Nicole Ducouer, IFB Solutions Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Programs
336-685-2393 |

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (Apr. 23, 2019) – IFB Solutions recently honored its employees, volunteers, and vendors for their commitment to helping IFB Solutions provide jobs, training, and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. IFB Solutions, a nonprofit corporation with manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, Asheville and Little Rock, Ark., is the nation’s largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired, and provides a broad range of services, including its Community Low Vision Centers, Tracy’s Little Red Schoolhouse, and SEE (Student Enrichment Experience) after-school and summer camps for children.

Lynn Drake of Winston-Salem was named the overall IFB Solutions Employee of the Year. Lynn joined IFB Solutions almost ten years ago and has worked on 13 different manufacturing operations. She also served as a Low Vision technician at IFB’s Community Low Vision Center. Today, Lynn works as a sewing machine operator on the Physical Training Uniform line and, along with her guide dog, Kenny, is a popular stop on IFB’s regular community tours of its facility.
Lynn Drake

Charles “Chuck” Gilbert was named the IFB Solutions Employee of the Year for the Asheville facility. He began working for IFB Solutions in 2014 and was joined two years later by his wife who is also blind. A skilled sewing machine operator, Chuck has worked on several production lines including poncho liners, the Extreme Weather Outer Layer garment, and the fuel handler coveralls. His love for his job makes him a natural for welcoming new hires and assisting with training.
Chuck Gilbert

Quatisa East was named the IFB Solutions Employee of the Year for the Little Rock facility. She works as a sewing operator of the T-shirt line with exceptional results. Not only is her work of the highest quality, but she consistently increases her production numbers. Quatisa demonstrates a tenacious spirit for doing her absolute best each and every day.
Quatisa East

Varnard Lewis of Tampa, Fla., received IFB Solutions’ Milton J. Samuelson Career Achiever Award. Varnard, who is legally blind, oversees the Hazmat Pharmacy operated by IFB Solutions at its Base Supply Center on MacDill Air Force Base. He began his career with IFB in 2002 as part of the customer service team. He left in 2006 to care for his parents before returning to work in 2010. In addition to supervising the Pharmacy team, Varnard is a certified trainer in the Enterprise Environmental Safety and Occupational Health (EESOH) system.
Varnard Lewis

William “Jo Jo” Lindsay of Winston-Salem received IFB Solutions’ Delmer Wall Outstanding Service Award.  Jo Jo began working for IFB Solutions in 2015 and is a supervisor in the T-shirt department. In his addition to his duties on the manufacturing floor, Jo Jo routinely volunteers to drive employees to company and non-company events and provides a steadying presence in any type of emergency situation. Jo Jo’s great sense of humor is matched by his unending enthusiasm for IFB’s mission of building life-changing opportunities for people who are blind.
Jo Jo Lindsay

Judy Phillips of Little Rock received IFB Solutions’ Kathryn W. Garner Volunteer of the Year Award.  Judy first became involved with IFB Solutions in 2014 when she was elected to the council for Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind which later became part of IFB. She put her talents to work in creating the IFB Solutions Little Rock’s annual Bingo for Bags fundraiser and has served as the event’s chairperson for the past four years. Bingo for Bags has since generated close to $200,000 in philanthropic dollars for IFB’s employee training and community programs in Little Rock such as the Community Low Vision Center. Judy’s strong belief in IFB’s mission continues to inspire volunteers and donors from across Arkansas and beyond.
Judy Philips

Dr. Harold Schutte of Asheville received IFB Solutions’ Commodore Funderburk Visionary Award. The award is named for the late Commodore Funderburk who was blind, deaf and mute, and who worked at IFB for 40 years without missing a day of work. A retired pediatrician and former State Medical Examiner for Buncombe County, Dr. Schutte became involved with IFB Solutions in October of 2005 as a member of the IFB Asheville Advisory Board. He’s been instrumental in IFB’s growth over the past nearly 15 years, including the nonprofit’s 20/20 Capital Campaign that raised nearly a million dollars to add a cafeteria and Community Low Vision Center at the Asheville facility. Dr. Schutte serves on the IFB Solutions Asheville Advisory Board, and he and his wife Margie continue to be involved in IFB’s fundraising and community awareness events in the Asheville area.
Doctor Harold Schutte

Shelco with offices in Winston-Salem and headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., received the IFB Solutions Vendor of the Year Award. Over many years, Shelco has assisted IFB Solutions with numerous expansion and facility projects, including the construction of Tracy’s Little Red Schoolhouse on IFB’s Winston-Salem campus. This building was carefully designed and built to serve as an exceptional independent living-learning resource for adults and children who are blind or visually impaired. Shelco’s attention to detail during every phase of this project was unparalleled.

In addition to the employee, community and vendor awards, IFB Solutions recognized employees for years of service and perfect attendance. Eleven employees were honored for more than 20 years of service including five employees who reached special milestones. Howard Patterson and Ronald Richardson were recognized for 30 years of service, Clarence Kinard for 40 years of service and Maudeva Willis for 45 years of service.