Executive Director

James E. Phipps, M.B.A., J.D.
President and Executive Director

Mr. James E. Phipps was selected as President and Executive Director of The Iris Network in January of 2008.  Since assuming leadership he has spearheaded the creation of an Access Technology and Employment Training Services Program and redesigned The Iris Network’s Low Vision Clinic. Both programs integrate with other vision rehabilitation and vocational training services provided by The Iris Network. In addition, Mr. Phipps passion as advocate of The Iris Network’s mission is evident as an active speaker and advisor on private resource development and state and federal government funding (including Medicare reimbursement) to support programs and services for people with vision impairment and blindness. 

Prior to becoming Executive Director of The Iris Network, Mr. Phipps was a partner at Preti-Flaherty, a prominent regional law firm with offices in Portland, Augusta, Concord and Boston.  At Preti-Flaherty, Mr. Phipps built a practice advising health care and other non-profit, tax-exempt organizations on matters of tax, corporate and Medicare compliance for over 20 years.  He obtained his B.A. from Florida State University and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Wharton School of Business where he earned his joint MBA/JD. 

Mr. Phipps, who has been blind since birth, is a long-time advocate for people with blindness and visual impairment.  Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of VisionServe Alliance (VSA), a national organization composed of CEOs who lead organizations serving people with blindness and visual impairment, and chairs its National Presence Taskforce.  VSA provides a forum for leaders to share information about best practices in the field of blindness rehabilitation and provides the opportunity for them to work together on key issues related to services for people of all ages with vision loss.  Mr. Phipps has also recently been appointed to the Nominating Committee of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, the national professional organization for blindness professionals.  

Mr. Phipps is a long-time leader in the rehabilitation and disability rights communities in Maine.  He is the former Chairman of the Board of the Maine Disability Rights Center, where he served as a Director from 2001 to 2008.  After resigning from the Board of Directors to accept the position of Executive Director at The Iris Network, he received the DRC’s Dedicated Service Award.  In 2008 Mr. Phipps was appointed by Governor Baldacci to the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) for Maine’s Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI) and he continues to serve on its Advocacy Committee.  The SRC to DBVI serves as an advisory panel on vocational rehabilitation issues to the Director of Maine’s state agency responsible for delivery of educational, vocational and independent living services. 

Mr. Phipps has also been actively involved in civic affairs and has served on numerous local charitable boards and municipal committees.  He has been a Director of the Casco Bay Island Transit District representing the island of Chebeague where he resides, a Cumberland Town Councilor, a member of the Chebeague/Cousins Transportation Resolution Team and a member of the Chebeague Transition Committee which guided the organization of the municipal government of the new Town of Chebeague Island upon its secession from the Town of Cumberland.

COME WALK WITH US on October 15, 2016!

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