Mr. Masseau began his professional career advocating for individuals with disabilities with the protection and advocacy system in 1987. His first job within the system was with the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS). In 1987, while in high school, Tom worked as an intern for the staff, making copies, running errands and entering data into the computers. During his first year employed with MPAS, his understanding of social justice was very basic – a society that provides fair and equal treatment to everyone.
However, as his role with the agency continued to grow, he began to take on a better understanding of why the protection and advocacy system was created and how we needed to be advocates of change. Over the course of 24 years, Tom worked his way to become the Director of Government & Media Relations. In this capacity, Tom provided strategic direction and leadership on public policy efforts at the state and federal levels; represented MPAS’ position and interest on issues before State legislatures and Congress; developed MPAS publications; coordinated and maintained contacts with members of print, TV and radio statewide; and compiled and submitted state and federally mandated reports.
While at MPAS, Tom provided leadership within MPAS on the Protection and Advocacy for Voter Access Program under the Help America Vote Act. Over the course of 10 ten years, Tom and MPAS staff successfully educated voters with disabilities about their rights to vote and worked with facility directors to conduct voter trainings in all state facilities. In addition, Tom worked with the Michigan Secretary of State Department to ensure that polling places were accessible. This effort allowed Michigan to achieve an accessibility rate of nearly 90% at all polling locations.
In January 2012, Tom became the Executive Director at Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW). In this capacity, he managed staff of 64 employees, 10 direct reports, located in three offices, with an annual budget of $5 million. Tom also managed the agencies overall advocacy strategy, staff management, fiscal planning and management, fund development, and public relations/marketing. Tom also led Disability Rights Wisconsin’s efforts to fulfill its Vision, Mission and achieve the current Ends Policies set by the DRW Board.
Furthering his passion and complete understanding of leading social change, Tom became the Executive Director of Disability Rights Center (DRC) of Arkansas in 2013. In this role, Tom is leading an agency of 18 dedicated staff on improving the lives of individuals with disabilities throughout Arkansas.
During his roles in Michigan, Wisconsin and Arkansas, Tom has been involved in many coalitions with other disability and business groups. Tom is also active at the state and federal level serving on many committees dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities to be free from abuse, neglect, and discrimination. While in Michigan, Tom was also involved in Township government, serving as a Township Trustee from 2000 to 2012.