Tim Mahoney

January 2014

IRID is proud to dedicate this month’s interpreter focus column to Timothy Mahoney, winner of the IRID 2013 Distinguished Service award! Tim reports to us his history with ASL, his work as an interpreter, and his dedication to the Deaf community.

IRID is proud to dedicate this month’s interpreter focus column to Timothy Mahoney, winner of the IRID 2013 Distinguished Service award! Tim reports to us his history with ASL, his work as an interpreter, and his dedication to the Deaf community.

Timothy Mahoney is the Director of the Sorenson VRS® (SVRS®) call center in downtown Chicago. According to Tim, “Because of the demand for videophones and mobile apps, finding quality Video Relay Service (VRS) interpreters continues to be a priority,” he says in his gentle baritone. He is always looking to hire qualified interpreters to work in the Chicago office. Tim joined Sorenson Communications, the leading provider of VRS, in October 2006. According to Tim, “The honeymoon phase has still not worn off!” There are many reasons for this. The first reason is that, according to Tim, SVRS is like a “big family.” Upper management anticipates VIs’ needs and works hard to address them. They pride themselves on continuous interpreter support and professional workshops. They even offer chair massages once a month! Tim works hard to recruit and manage his growing team of interpreters who work at this large downtown call center. The center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Tim first learned to sign from a deaf cousin. Also, he attended public school at the cluster site of the local self-contained deaf program. He grew up with the mainstreamed deaf kids in his school, which planted the seed for his future career. He quickly learned sign and was “hooked.” After High School, Tim attended seven different colleges, but only finished one: the police academy in Texas. He worked in Texas as a police officer, from 1994-2000. Alas, Tim found the polyester uniforms and bullet-proof vests too much for him to endure in 115-degree heat. He was 100 pounds overweight and miserable.

While working as a Police Officer, Tim also worked as a behavior manager at the Texas School for the Deaf, a job he adored. “I loved that job!” he says. This job was the perfect mesh between his two careers, and one that allowed him to use both of his skill sets. He was satisfied with his work, however, something was missing. He decided to move back to the good old Midwest. Returning to Chicago, he completed his advanced ISAS interpreting credential and went to work as a freelance interpreter. He also worked at a temp agency. He eventually took the National RID NIC test and was granted his Master (Silver) license.

Tim has volunteered his time and many talents to the Chicago Club of the Deaf, Illinois RID, Illinois Deaf Latino Association (IDLA), Windy City Rainbow Alliance, CAIRS, Anixter Center and more. Some of his notable achievements include serving his professional organization, IRID, for 10 years, as the CMP. He also taught computer classes for deaf clients at the Anixter Center’s literacy center. Tim worked and volunteered at the Chicago Club for the Deaf, as an interpreter, member of the Board, editor, webmaster, bartender and anything else. Tim was awarded the Anixter Outstanding Volunteer distinction for all of his time and service to the members of Chicago’s Deaf Community. This year, the IRID granted Tim the 2013 Outstanding Service Award for his history and commitment to the Deaf Community. The Board is pleased to officially grant him this distinction.

We thank Tim for his service to the community and to his fellow interpreters. IRID members and board are proud to know and to have worked professionally with Tim Mahoney. His dedication to the field is an inspiration to us all. Thanks, Tim!