engineering jobs virtually disappeared. And so I said, Well, maybe grad school would be something one might think about for a little while longer. And I started looking into MBA programs, which I don’t know we’re getting popular. But my one of my engineering advisors suggests that I might want to stay in engineering because he thought I was a good engineer. I had done well in all my classes, all my labs, working with computers. So I thought about it. And somebody mentioned that there was a kind of a new field opening up called Ocean Engineering. And at the University of Miami had a program. While at the time my brother is a sophomore at Miami. And it seemed like wow, wouldn’t it be kind of interesting to put out there and maybe room with my brother and, and whatever. And so I applied in ocean engineering, as well as a few MBA programs. I was accepted to Miami, they gave me money to go to school, paid my tuition gave me a stipend. And so I went, I went off to the University of Miami for a to attain that graduate degree, which I did in two years. In the middle of those two years, married my first wife, Judy, we moved she moved down to Florida. And there we were, for a couple years earning a graduate degree in ocean engineering. One of the curricula within ocean engineering is underwater acoustics. And that was very interesting to me because it was pretty mathematical. And guy double E’s love math. And so I spent my courses in acoustics. And when some job interviews on campus came around, one of the companies looking for people with odd degrees were was electric boat Division of General Dynamics, because noise and submarines go together, or at least the lack of noise. They want you to be quiet. Yeah. So they gave me a job offer. And I took it, and we moved to Connecticut. And the came up here and one of the things I did during that first year, besides getting started with my job was to find an ophthalmologist because since I didn’t see very well and I didn’t want it to get too much worse. It was probably a good idea. And I found a fella Dr. Kaplan in Mystic and got an appointment and walked in and for the first time in my life had been I was told I was legally blind. I had no idea what that meant. And I was surprised because up until that point, I was getting by. I was enjoying what I was doing. I wasn’t failing in anything, and like seem good. But anyway, he gave me a good overview on it. He said yeah, he was pretty disappointed. At the fact that I had been involved in everything to that point and never been told I was legally blind, nor had been told that there was any assistive technologies available to make it easier for me. So wait, you’re mistaken. That would have been 1971.

**Michael Coughlin ** 15:19
Okay. He did a few things, he registered me with the state of Connecticut. They actually have people in the state that come out and try to help you with things. He, they then sign me up for the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. They stay State Library. And, lo and behold, they provided me with a talking book reader and talking books. For the first time ever, I was able to listen to books. All the ones I wanted, anything I wanted, was there available to me. And it was eye opening at that point. i From that time on, even though the device they had for as a player was pretty bulky. I carried that around everywhere. I went and was always listening to books, in addition,

**Michael Hingson ** 16:11
is that records or cassettes? That

**Michael Coughlin ** 16:15
at that point, they were both that’s and I got records. Okay. They gave me a record player. Mostly those were the periodicals on what were then throwaway discs and, and the cassette, but I had to carry a second briefcase anywhere I went to bring that recorder because it was pretty big beast. Yes,

**Michael Hingson ** 16:36
I remember those ranking was a General Electric manufacturing machine might

**Michael Coughlin ** 16:42
have been but it was a great believe me went from nothing to that it

**Michael Hingson ** 16:46
was large, but still Yeah.

**Michael Coughlin ** 16:50
In addition, through Kaplan, I met another low vision specialist. And what he showed me was a closed circuit TV magnifier. And at that time, that beast was bigger than the tape recorder, believe me, oh, yes, full size, black and white television with a separate camera. But all of a sudden, I could see things I couldn’t see because there were magnified. And so instantly, on arrival in Connecticut or close to it. I had two pieces of technology that just opened up the world. And it allowed me through that CCTV to get a second master’s degree in systems management from University of Southern California. They ran that program on military bases. And they gave it I went to the submarine base in Groton and took that for two years and earned a master’s second master’s, I had access to closed circuit television for that I had my library books on or talking books on tape, and I was pretty happy in my career at General Dynamics was going well. I went, I went from an engineer, through senior to specialist and was an engineering supervisor in about seven years. And anyway, so we were good, but my boss at the time was struggling a bit with his advancement in life. And we had been doing a lot of work underwater acoustics on submarines with with a consulting firm that worked for the Navy called Bolt Beranek and Newman while the BBN was a diverse company, because not only were they the leading acoustics company in the world, but they also had some people that were working on something through DARPA called the ARPANET. So here we go, he gets an offer to start a local, then in New London, which is across the river from Groton, a local office of BBN recruits myself and a couple of other engineers and I am now a consultant working for the Navy Department. At that point in time, BBN was extremely interested in helping me out. So they provided me with a closed circuit was actually a portable closed circuit TV magnifier as well as the desktop version. And a few years later, I Xerox kurz wild text to speech reader. So now I had a little more technology that I could use to get printed books into text format, or speech format. And soon thereafter, one of my good friends who I still play golf with Doug Hannah, came across the fact that a Macintosh computer could magnify the screen and had text to speech. And that was from the all Most of the beginning of the Mac, those features were built into their operating system. Did

**Michael Hingson ** 20:06
you ever get to spend much time up at BBN in Cambridge?

**Michael Coughlin ** 20:10
Oh, yes. Lots of time at BBN in Cambridge.

**Michael Hingson ** 20:14
Did you ever get to meet a guy up there named Dick Durbin sign?

**Michael Coughlin ** 20:19
No, but I’ll bet he was in a speech synthesis group.

**Michael Hingson ** 20:24
I don’t know that. He was there. He, he and I went to UC Irvine together. And I actually saw him. I actually saw him at BBN later, and we worked on some projects together, but I suppose there’s a large place. So it

**Michael Coughlin ** 20:41
was it was large and, and for the most part, my work was done with the acoustic side of things. Although as the internet grew, the computer side of BBN, when I started was about 5050 grew huge and dominated the company and, and all. I mean, they were very early adopters in, in speech recognition, right? They had a voice recognition or a voice sort of dialer feature in their phones from years before they were they were very much into that sort of thing. I

**Michael Hingson ** 21:20
remember once when I visited BBN, he Dick told me about a transducer they had that actually would simulate the sound of a jet engine. I believe that yes, he said it was like the size of an ashtray that like the typical floor ashtray in a hotel but he said you didn’t want to be anywhere near it when they fired it up because it really was just like a jet engine and it had all the the audio capabilities and all the features. So it really sounded like a jet engine. So you didn’t want to be anywhere near Munich fire to an

**Michael Coughlin ** 21:57
an aircraft acoustics was a huge part of the work that was done there. And air airport acoustics and they were just in a lot of acoustics but our little group was in submarine acoustics and, and kept us busy. Working at BBN was great in that they were a Mac House, everybody used maps. They put a Macintosh on my desk. It had the ability to magnify what I wanted to see and do text to speech. Even though it’s a bit cumbersome, in that you had to copy things paste and whatever. But But I got good at that. I was able to use that computer to do word I could do Excel spreadsheets. I could do graph view graphs. I could do program planning, you name it. All of a sudden the world of the PC was opened to me, thanks to the Mac. And my career at BBN span 20 years. It was it was a great place. They were very early adopters in a lot of technology exposed to a lot of it early emails. They were one of the first companies to to use email. In fact, the fella that put the at sign in email name worked at BBN Ray Tomlinson, so that that was the place but after 20 years, because they were a true consulting firm and fairly expensive rates. And the government was competing on a cost basis. And so eventually I was in a situation where I was looking for a job. And friend of mine at BBN suggested a fella he knew at Boeing might want to buy mica job. And that led to a situation where they their group who was doing work and underwater vehicles, were located on the west coast, wanted somebody on the East Coast who did similar work. And so I was hired as a tech rep, where I would represent the group on the west coast, but I would interact with their Prime customers on the East Coast, one of whom was General Dynamics electric boat, and so my location in Groton was, was great. So what I thought would be about a four three or four year experiment with Boeing ended up as a 20 plus year career with Boeing. And I, they too, were a great employer. They provided me with up to date, closed circuit TVs, they made sure that I my laptop had the best software it turned out by that time. In the PC world. There were software there were things like Jaws and zoom texts. And so I they had Zoom Text on my machine. I was stopped into the internet anywhere I went. And I had closed circuit TVs, both at their facility in California and at my house. And by that time, you could put the library of the blind cassettes into Walkman size machines. So it was easy to carry that along on my travels. And for what was what 20 plus years I had a great career with them as as a tech rep. I was no longer now you had mentioned sales. My father and brother are sales people he was a sales engineer, my brother was a salesman and so is light all his career. My case not so much being in Myers Brigg ISTJ, which stands for introvert a bit. Sales was always a pressure job to me. And as a manager, by that time at BBN have have managed managed the Department of 40 engineers and scientists, the whole job was get more work sales. That was a pressure position for me, when I switched to BBN and I was nothing but a an engineer in the field with no sales pressure and work at all times. I loved it just lower pay less pressure, but I prospered. i I’m sure I was a huge help to them. Because every year my contract or the thought of me coming on for another year came up. Different supervisors wanted me and I just stayed in I was there for over 20 years. And it was it was kind of career where I was traveling a lot. And I enjoyed traveling. And I could get by in airports with little monoculars and asking questions and remembering the Airport layout. So I didn’t get lost. And I just got by. Great. And as that careers continued through 20 plus years, and I was getting older, the subject of retirement began to crop in. I talked to my supervisor, you know, I’m at an age where retirement is something I might want to think about. Nope, nope. Well, I went from five day weeks to 40 weeks to three day weeks always saying I want to get out now. And finally they said, Well, if you can find a replacement, then we’ll talk about it. So I was fortunate and able to find somebody I thought was good at it as today. And so then they put me on as a consultant for another year and a half on Tuesday weeks. And finally I was able to retire. What year was that? He retired? Yes. And that’s where I am today.

**Michael Hingson ** 27:42
But what year did you retire?

**Michael Coughlin ** 27:45

  1. Okay. During my time at Boeing, which I thought the career itself was fantastic. There were some times good and bad. I, my, my daughter and her husband gave us two grandchildren, Chloe and Evan. However, after many, many years, my first wife Judy succumbed to cancer. And that was tough. And when you are seeing some of that now, I’m sure, but in any case, after that, there’s some low points and whatever I met Karen, my current wife, we, we went out for a few years and eventually we’re married and, and everything has just turned back around the way it was. I’m happy. I’m retired. Her daughter has given us a grandchild ESMI who’s now two and a half, almost three. And we are enjoying life.

**Michael Hingson ** 28:42
So how long have you guys been married?

**Michael Coughlin ** 28:45
This will be it was just 10 years we were we were married in 2012. Newlyweds?

**Michael Hingson ** 28:50
Almost. Yeah. Well, I’m curious. What. So you, you clearly had a rich life you’d have the life that you enjoyed. But what do you think about the fact that early on? They did not that that no one the ophthalmologists and others didn’t give you any access to assistive technology didn’t give you more access to understanding about blindness and so on. And I don’t ask that to say what a horrible thing but rather just what do you think about it? Now looking back on hindsight is always a wonderful thing. Looking back,

**Michael Coughlin ** 29:34
I almost angry. At the time, I thought everything was fine. But when you look back, I believe. Number one, I think a lot of eye doctors are great if they can help you but if they can’t help you, they tend to push you off to the side. And I think that was a little of it. And it maybe was just the fact that in the URL The days even though I had macular and I couldn’t see printed and everything I saw well enough to get by. And I’m just thinking they figured, well, he’s doing okay, whatever they should have done way more. And maybe even my parents should have done more. But But I don’t I even looking back feel that in some sense the fact that I had to hold things up here to read was almost embarrassing to them, they they didn’t grasp the concept of a young person not saying well, it just didn’t grasp it. And unfortunately, since we were in the middle of Indiana, and there really weren’t Apparently, people with very much knowledge of the subject. It just happened. And I just hope today, that way more attention is paid to people, the few juveniles that are limited sight, because I’m sure I could have had a fuller experience in life, if I at least had been exposed to talking books at a younger age.

**Michael Hingson ** 31:14
Here are a lot of us who believe that it is so unfortunate that more of us also did not get the opportunity to learn braille, because right is outcomes, the basic means of reading and writing.

**Michael Coughlin ** 31:30
I understand I agree completely. And so here I am having to sit here with my closed circuit TV, off to the right with about 40 power magnification in order to be able to see my notes, hey, I have a fellow in our, at the center of the blind Kevin, who is a braille reader and, and he’s totally blind, but he has the Braille and he can sit at a meeting and read what he needs by reading it in Braille, when I’m at those meetings, I can’t read anything. You can’t, I cannot see any print, I just always have to rely on what I hear or ask questions.

**Michael Hingson ** 32:13
So you’re seeing reality, the advantage that we had was being blind people than if we do read braille, and so on, for not the advantages that we can look at meetings from a different perspective, which I love to talk about which, namely, is, if people are doing meetings truly the right way, they would provide everyone the information in advance of the meeting, so that people could read this stuff with the idea, then you can prepare and then you go to the meeting, and you can discuss it rather than spending half the meeting reading the information. Yep, well, they

**Michael Coughlin ** 32:50
do that fortunately, times. Case of the center, I gather all of the information they’re going to pass out as Word documents earlier, and I do go through them.

**Michael Hingson ** 33:02
But what I’m saying is they should really do that for everyone, rather than passing out information at the meeting. People should get it in advance so that nobody has to read it at the meeting, rather use the meeting to be more efficient. So that’s a lesson we could teach them which, which a lot of people really haven’t caught on to yet understood. It does make life a little bit of a challenge. But I’m glad that that your your work at the Center will tell me a little bit about your work at the center and how you got involved in what the center is all about.

**Michael Coughlin ** 33:34
Right? Well, it’s my second time involved being involved with the center of the Blind in New London. First, the first interaction came about in in probably the late mid mid to late 90s, when we had a macular degeneration support group in Waterford, that that was started by a fellow’s a friend Duncan Smith since passed. And, and I ended up as president of the group. And it was it was a pretty active group for about 10 years. And we brought people in that had macular and tried to provide him with information. And as part of that the center of the blind was one of the participants and their lead person helped us get speakers and so there’s sort of a three to four person group as the lead and and that center lead person was one of those. I can tell you what her name was, but I forgotten it is too many years ago. So when I retired and I’m trying to think of giving back and doing things that what what can I do also I should have mentioned that not only they work with a senator I also at one point in time was a reader On the advisory group for the State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, where I’d attend meetings and from a reader point of view, try to help them with their services. And I was on the board of directors for Chris radio, which is a radio service that reads newspapers and periodicals to people. So I’ve done a few of those kinds of things as well. But now I’m retired, I say, I want to be able to give back to some degree and, and so I thought of the Senator and gave them a call. They looked up their webpage, and there’s a phone number I gave a call, talk to the Executive Director, Wendy Lusk. And she said, we’d love to have you come down and talk so. So I did, Karen and I went down. And we sat and talked to Wendy and, and Tammy, the assistant and said, well, might I be able to do. And after a little discussion, the concept of a support group for macular degeneration came up. And they didn’t have such a thing. And they thought that would be a worthwhile project that they should put into their calendar. And that’s what we’ve done. So I, every first Wednesday of the month, get together with others who are interested in. And the primary focus is learning how to use cell phones, because the new cell phones or smartphones and iPhones and also that others are pretty hard for people who are beginning to lose their sight. And they don’t have an understanding of some of the assistive aids that are in the phone. So that’s what we do. We spend a couple hours just answering questions and presenting information that I pick up over the web on things their smartphone can do for them. And as as that went and started gaining traction, Wendy asked me if I wanted to be on the board. And I said I’d be glad to do that and was elected to the board a couple of months back. So I’m on the board of directors as well as running that support group.

**Michael Hingson ** 37:17
Do you think that let’s deal with the pathological world? Do you think that attitudes have changed very much in terms of how I doctors handled blindness and blind people today over, say 40 years ago?

**Michael Coughlin ** 37:35
Well, a little better. I mean, I have a fella now Dr. Parker I’ve been seeing for when, when Kaplan sold his practice, Dr. Parker took it over, I go to see him. He, he tries to keep me appraised of any new emerging things in the way of AI specialists, and what they may be doing for people with low vision. But, but they’re more on the scientific side, and he really doesn’t have any, any of the low vision aids, you have to go to a separate guy for that. And I’ve gone through those things so many times. That? I don’t know, right? I would say better, but not great. Yeah,

**Michael Hingson ** 38:29
what, what I have found and having significant conversations with people is that still all too often, if you go to an ophthalmologist, and it’s discovered that for whatever reason, you’re losing eyesight, and they can’t do anything about it. They consider it a failure. And they just walk out sorry, there’s nothing we can do and that we haven’t seen enough of an awareness raising in the eye care world, where people recognize that just because you can’t see it’s not the end of the world and you can still be just as productive as you otherwise might have been accepted when you use different techniques. And, and a lot of state rehabilitation agencies are somewhat in the same sort of boat, they don’t really ultimately do the things that they could do to better prepare people for having a positive attitude about blindness when they’re losing their son.

**Michael Coughlin ** 39:31
Yeah, I think that’s true, although Connecticut, their agency is called WSB. The Bureau for the education of the blind and and they’re pretty good. I just actually had a SB fella come to my house to give me a how do you use a cane training? I’ve never used a cane. And it’s part part of our macular sport group. Discussion. One of the fellas in They’re mentioned the, what he called his ID cane. And that was a term I’d never heard him. And what do you mean by that? And he said, Well, he said, because he has macular like me, said, I still see well enough to get around. But I’m tired of explaining to people they don’t see very well. And so I got an I A cane, white cane, which you’re legally able to use. And he said, the one I have is a little shorter, because I don’t really need it as two more people with less vision. And it helps people understand that I don’t see very well

**Michael Hingson ** 40:37
in the answers. And the answer is even with an ID cane, that works until it doesn’t. I know, I know, a guy who lived in I think it was Mount Laurel, New Jersey, and will take the train to Philadelphia every day, when he was losing his eyesight and the New Jersey Commission gave him a cane. But they also continued to emphasize eyesight a lot. And they didn’t really convey to him the true importance of learning to use a cane as he’s losing his eyesight. So one day, he was walking along the side of the New Jersey Transit train to go into the car to find a seat and involved process to Philadelphia. And key he turned in where the where he saw the openings for the car, and promptly fell between two cars. And then the train started to move and they got stopped and got him out. If he had been using his cane that would never have happened. And he became an avid cane user after that. Right.

**Michael Coughlin ** 41:48
Great. And I completely understand that. And and I’m using it more and more. No doubt.

**Michael Hingson ** 41:56
Yeah, there’s and the problem is that people just all too often think it’s a horrible thing and makes you look weird. Well, you know, there are a lot of things that all sorts of people use that make them look different than other people, that doesn’t mean that they’re less people.

**Michael Coughlin ** 42:12
I actually had an experience a while back, which made the use of the cane even more, it highlighted it a little more is a number we were going back and forth to the Caribbean for a few years at on vacation at the Sandals Resort, and we got to the airport in Antigua getting ready to fly home. And since I don’t see very well, I always will go up to the attendant at the ticket counter and say, you know, I’m visually disabled, can’t see I really need early boarding we could cause legs, feet and other things trip me and I I’d like to get into a seat before the crowd arrives. And the first thing she did is looked at me and said, You’re not blind, you know. And, and I was stunned. But but said yes, I am I cannot see. And they let me show. All right. All right. So after that in airports, I started at least wearing dark glasses. That helped a little bit with a cane. It’s even at least then you have a claim to your claim, having to pull out the piece of paper from the state that says I’m legally blind. I have one of those, but that’s kind of going a little too far. So I do find it a little bit more helpful.

**Michael Hingson ** 43:39
Well, of course, what you discovered, the more you use a cane is the better traveler you are. And that helps you get around. Yes. Now as you know, I happen to use a guide dog. In fact, I didn’t use either a cane or a guide. Well Mark cane or guide until I was 14 when I got the guideline. I never learned to use a cane until I was 18. But I discovered that I could teach anyone to use a cane in five minutes, but teaching people to have the competence to use a cane takes months because one is just a technique which you can learn easily the other is developing an attitude and developing the true awareness of that you know where you are and what’s around you and how to recover from getting lost and and other such things like that along the way. That’s a whole different animal entirely. Absolutely. But nevertheless, it’s it’s doable. So I still mostly use guide dog but there are some times that I’ll leave the puppy dog at home or if I’m just stepping out a little bit leave the dog tied down and I’ll use a cane but that doesn’t happen very often. And certainly when I travel Alamo who is not a current guide dog comes with ready to go so We just returned from a weekend Israel doing work and all that, and he needed fine. And even on the long airplane flight to and from Israel, He did really well. Excellent. You know, it’s, it is a matter of learning to use the skills that that we have. That

**Michael Coughlin ** 45:19
is That is true. And in my case technology has been my savior. Sure, closer to TVs, the books on tape, and the fact that computers now have text to speech and magnification. Without it without those. I would not have had an engineering career I don’t believe. So

**Michael Hingson ** 45:44
what do you use to read books today?

**Michael Coughlin ** 45:48
I do. I use my iPad. I have the bard application, which is the current app that’s put out by the library. handicapper, I think they changed their name recently, but it’s the same thing. And so I download books through them, and use the iPad, to read the books to me, I don’t have to use a recorder anymore. It’s and I can do the same thing on my iPhone. So.

**Michael Hingson ** 46:23
So now of course, you have the ability to navigate through those books a whole lot more than you used to.

**Michael Coughlin ** 46:28
Yes, because the again, I’m an apple person, but on my iPad, I can magnify the screen very easily. So downloading books is a little cumbersome, but not bad. And then I can pick whatever book I want to listen to and with Bluetooth headphones, or what I air pods or whatever they call them and listen to those without bothering anybody else.

**Michael Hingson ** 46:53
Yeah. And again, the other neat thing is that you can skip around in a book, which is something that you couldn’t do before, right now with the advantage of the DAISY format and so on you can which is a format, which is kind of an ePub environment. But you can literally skip around the book by chapter or any number of levels. Yep.

**Michael Coughlin ** 47:15
And, and not only do I use that app, but I also have downloaded books on audible. Occasionally, if I can’t find where I wanted, or, or iBooks it’s now called something else. But and so some of the books he can’t get it the library right away, you can you can go on and pay for him. And but mostly, it’s through the the Library for the Blind. Certainly, that’s where I found the underdog. So

**Michael Hingson ** 47:45
what do you think overall has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

**Michael Coughlin ** 47:49
If you go back and look, to me, the biggest obstacle was the invent the advent of the PC, and getting to use a PC. When, when I was moving along in my career, and early on, I did a lot of software engineering. But I was back in the earliest days, it was key punches. And all of that I got by then as they started using terminals, but simple terminals, I could have the software printed out, I could use the CCTV to see it, I could make changes to the software and have others enter it. It was everything was slow back then. But when the PC came along, it became an individual tool that everybody used, you had to be able to use it and and as I said it was Doug, Hannah and my good golfing buddy now who, who figured out how to use that with text to speech and magnification. And that just opened up the whole world of the personal computer, which which is today I mean MATLAB and other pieces of software you have to use. It made it available to me, had I not been able to make that jump into the PC world, I think I would have really been hampered on my ability to continue as an engineer or an engineering manager.

**Michael Hingson ** 49:20
So you’re not too bothered by the fact that there was a time that Bill Gates said that 640 K is all you’d ever need. And we have Emory.

**Michael Coughlin ** 49:29
Well, you know, I remember using before Yeah. And I remember when the very first Mac’s came out, they only had two floppy drives and no hard drives. So I had

**Michael Hingson ** 49:45
a my first computer that I really use it all was Xerox sigma seven. We also had an OS born from my wife even before that, but it had the Xerox had two eight inch floppies no hard drive 64k and What was it? Yeah, you know, but amazing. I

**Michael Coughlin ** 50:03
mean, the technology has just moved so fast. And, and the fast moving technology is great. And it’s frustrating. Because a lot of the people that develop it’s because now they can write software that does everything. The concept and of course you work for a company that that’s very attuned to that fact, is that much of the stuff they throw out there now is very hard to use. If you’re visually disabled,

**Michael Hingson ** 50:34
you’d have visual issues there. The awareness has not grown like it needs to to make sure that all that stuff is inclusive. Absolutely.

**Michael Coughlin ** 50:42
And it as fast as the technology is moving it. The accessibility features of software, to me are falling further and further behind. Even though there’s more and more people that seemed to work in the field of accessibility. I think they’re still not moving fast enough. And it is frustrating I had, I mentioned that one of the other obstacles that are countered, over the years when I was working at Boeing. Computer Training was becoming easy. And everybody had to take seven or eight computers, courses through the year and be qualified in things like obstacle don’t leave obstacles and jet engines in called FOD and foreign object detection and on and on. And, and those courses were originally written by the various divisions and by people who got told make a course. And so they might dig up a course making pieces of software, whatever. And when they would finish it and put it out to everybody. Many of them wouldn’t work with screen readers. And not only Weren’t they work with screen readers, and they didn’t redo the text, they’d have little tests you had to pass. And those certainly didn’t work for the screen reader. And they were very, very frustrating. And I ran across to fellow at Boeing corporate, who became a friend and his father who had macular and he was really sensitive to that fact. And between the two of us we, we fought tooth and nail to get a standard a corporate standard on for courses put in place that included the fact that you had to be able to access the course with a screen reader took about five years for for that standard to finally be propagated throughout Boeing. And even when they did, I ran across the fire protection course where it wasn’t in place. And I couldn’t do that test and this. So you have to fight for that stuff. There’s no doubt about it.

**Michael Hingson ** 52:55
There are times that you do things to draw the line and say, look, you’ve got to make this inclusive.

**Michael Coughlin ** 53:01
Great. Absolutely. It’s getting better. I mean, I mean, at least if you stand up and squawk about it, there are people who will listen more than they used to.

**Michael Hingson ** 53:13
Yeah, well and I think we’re slowly raising awareness and it’s a it’s a challenge. consumer organizations are helping and we’re we’re we’re now getting people to recognize it more much less that it really is part of the law the Americans with Disabilities Act really is more comprehensive than people want it sometimes to get credit for. And sometimes we have sites where it is still happening.

**Michael Coughlin ** 53:40
Oh yeah. And and sometimes it just happens when you don’t think about it we had when I was at the Boeing facility in California and they had been California it’s always beautiful as you know. And and so stairways for buildings are often outside and inside stairways and we had a nice building and an out big, big wide outside stairway and they came in and put in new a new surface on the top step of the third floor landing so you wouldn’t slip and a just as they did it, they covered up that yellow stripe that marked the top step and that next day I almost stepped right off into an clobbered down a flight of stairs, got my supervisor and said hey, help me an appointment and we she took me right over to the safety people within this was in Huntington Beach and today a day later they had a yellow stripe on the top

**Michael Hingson ** 54:40
of that step car alternative that is which you didn’t really have access to at the time was 30 Days came back. Which is another story of course I agree. But at

**Michael Coughlin ** 54:51
that time, I was not. Right. Right. Look for yellow stripes, because I could see that much But anyhow.

**Michael Hingson ** 55:02
So what what do you do for extra curricular activities in such out of work like sports and so on? Yeah,

**Michael Coughlin ** 55:09
I, I love sports. When I was younger, I could play other few others like I never could be a baseball player with a little ball moving real fast, or a tennis player. But But I did like to play football because I was big enough to be a blocker and part of that team. And I played basketball, because basketball is pretty big. I played that least through college but but I was very fortunate in that my father, as an engineer had a medium kind of income and belonged to we belong to a country club in Fort Wayne. And the golf pro, there was a big advocate of teaching young kids how to play golf. So I started learning golf when I was about eight years old, and have always played golf. It got harder when I couldn’t see the golf ball very well. I became eventually became a member of the US blind Golfers Association. I still am a member, they have a well, it was at the time a DVD. Now I think it’s an online thing. It’s a course for coaches of blind golfers. And they adopted the term coach, but I don’t know helper to whatever the sighted person is about the blind golfer. And I show my friends that and, and pretty quickly, they figured out well, let’s see, we’ve got to help him line the ball up in the middle of his clubface and point out where the hole is. And, and then there’s these new range finders, the one I have talked. And so I push a button, it says your 180 yards. And so between a friend Nirn learning how to be a coach, and that I’m still an avid golfer, I play that a couple times a week. And if I have a good round, and I play from the senior tees, because I’m definitely senior, I still can once in a while break at which is a very, I think a very good score. And then I love to swim. And we had a swim team at that club and I from about age eight to 15 or something I was into competitive swimming. And now we have a pool and I swim every day in the summer. So

**Michael Hingson ** 57:23
So is is Karen a golfer?

**Michael Coughlin ** 57:27
No. It was the last week. We thought about that once but it didn’t go over too.

**Michael Hingson ** 57:33
Well. You try Yeah. Now you have,

**Michael Coughlin ** 57:36
of course also love sports on television where I have a big TV and sit close my my passion of course is Notre Dame football. And for the people that see a video, the back screen of my my video is a picture I took of the Notre Dame Stadium football field when I was back at my 50th college reunion.

**Michael Hingson ** 58:01
So Oh, go ahead.

**Michael Coughlin ** 58:04
Well, I was gonna say they improve the stadium immensely since I was there. And there’s a big area up at the top where you they have banquets and and you entertain and and so our class that was where we had our 50th anniversary dinner. And so he couldn’t be looking over the stadium and I took a picture and put it in my Zoom background. So so they

**Michael Hingson ** 58:28
still talk to you. They still talk to you even though you’ve got some advanced degree work from USC, and Miami and Miami, USC even more than Miami. But yeah,

**Michael Coughlin ** 58:40
well there was a time Miami and Notre Dame went like that. Now it’s not but USC Of course. And I tell people that but I I have never had bad vibes over the fact I have advanced degrees from

**Michael Hingson ** 58:55
C See, I love to tell the story that when my wife and I got married, the church didn’t fill up until 12 minutes after the wedding was supposed to start, I suppose started for and and for 12 crowds came in and Only later did we learned that everyone was still sitting out in your pliers waiting for the end of the USC Notre Dame game. Of course. Again, I want to point out that my wife, of course, is an SE grad she did her master’s work there. And of course I have to point out that we won, which proves that God was really on our side that day. Just say sometimes,

**Michael Coughlin ** 59:30
you know the story of one of the Notre Dame Miami games where they had the great dinner or breakfast before the game and and when they the University of Miami Chaplain got up and said that well, you all know that God is not doesn’t take sides in football. And so we’ll both pray and see who the better team wins and Lou Holtz, then the coach Scott up and said, Yeah, you’re completely right. God is not involved. But his mother is.

**Michael Hingson ** 1:00:08
Good answer. Yeah, only Luke could do that. That’s the neat thing about good college football rivalries. Absolutely. Always find that. That’s

**Michael Coughlin ** 1:00:19
kind of my sports, fat, passion for, for television, and then golf and swimming or my dad,

**Michael Hingson ** 1:00:26
I grew up listening to the Dodgers. And of course, we’re spoiled. We have been Skelly who I still know them. Yes, yes. The best announcer that ever is when was and probably will be in. So I learned baseball from him. There’s a lot of fun listening to him. And

**Michael Coughlin ** 1:00:43
posters where Claire and I are now. I’ve been converted. She’s from Boston. So we’re Red Sox fans. So this weekend, they’re playing each other. Well,

**Michael Hingson ** 1:00:53
and then in days gone by in basketball. We had Chick Hearn, and of course, Boston had Johnny most.

**Michael Coughlin ** 1:00:59
Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

**Michael Hingson ** 1:01:03
Johnny is, Johnny was certainly a character. Well, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this today. It was was fun to do. I’m glad that we got a chance to really chat and do all of this. It was a sort of, when I invited you and said we got to do this, you know, I really appreciate you doing it. But it was was fun to take that that leap and and make it happen. So I’m really grateful that you are able to come and now that you’re retired, that you can just do the things that you want to do and continue to grow and continue to support people who are blind getting more of the services they need.

**Michael Coughlin ** 1:01:43
Yep, I fully intend to do that.

**Michael Hingson ** 1:01:47
Well, I want to express my appreciation. And for those of you listening, love to hear what you think about our podcast episode today. Please feel free to email me Michaelhi at accessibe A c c e s s i b e.com Or go to our podcast page www dot Michael Hingson H i n g s o n.com/podcast. And we’d love to hear your thoughts. I would definitely appreciate a five star rating from you wherever you’re listening to the podcast. And you know, Michael, is there a way that people can contact you if they want to talk with you more and just get more of your insights?

Or they could email me my email is start. So my initials are for Michael Joseph MJ. And then part of my last name, so it’s mjcoughl@aol.com.

**Michael Coughlin ** 1:02:37
And AOL users still Still,

**Michael Coughlin ** 1:02:38
I I have to use Gmail when AOL fails me, but But I hang on to that AOL because it goes back a long way.

**Michael Hingson ** 1:02:57
So do the email address one more time? Am

**Michael Coughlin ** 1:03:03

**Michael Hingson ** 1:03:10
Well, Michael Coughlin, I really appreciate your time. And this was fun. And we have so many similarities, we’re roughly the same age and we’ve been through a lot of the same experiences. So it’s a lot of fun to to be able to reminisce like this and give people I think, some insights as to why things were and how we’re progressing. So I just want to thank you one more time for being here and we’ll have to try to do it again in the future.

**Michael Coughlin ** 1:03:38
Enjoy it and hopefully we can try to stay in touch.

**Michael Hingson ** 1:03:45
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit
. AccessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for Listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.

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