Our ASL Interpreting Directors & Staff | Meet the Team

Michael J. Rizzolo
President and CEO

Michael Rizzolo learned sign language from several Deaf neighbors and became an interpreter while attending college at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). After graduation, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf hired Michael as a manager of Interpreting Services. This endeavor has been his profession and vocation ever since, and he openly expresses his love for it. But, after 12 years of managing and teaching, Michael was ready to welcome a new challenge.

Michael started Interpretek over 25 years ago with the goal of improving the quality of interpreting services for all stakeholders. The company focused on upgrading the services experienced by their Deaf and hearing consumers, the professional interpreters, and the employees of the company.

“I am proud to say we have successfully accomplished all three of these objectives. We are very proud of what we have built and continue to accomplish together,” says Michael. “We called ourselves Interpretek because we could see the impact that technology was going to play in the delivery of access services. We could not have predicted just how significant that would be.”

With every passing year the impact continues to grow and now Interpretek provides services all over the country and sometimes around the world. Michael is fortunate to have created a wonderful team of true professionals. Each colleague is committed to service excellence and enjoys the creativity required to bring quality services to the communities and customers served.

“I have the best job in the world!”

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Michelle Brewer
Director of Interpreting Services

Michelle Brewer is a nationally certified interpreter who has been with Interpretek since 2002. Originally from Rome, NY, she came to Rochester with the goal of becoming an Interpreter after obtaining AAS degrees in Chemical Dependency Counseling and Human Services. After graduating from National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) with her AAS degree in ASL-English Interpretation, she immediately began her career at Interpretek as a Coordinator.

Throughout her career in the Rochester, NY community, Michelle has been fortunate to take advantage of the opportunities presented to her by interpreting in a variety of settings. Also, she has proudly served on the board of the Genesee Valley Region of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (GVRRID), the Local Partner Advisory Board for The National Center for Deaf Health Research (NCDHR), and the Advisory Board for the American Sign Language and Interpreting Education (ASLIE) department at NTID.

Michelle is committed to Interpretek’s values and works to inspire and support others in doing the same. She has a passion for the Deaf community and interpreting community, as well as Interpretek’s consumers, customers, employees, and Interpretek as a whole. After serving various roles at Interpretek through the years, Michelle is currently a Director of Interpreting Services and leading three of the long-standing service areas.

Learn more about Michelle’s Teams!

Rochester, NY

Rome, NY

Kansas City, MO

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Emily Wallis
Director of Business Development

Emily Wallis has been interpreting professionally since 1999, becoming certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) in 2003. Her RID credentials include a Certificate of Interpretation, Certificate of Transliteration, National Interpreter Certification, as well as a K-12 Education Certification. She is recognized as being fully certified in interpretation and transliteration, having demonstrated the ability to interpret between American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English for both sign-to-voice and voice-to-sign tasks at a state and national level.

Emily is proudly multi-state licensed, offering her interpreting services in Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Missouri, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Her personal areas of speciality include interpreting for healthcare and mental health settings along with legal interpreting.

Emily is passionate about her work as Director of Business Development with Interpretek, enthusiastically supporting the professional development of all interpreters on the team. She enjoys the culture of the company and the important work she performs with her colleagues, welcoming the interesting and challenging work that awaits her each day.

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Lauren Lewis
Director of Interpreting Services

Lauren Lewis graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2008 with a BS in American Sign Language/English Interpreting, followed by a Masters of Education in Counseling and Student Affairs in 2010. One year later, Lauren became nationally certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and moved to Rochester, New York to experience the rich Deaf culture and wide array of interpreting opportunities available through Interpretek. Several years later, a unique opportunity arose in her home state of Pennsylvania and Lauren became the Regional Director of a brand new Interpretek office in Bloomsburg, PA.

For the past six years, Lauren has cultivated a great team while improving access to high quality interpreting services throughout the state. The growth and success of the office is a result of Lauren’s commitment to fostering relationships with the up-and-coming students from Bloomsburg University’s Interpreter Training Program and providing them with mentorship opportunities during their senior year. Many of the interns have grown to become staff interpreters and valued colleagues of Interpretek. Lauren’s goal is to continue expanding the number of qualified and professional interpreters in northeastern and central Pennsylvania in order to meet the needs of the diverse Deaf community.

In addition to her role with Interpretek, Lauren also serves as the Secretary of the Clifton R. Lewis Good Life Foundation. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization strives to improve the lives of individuals with muscular dystrophy by providing accessible equipment to families and funding research for a cure.

Learn more about the Bloomsburg team!

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Rick Wright
Director of Interpreting Services

Rick Wright is a nationally certified interpreter (CI/CT) who worked as a freelance interpreter with Sign Language Interpreting Specialists, Inc. (SLIS) for a decade before moving into the position of Project Manager of Interpreter Coordination. After coordinating for four years, Rick stepped into the role of Regional Director when SLIS became part of the Interpretek family.

”I had taken ASL courses at Xavier University, and one of the Deaf instructors, Maryann Barth, came up to me at the end of the first semester and said I had potential for interpreting as a career. I’m forever grateful to Maryann for that encouragement,” says Rick.

Rick obtained his AAS in sign language interpreting from Georgia Perimeter College, his BA in Communication from Oglethorpe University, and his MA in Communication from Georgia State University. Rick has served in various roles on the board of the Georgia Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (GaRID) and was honored to serve as a keynote speaker for GaRID’s conference in the past. Rick is a published writer and has presented on interpreting and Deaf culture at various national and regional conferences, including the Society for Disability Studies, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and the National Communication Association, where he won a top paper award. In addition to his experience in the field of interpreting, Rick brings nearly a decade of coordinating/logistics experience working with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Learn more about the Atlanta team!

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Chris Cupples
Director of Interpreting Services

Chris is a nationally certified interpreter with almost twenty years of experience. He began his interpreting journey in Milwaukee, WI. While working towards his B.A in Communications at Marquette University, Chris was exposed to ASL, the Deaf community, and interpreters through performing in a university theatrical production. This experience ignited the desire and passion to serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities and work towards equal and equitable access to communication and information for all.

Upon completing his undergraduate degree, Chris returned to school to attend the interpreter training program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He then moved to central Florida in 2006 where he has been a part of the Central Florida community ever since.

Chris has been involved in a variety of interpreting settings with a focus on post-secondary education and theatrical/musical performances. He is passionate about the interpreting profession focusing on mentoring, interpreter growth, and professional development.

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Allison Jordan
Director of Interpreting Services

Allison Jordan is a national certified interpreter who graduated from Siena Heights University in 2013 with a BS in American Sign Language/English Interpreting, followed by a Masters of American Sign Language/ English Interpreting in 2018. However, her foundation for professional interpreting began with the strong foundation the Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Interpreter Training Program provided her in 2012. She holds her National Interpreter Certification (NIC) and Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) with a level 4.8. When she is not working, Allison enjoys spending time with her family, running around at the dog park with her pup, and all things CrossFit.

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Join The Team

We are always on the lookout for dedicated employees interested in joining the Interpretek team as well as interpreters looking to work with us as independent contractors. Trust our reputation as one of the top ASL interpreting agencies in the industry.

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Discover the outstanding group of people that make up Interpretek, your reliable partner for ASL interpreting. For all of your ASL interpreting needs, we guarantee first-rate services from our committed specialists who offer a lot of expertise to the industry. Our vibrant staff at Interpretek is passionate about ASL interpreting and offers complete language solutions that are customized to meet your specific needs. This is what has built up our reputation as one of the top ASL interpreting agencies nationwide.