Disability Champion and PATF CEO Susan Tachau Retires
Lifelong disability advocate and CEO of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), Susan Tachau, is retiring on September 30, 2022.
In her new role as PATF’s Chief Innovations Officer, she will work on special projects and advocacy activities.
During Tachau’s tenure as CEO, the organization has established itself as the leading Alternative Financing Program (AFP) in the US, continually providing more loans and extending more capital each year for the purchase of assistive technology than any other AFP, and offering information and assistance to thousands more Pennsylvanians, helping them access alternative funding resources.
With Tachau’s steadfast advocacy, PATF has also had significant impact among Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), helping to secure more federal funding for CDFIs to serve the disability community, and educating CDFIs on best practices.
In 2021, Tachau was an AARP Purpose Prize Winner, an award that recognizes people 50-plus who are using their knowledge and life experience to solve tough social problems.
In the same year, Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) recognized Tachau’s CDFI work with the Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance, the highest individual honor in the CDFI industry.
Last year, the Institute on Financial Literacy presented PATF with the Non-Profit Organization of the Year 2021 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Award, for PATF’s one-of-a-kind financial education curriculum, Cents and Sensibility, tailored to the needs of people with disabilities.
In a push to serve more people, Tachau founded Appalachian Assistive Technology Loan Fund, a subsidiary to PATF, so that people with disabilities in nearby states will have access to affordable financing for assistive technology.
Building up PATF and advocating for people with disabilities has been Tachau’s life’s work. Tachau described the source of this wellspring of passion for this work.
“Our son, Michael, introduced me to the world of disability and the importance of community living, work, and connection to family and friends. Assistive technology can make this possible,” shares Tachau. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have worked alongside my dedicated colleagues to grow PATF from a small, fledgling organization to one that has helped more than 4,500 Pennsylvanians with loans worth almost $46 million.”
“I’m proud of our commitment to excellence and compassion, and the desire to expand our programs to meet the growing demands of the future. I’m confident that PATF’s good work will continue long after I retire.”
President of PATF’s Board of Directors, Nancy Murray, reflects on Susan’s announcement, “The Board is proud of Susan’s commitment, dedication, and achievements as PATF’s CEO for almost two decades. Susan has grown the organization into a formidable force for good in the world.”
PATF Board of Directors Appoint Ben Laudermilch as Chief Executive Officer
Seasoned executive Ben Laudermilch is PATF’s new CEO, as of September 6, 2022.
Most recently, Laudermilch served as the Vice President and Executive Director of Inglis Housing Corporation, where he established independent living communities for people with disabilities.
Prior to his tenure at Inglis, Laudermilch was the Special Assistant to the Secretary for the PA Department of Corrections, developing housing opportunities for reentering Pennsylvanians. Laudermilch also served as the Special Advisor to the Secretary of the PA Department of Human Services. For a decade prior, he worked for the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities in various roles, including Executive Director.
Laudermilch’s experience promoting the benefits of assistive technology is highlighted through projects that he has managed that integrated smart home technology (a form of assistive technology) into housing for people with disabilities and older adults.
“I am excited about this new chapter in my career and the life of PATF. For many years, I’ve been in roles that have intersected with the disability world, and this new position feels like a culmination of all the work I have done,” Laudermilch says.
“We are thrilled that Ben is joining the organization as CEO, bringing new skills and experiences that will take PATF into the future, into a new chapter,” says Nancy Murray, President of PATF Board of Directors.
In his role as CEO, Laudermilch will be growing PATF’s mission across Pennsylvania, working with public and private stakeholders and partners.
To assist with this transition, PATF has developed a new Strategic Plan and a comprehensive, state-of-the-art brand book – both of which will help guide the nonprofit for years to come.