An Interview with Sam Hawk of Hawk Relay on $150,000 Sponosorship

The Laurent Institute, a non-profit 501c3 organization, received a major boost in the form of $150,000 a year sponsorship. Hawk Relay hopes to extend the sponsorship for additional 3 years for a total of possible $600,000! This all depends on Hawk Relay’s growth in call volume. More calls they process, the more money they can give to The Laurent Institute.

Some of you may ask, “Why would they be that generous?” I decided to interview Sam Hawk of Hawk Relay. Here’s the interview. Enjoy!

Marvin Miller: Can you tell us a little about Hawk Relay?

Sam Hawk: Hawk Relay is the first and only deaf and hard of hearing owned and operated relay service provider. Hawk Relay currently provides video relay service (VRS) and we pride ourselves in providing our own communities with high quality video interpreters to support consumers’ telecommunication needs. Hawk Relay does not focus on specific videoconferencing equipments and this enables us to focus wholly on ensuring that our consumer experiences the finest service level every time.

MM: Why did you decide to start Hawk Relay even though there are plenty of other competitors?

SH: I am not sure if I would agree that there are plenty of other competitors. Hawk Relay was born when a gentleman visited me a year ago and asked, “Why don’t you start a relay service?” This gentleman argued that the relay service industry has grown more than 10 times since the inception of the ADA and the benefits of the deaf and hard of hearing communities had not grown at the same pace. The influx of private businesses entering the VRS industry in the recent years poses a real, imminent danger for further reduction of benefits. Additionally, as a VRS consumer myself, I have observed a serious decline in quality of service as the industry blossoms. Being directly involved in the industry as a VRS provider allows me, through the Hawk Relay team, to respond to consumer expectations and demands for continuing service level enhancements.

MM: Where do you see Hawk Relay going in the next 2 to 3 years?

SH: I see Hawk Relay being the top player in the industry. The Hawk Relay team has been working hard to develop exciting new technologies that allows consumers to experience a whole new level of telecommunication access. Unfortunately, I am not able to discuss those new technologies but I tell you, the stuff Hawk Relay is developing is truly eye-popping and we are very excited about bringing them into the market.

MM: What on earth possessed you to sponsor The Laurent Institute and our efforts to build world’s first fully integrated town for signers?

SH: Signing communities provides greater opportunities for employment and business ownership among the deaf and hard of hearing—how can one not want to support the endeavor?

MM: What do you hope to see come out of this sponsorship?
SH: That the community is developed as quickly as possible. From my communications with the board of The Laurent Institute, it seems your group is just weeks away from announcing the opening of the first signing community. I expect at least 100 new jobs for the deaf and hard of hearing to be created in the first year of the community and this will create unprecedented opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to try their hands in starting and running a business. When — not to be confused with if — this happens, the Hawk Relay team will be content that the goal of the sponsorship arrangement has been accomplished.

MM: Any other thoughts you’d like to share with our supporters?

SH: Hawk Relay delights in making the impossible happen. Hawk Relay is the first deaf owned and operated relay service provider, previously thought impossible. We are a proud sponsor of who serves over 5000 unique visitors daily, a number previously thought impossible within the deaf and hard of hearing niche, and ASL Films, who has produced a full-length feature film in ASL utilizing only deaf and hard of hearing talents throughout the entire production process, also said to be impossible. Hawk Relay strives to create a sense that deaf people not just can do anything, but deaf people can do the impossible.

MM: Thanks!

SH: Thank you for having me today!

4 Responses to “An Interview with Sam Hawk of Hawk Relay on $150,000 Sponosorship”

  1. DeafSpook Says:

    Cool =) Technically, Hawk Relay can stake for a claim as the first-ever Deaf-owned Relay Service. I don’t know if I’m right or wrong but It’s my understanding that Hawk Relay is not the only Deaf-owned Relay Service.

  2. Tom Willard Says:

    Can you please clarify whether this $150,000 donation is a done deal or whether it is based entirely on how many people use Hawk Relay to make their calls? Seems to me there’s a difference between a $150,000 donation and the potential to donate up to $150,000 if business goes well — but it doesn’t seem clear here from the writing. Thanks.

  3. marvmiller Says:

    Up to $150,000 based on Hawk Relay’s call volume. The more they handle, the more they can give us, but its not tied to a specific performance on our part. We encourage everyone who wants to support our vision to use Hawk Relay. Thanks!

  4. somone wondering Says:

    Deafspook, who is the other “Deaf-owned Relay Service”?

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