Diana and Dan, both veteran industry professionals in transcription and captioning, met in 2018 and realized there was an opportunity to join forces when a potential client approached Diana and Dan asking if they could complete a project for them. Realizing there was an opportunity in the market and that they worked well together, Empire Captions Solutions was born to maximize their combined experience and knowledge in the captioning arena.
Since then, they have worked together utilizing the latest technology and the human touch to provide the perfect captioning solutions to meet the needs of the audience, compliance requirements, technical needs, and budget.
Co-founder of Empire Caption Solutions
Chief Communications Officer
Diana Lerner is a co-founder of Empire Caption Solutions and has been passionate about providing services and accessibility options for the D/deaf and hard of hearing population for over 30 years. After earning her master’s degree in audiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she moved to southern California, where she began her career as a clinical audiologist, managing the audiology and hearing aid divisions for a prestigious ENT practice. She then became a qualified TypeWell transcriber and transitioned into the accessibility and captioning field. She is fiercely dedicated to those she serves and is praised for her reliability and accuracy. Diana currently lives in San Diego and volunteers extensively for a variety of nonprofit organizations, plans retreats, and enjoys taking long walks on the beach.
Co-founder of Empire Caption Solutions
Chief Operating Officer
Daniel Sommer is a co-founder of Empire Captions Solutions. In this role, he is able to combine his professional experience as a classical musician, educator, captionist, and tech project manager with his passion for collaboration, language, education, Universal Design for Learning, and technology.
As a project manager, Daniel has worked with companies in and outside the accessibility industry to develop web & mobile applications, custom workflows utilizing artificial intelligence and automation, and training materials. Prior to his work in the accessibility industry, Daniel worked for 12 years as a freelance classical musician in New York City and taught undergraduate and graduate courses at New School University and Manhattan School of Music. Daniel currently lives in Greensboro, NC and enjoys being out in nature, hiking, biking, and camping.
Dr. Larry Lerner
Founder & CEO of Empire Business Solutions
Dr. Larry Lerner founded Empire Business Solutions (EBS) in 1988, a company that focuses on small market mergers and acquisitions of privately-held businesses. In 2019, EBS added a new division, Empire Caption Solutions (ECS), which specializes in video accessibility providing services such as transcription, closed captioning, and subtitles. With both an MBA in Finance and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Larry has the unusual mix of business wisdom paired with highly perceptive interpersonal skills, which gives him a keen understanding of clients’ overall needs.
Larry’s business history spans a number of successful entrepreneurial ventures in a variety of industries throughout the United States, including fitness, entertainment, and renovation. Under Larry’s leadership, Empire has earned a reputation as a company of ethics and integrity, treating its clients to confidential, concierge-style services. Larry currently lives in San Diego, CA and enjoys hiking, poker, and traveling.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Specialist
Allison Murray-Nikkel is the Universal Design for Learning Specialist for Empire Caption Solutions (ECS). She found her passion for supporting children with disabilities and behavioral challenges and their families while serving with AmeriCorps, and has since worked in public schools, private child care centers, and home-based settings. With a decade of experience as an Inclusive Early Childhood Educator and extensive graduate study in Special Education and Child and Family Development at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC-Charlotte, she brings expertise to ECS’s accessibility services in neurodiversity, Universal Design for Learning, diversity, equity, and inclusion, advocacy, and academic research. Allison lives in Greensboro, NC and enjoys singing, songwriting, and playing ukulele, banjo, and piano.
Head of Marketing and IT
Noah Lerner is a creative business professional who takes a data-driven approach to marketing and new business development. Having worked with some of the biggest names in sports and multiple large and small businesses, he is passionate about exploring alternative solutions for his clients to help differentiate them from the competition. Noah specializes in developing unique marketing campaigns on both small and large scale budgets. He utilizes his diverse marketing background to help ECS attract the clients that can best benefit from their services.
Noah is a senior in the Penn State class of 2021, where he will receive a B.S. in Entrepreneurship from the Smeal School Of Business. He currently lives in San Diego, CA and enjoys screenwriting, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/Boxing, and visiting cigar lounges.
Content Writer | Captionist | Translator | Project Manager
Haroon Ahmad first joined Empire Caption Solutions (ECS) as a Captionist and Translator, but very quickly his skills as a Content Writer and Project Manager were recognized and put to good use. An engineer by training, he possesses a diverse skill set, a passion for learning, and the ability to find intuitive solutions to high-level problems. “Add value to other people’s lives” is the mantra that guides his actions and a goal to which he is constantly aspiring. Haroon, originally from Liaquatpur, Pakistan, holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering. He speaks English, Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi, Spanish, and Mandarin. When not in front of his laptop, he loves travelling and playing soccer.
Looking to the Future
Empire Caption Solutions strives to create inclusive experiences and engage individuals with different abilities and backgrounds by providing accurate, high-quality closed-captions and other video accessibility services, utilizing both the latest technology and human expertise.
ECS is always looking to expand its service offerings while contributing to the growth and development of video accessibility on the web and facilitating equal access to both information and experience.