ABA Technologies Continues Martinez-Diaz’s Legacy of Support for School of Behavior Analysis

ABA Technologies has given $2 million over the years in support of students in Florida Tech’s School of Behavior Analysis and the Scott Center for Autism Treatment. ABA Technologies was founded by Jose Martinez-Diaz, a respected and popular faculty member who launched the university’s first applied behavior analysis program and later started its School of Behavior Analysis. He passed away Sept. 21, 2020, from diabetes complications.

The company’s generosity was important to Jose, both to give back to the university that played such a key role in his life and to assist students with financial need and a passion for behavior analysis, said ABA Technologies CEO Darnell Lattal.

Jose was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, in 1950. His father was part of the business leadership in his community. Jose grew up surrounded by a family interested in understanding the wider world beyond their hometown. This was reflected most clearly by his father’s collection of music of all genres. Jose would later develop his own passion for music.

As a child, Jose was deeply concerned about the treatment of a neighbor classified as ‘loco,’ or crazy, and realized that he, too, was misunderstood and isolated as a child. These were significant factors in shaping his life. His strong empathy led to a lifelong desire to help others.

Jose also witnessed the violent upheaval in Cuba when Castro came to power. His family lost everything they owned, and, at the age of 11, he immigrated to the United States with his sister and a single suitcase. They stayed with relatives in Miami until his parents were able to leave Cuba months later and join them.

He began his education in America speaking little English, yet he excelled in all things academic. Jose eventually embraced applied behavior analysis as a compassionate and effective science-based strategy to make a difference. He spent the entirety of his professional career pursuing excellence in this chosen field.

In 1989, he became involved in the credentialing of behavior analysts in the state of Florida as part of his quest to establish high standards of excellence. In 1997, Jose founded ABA Technologies, Inc., a private online learning company dedicated to excellence in offerings related to behavior analysis. ABA Technologies currently partners with Florida Tech, providing online certifications, continuing education, and a master’s degree in behavior analysis.

In 1998, he came to Florida Tech and soon established the first degree-granting master’s program in behavior analysis, and later launched a Ph.D. program, as well as what would become a fully accredited School of Behavior Analysis within the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts. He also assisted in the creation of the Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech.

Jose served on multiple professional boards at the state and national levels, and his passion, service and inspirational teaching across his career were recognized with lifetime achievement awards and other acknowledgments.

Through ABA Technologies, Jose provided significant financial support to the School of Behavior Analysis and the Scott Center, in partnership with Florida Tech. This dedicated charitable giving has gone on for over a decade, a tradition that his wife, Danette Onstott, and their three sons, along with the dedicated team at ABA Technologies, are honored to continue.

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