Susan Tachau, MA

Susan Tachau co-founded Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) in 1998 and has served as its Chief Executive Officer since 2003. PATF’s mission is to provide financing opportunities, education, and advocacy for people with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians, helping them to acquire the assistive technology devices and services that improve the quality of their lives.  

In 2021, Susan founded the Appalachian Assistive Technology Loan Fund (AATLF), PATF’s wholly-owned subsidiary. ATLF has a mission to provide microfinancing opportunities to people with disabilities who live in the Appalachian region.  

Susan is a co-author of PATF’s publications Smart homes Made Simple: Your Guide to Smart Home Technology, Cents and Sensibility: A Guide to Money Management, and Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania.  

Susan serves on several Boards of Directors and Advisory Committees, including National Disability Institute, National Disability Finance Coalition, PA Statewide Independent Living Council, and Montgomery County’s Office of Senior Services. Susan is chair of National Council on Independent Living’s Technology Subcommittee.  

In 2021, Susan was awarded the AARP Purpose Prize as well as the Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance from the Opportunity Finance Network. Susan received a B.A. from Colorado College, a M.A. from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Colorado College. Ms. Tachau and her husband are the parents of three adult children, one of whom is an assistive technology user. 

Current Project(s):

Co-Investigator, Funding and Policy Study
Co-Investigator, Smart Home Service Delivery

Fun Tech Fact Questions & Answers: 

Q: Mainstream tech device you can’t live without? Why? ​

A: My cell phone (iPhone XR) because I use it to call family, friends, work colleagues, etc., I FaceTime with my children and grandchildren, I listen to music, audio-books and podcasts, take pictures (and share), keep track of tickets (airline, Amtrak), use the calculator, track my steps (exercise), look at social media sites, help my son report his earnings through the SSI app, use google translate when writing or talking to friends in Latin and South America, control our car (Tesla), participate in video calls (zoom), and control my work e-mail. So much of my life (connecting with others + entertainment) can be done with my phone!

Q: What was your first cell phone? ​

A: Nokia

Q: What mainstream tech device do you currently not own, but is on your radar?  ​

A: An Echo Show (I have an Echo, would like to get a smart speaker with a display so that I can video-chat, read recipes, and the like.