CPABE Expert Panel

Current Expert Panel Members 

Marnie Peters – CPABE Level 3 

As an accessibility consultant, Marnie brings the personal experience of a person with a disability, combined with nearly 20 years of cross-disability experience in the field. She has been the project manager on multiple complex Universal Design (UD) and auditing projects, and participated as a project team member on many others. Marnie is skilled at conducting architectural drawing reviews, participating in accessibility guidelines development, and carrying out accessibility training and presentations. She has developed comprehensive code comparison matrixes and participated in the development of accessibility standards. 

Marnie’s multi-disciplinary experience and collaborative nature, along with her fundamental belief that universal design and accessibility provide the foundation necessary for all good design, ensures she consistently addresses the needs persons with disabilities while respecting the client’s design. 

In addition to her work in the accessibility field, Marnie is a Paralympic and World Champion (Ret’d), having won gold medals at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, and the 2002 World Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan. 

Colette Fransolet - CPABE Level 3  

Colette Fransolet works as a Universal Access Consultant, mainly to local government and large corporations, and her areas of proficiency includes Public Transport, Built Environments and Policy. She strives to be the driving force for UD to maintain the importance of social integration and diversity of people in South Africa, which has a unique context with an embedded history of segregation. She is passionate about research and training and is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Cape Town. 

Andres Balcazar 

Andres Balcazar is a Mexico City based architect and consultant. He has been an accessibility and disability consultant for national and international organizations from the private, public, and civil society sectors. Currently he works for the Mexican Human Rights Commission as Director of Disability Affairs.  

His latest international assignments include participation in accessibility-related training for Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority staff (2019), the development of the Kuwait Universal Design Code for Architect Taghreed AlZubaidi (2017); coordinating GAATES’ team for developing the Dubai Universal Accessibility Strategy and Action Plan (2016). In 2015 he worked in Saudi Arabia with Al Modon Engineering Consultancy on accessibility training and buildings assessments. 

Previously he worked for the Mexican National Council for Persons with Disabilities, a federal government agency in charge of implementing disability related policies and programs, where he was in charge of coordinating specific taskforces at the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Education, the National Statistics Institute, and developing federal accessibility policies and regulations. 

He has participated in several published international research studies on disability and accessibility, including development of guidelines and standards, as well as accessibility assessments of several public and private facilities in Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai. 

Past Expert Panel Members and Program Founders 

Bob Topping – Canada 

Bob Topping is an architect and accessibility consultant. He is a member of the Ontario Association of Architects and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and is a founding member of the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES). Bob has focused his career on accessibility and inclusive design. 

Bob has over thirty years of experience practising and teaching architecture with a specialization and interest in the field of universal design. In his role as an accessibility consultant, Bob has assisted design teams realize the benefits of universal design and accessibility on projects within the transportation, justice, institutional, residential, commercial, education, health care, and entertainment sectors. 

Janett Jimenez Santos – Mexico 

Janett is an architect from Mexico City. She is an access consultant based in Mexico at Can Lah, SC. She is the Country Representative of Mexico for the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES). 

Her professional experience on accessibility for people with disabilities is on public buildings, public space, pedestrian crossings and public transport: on access audits, writing of technical specifications, making seminars and presentations for these topics. For example, she wrote the draft of the accessibility standard for services for the Federal Government of Mexico and a design guidelines to complement the standard. She opened a course on accessibility for the Masters of Architectural Design in a University in Mexico and coordinated a program for architectural students to do access audits of buildings with a methodology designed by her. 

She believes that a comprehensive approach involving these fields will achieve better mobility for all. Her projects involve working with organizations of people with disabilities and local government agencies. Her work has grown into a philosophy based on peoples rights, accessibility, usability, safety and inclusion. 

Betty Dion – Canada 

Betty Dion is a recognized International leader in accessibility of the built and virtual environments and has expertise in universal and accessible design which enables her to apply her understanding of design and human functioning. 

Betty is past member of the Canadian National Building Code Executive Committee and served for 15 years as the Chair of the Canadian Standards Association CSA/CAN B651 Accessibility of the Built Environment Standard. Betty represented Canada in the development of the first international standard on accessibility of the built environment and is the Chair of Canadian Advisory Committee to the ISO TC59/SC16 Accessibility and Usability of the Built Environment. 

Betty is the Founder and Past - President of the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), the leading International NGO dedicated to Universal Design and Accessibility. As a frequent speaker at the United Nations, Betty has presented widely on disaster preparedness, fire and life safety and universal design and accessibility in the areas of the built environment, assistive technologies and accessible transportation. 

Betty is the author of the international recognized seminal document International Best Practices in Universal Design: A Global Review (2005) and the International Best Practices in Universal Design: A Comparative Study (2000). These reports provided technical specification on accessibility codes and standards in Australia, Spain, Uruguay, Lebanon, Canada, the US, Bangladesh, Singapore, South Africa, Mexico, Ireland and Sweden. 

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