IFB Solutions Announces Dan Kelly as Incoming President and CEO

IFB Solutions Announcing Incoming President and CEO Dan Kelly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Laura Burrows, Two B Public Relations
laura@twobpr.com, 336-575-6757

IFB SOLUTIONS ANNOUNCES NEW CEO

Dan Kelly will be leading the nonprofit in 2023

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (Sept. 14, 2022) – IFB Solutions, the country’s largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired, has named Dan Kelly as its next president and CEO. Kelly will begin leading the Winston-Salem-based nonprofit organization in January 2023, following the year-end retirement of current CEO David Horton.

Kelly, who has been blind since childhood, currently serves as IFB’s executive vice president of strategy and programs. He will be the organization’s first CEO who is blind. Prior to joining IFB in 2007, Kelly worked for National Industries for the Blind in Alexandria, Virginia. A competitive swimmer from age 12, he won 17 medals as a member of the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team and has completed a marathon, triathlons, long-distance open water swims and a 100-mile tandem cycling challenge.

“IFB Solutions is recognized across the country for its work creating jobs and building independence for people who are blind or visually impaired,” said Kelly. “It’s an incredible honor to serve as its next CEO and to continue the legacy of excellence established by David Horton, who I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside for 15 years as a mentor, friend and colleague.”

Bob Newell, IFB board member and chair of the search committee, added: “On behalf of the search committee, we are delighted to announce Dan as president and CEO starting in 2023. Throughout his career, Dan has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to creating opportunities for people who are blind to pursue their careers of choice. He is an exceptional professional and an inspiring individual.”

Kelly will succeed David Horton, who joined IFB in 2001 as the nonprofit’s controller and has served as its CEO since 2008. In September 2021, IFB Solutions announced Horton’s plans to retire at the end of 2022 and the formation of a search committee. IFB utilized the services of the search firm Buffkin/Baker who initiated a national search that generated more than 50 applications from a diverse group of candidates. The search committee interviewed six exceptional finalists who were national in scope and shared a clear passion for the mission of IFB Solutions.

“We are pleased that the top performing candidate in the selection process came from within the IFB organization,” said Brenda Diggs, IFB board chair and member of the search committee.

ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS
IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 as Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, and it provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and producing mattresses. IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind, and Community Low Vision services through its low-vision Centers across North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org

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IFB Solutions Honors Local Employee of the Year, The Winston-Salem Foundation and Community Leaders

View a PDF version with photos here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Anastasia Powell
apowell@ifbsolutions.org, M 336-456-9824

IFB Solutions Honors Local Employee of the Year, The Winston-Salem Foundation and Community Leader Tom Serrin for Contributions to Non-Profit’s Success

Winston-Salem, NC (May 25, 2022)—IFB Solutions, the largest employer of people who are blind in the U.S., recently recognized its Employees of the Year, partners and volunteers who play a vital role in the nonprofit’s mission of employment, training and services. Several honorees were from the Winston-Salem area.

“During the past two years of operating during a global pandemic our employees, board members and community partners have gone to extraordinary lengths in helping us continue to live out our mission of providing employment, training and services for people who are blind,” said IFB Solutions CEO David Horton. “This year’s award ceremony was especially meaningful as an opportunity to recognize and thank them in person for all that they continue to do for our organization. I’m humbled and inspired by their unselfish service and commitment to IFB Solutions.”

Luis Quiles of Winston-Salem named overall IFB Solutions Employee of the Year. Luis, who was born with ocular histoplasmosis, began his career at the IFB operations in Puerto Rico. After several years, he decided to move to Winston-Salem for additional upward mobility opportunities. He currently works in the role of Lead Shipper for IFB’s optical department. Luis obtained a degree in Business Administration from DeVry College. He is a proficient Spanish/English translator, is active in the community and has many interests, including being a member of the IFB Solutions bowling team.

Melissa Tuttle named IFB Solutions Career Achiever of the Year. Growing up with low vision caused by nystagmus and cataracts, Melissa focused on her education and a future career. After graduating from Western Carolina University with a major in Computer Information Systems, she worked for several years before joining IFB Solutions in 2011. Today, Melissa is a member of IFB’s Supply Chain team and is known for her savvy computer skills and attention to detail.

Tom Serrin honored as IFB Solutions Commodore Funderburk Visionary Award recipient. This award is named for the late Commodore Funderburk who was blind, deaf and mute and worked for IFB for 40 years without missing a day. It recognizes the individual or group who has helped solidify a future for IFB Solutions and, more importantly, create opportunities for people who are blind. IFB’s mission is personal to Tom. He served in the U.S. Marines and has lived with a vision impairment since adulthood. He has been a member of IFB’s Board of Directors since 2015 and is passionate about sharing how philanthropic support to IFB directly impacts the lives of thousands of people who are blind or visually impaired. Tom is the inaugural chair of IFB’s Development and Awareness Committee working to raise additional dollars to expand funding for IFB’s community programs and low-vision services.

The Winston-Salem Foundation named IFB Solutions Partner of the Year. For more than a century, The Winston-Salem Foundation has partnered with individuals and organizations to improve the quality of life in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, and beyond. Through generous funding from the Foundation, IFB has been able to expand its job training programs, purchase and implement new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and expand its S.E.E. Program for school-age children.

ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS®
IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 as Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, and it provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB has manufacturing operations in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to nearly 20 tactical gear and office supply Base Supply Center stores. Primary business activities include production of military tactical gear, prescription eyewear at the Twenty200 Optical Lab, products for home and business under the Pinnacle Mercantile Amazon storefront, and call center operations. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind. The IFB Community Low Vision Centers in North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark., are open to the public. ifbsolutions.org

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IFB SOLUTIONS ANNOUNCES MAJOR DONATION TO EXPAND ACCESS TO ITS COMMUNITY LOW VISION CENTER SERVICES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Anastasia Powell
apowell@ifbsolutions.org, M 336-456-9824

IFB SOLUTIONS ANNOUNCES MAJOR DONATION TO EXPAND ACCESS TO ITS COMMUNITY LOW VISION CENTER SERVICES

Donation will expand financial assistance program, enable more people to access services

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (April 27, 2021) – Nonprofit IFB Solutions, the largest employer of people who are blind in the U.S., is expanding its financial assistance program for the IFB Community Low Vision Center (CLVC) in Winston-Salem thanks to a significant private donation made possible by the friends and family of the late Ronnie Sherrill, former Chairman and CEO of Charlotte-based SteelFab. The new initiative focuses primarily on assisting adults who receive services through the CLVC including the purchase of easy-to-use technology and household devices from talking watches to magnifiers. The program complements IFB’s existing Focus on Literacy program which loans school-age children assistive technology free of charge for home use.

“Coming to the CLVC is a life-changing experience for many people and this donation ensures that everyone will have access to our extensive services regardless of their ability to pay,” said Shonn Redmond, IFB Low Vision Services & Technical Support Coordinator. Redmond is low vision and personally tests out every device before it’s added to the CLVC. “Our goal is to equip people with the technology and devices that allow them to maintain important and independent life activities from reading and paying bills to cooking and working on the computer.”

The facility, which is being renamed the Ronald G. Sherrill Community Low Vision Center, is located on the IFB Solutions campus off Silas Creek Parkway and is open to the public although appointments are encouraged. Redmond or another CLVC associate work with each person to understand their challenges and needs and identify the best tools. Members of the Sherrill family along with lifelong friends collaborated with IFB on the philanthropic effort to have a direct and immediate impact on people who are low vision.

“My father would have been very moved by the inspiring work happening at IFB Solutions each and every day,” said Glenn Sherrill who took over for his father as CEO of SteelFab. ““My Dad lost sight in his right eye when he was in his early 50s yet kept a very positive outlook – the same spirit that was exemplified here at IFB Solutions. Dad was very generous, and I know he would be pleased that his donation will benefit so many people in need of these type of services.”

Ed Rose, CEO of Shelco and one of Ronnie Sherrill’s closest friends, was instrumental in connecting the Sherrills to IFB. Several years ago, he, Ronnie and Ronnie’s brother Don Sherrill underwrote the cost of a van to transport children who participate in IFB’s S.E.E. program in Charlotte. Ronnie’s wife Paulette, who came to know of IFB’s work through her family and Rose, made the lead gift to the new financial assistance initiative.

“It’s a tremendous honor to join with Paulette and the entire Sherrill family in making this donation to the Community Low Vision Center. Together, we’re supporting a very worthwhile organization and at the same time honoring one of my very best friends in life. I want to thank IFB for doing what it does to help those in our community who are blind or low vision and I want to thank the Sherrill family for letting us honor Ronnie in this way.”

IFB also operates Community Low Vision Centers on its campuses in Asheville, North Carolina and Little Rock, Arkansas. To learn more about the Centers, visit www.communitylowvision.org.

ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS
IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 as Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, and it provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and producing mattresses. IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind, and Community Low Vision services through its low-vision Centers across North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org

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IFB Solutions Receives $20,000 Grant for Job Training in Asheville

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nicole Ducouer
nducouer@ifbsolutions.org, M 304-685-2393


IFB SOLUTIONS RECEIVES $20,000 GRANT FOR JOB TRAINING IN ASHEVILLE

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — IFB Solutions, the country’s largest employer of people who are
blind or visually impaired, recently received a $20,000 grant from The Community
Foundation of Western North Carolina for job training in its Asheville facility. The grant,
which came from the foundation’s Human Services Grant Program, is being used to
support a paid training program for people with visual impairments, which includes
training in sewing, orientation, mobility, the use of assistive technology, and
independent living skills.

“Almost 90% of our employees who are blind would not have a job if not for IFB
Solutions, and training is the key to that employment. This grant helps our employees
increase their income and support themselves and their families,” said Randy Buckner,
vice president of operations support at IFB Solutions. “We are grateful to The
Community Foundation for their support.”

A nonprofit organization dedicated to providing employment, training and services for
people who are visually impaired or blind, IFB Solutions operates three manufacturing
facilities in Asheville, Winston-Salem, and Little Rock, Arkansas. The Asheville facility
employs more than 137 people, about half of whom are blind or visually impaired. The
Community Foundation grant will be used to provide paid training for new employees as
well as retraining for those already employed so they can pursue more advanced,
upward mobility opportunities. The paid job training is especially important for those who
may have recently lost their sight and are looking to reenter the workforce.

Ed Smith, an employee at IFB Solutions who is visually impaired, is one of many
workers to benefit from IFB’s job training program. “I worked on computers for 20 years
before losing my vision,” Smith said. “After losing my vision, I was told that applying for
disability was my only option. IFB Solutions showed me that it isn’t true. Thanks to IFB
Solutions’ job training program and assistive technology, I am back to a career that I
love. Plus, I get to help manufacture products for our federal government and the U.S.
Armed Forces — and I’m proud of that work.”

ABOUT THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA
The Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving 18 counties in Western North
Carolina. The Foundation is a permanent regional resource that facilitated $22 million in
charitable giving last year. CFWNC inspires philanthropy and mobilizes resources to
enrich lives and communities in Western North Carolina. Learn more at cfwnc.org.

ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS
IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 that provides employment,
training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest
employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing
facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to
operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and producing mattresses.
IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab and
operates a retail location in Winston-Salem. IFB Solutions funds employee training and
services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making
possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind,
and Community Low Vision services through its low-vision Centers across North
Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org
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IFB Solutions Receives $25,000 Grant from the Truist Foundation

 

IFB logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Nicole Ducouer nducouer@ifbsolutions.org, M 304-685-2393

IFB Solutions Receives $25,000 Grant from the Truist Foundation

Nonprofit will use grant to bridge existing gaps in low vision services in the Triad

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (Dec. 1, 2021) – Local nonprofit IFB Solutions, the largest employer of people who are blind in the country, announced today that it has received a $25,000 grant from the Truist Foundation to help people who are low vision connect with IFB’s services and resources.

 

As part of its mission of employment, training and services for people who are blind or low vision, IFB operates Community Low Vision Centers open to the public at its manufacturing campuses in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark. The Truist Foundation grant will help IFB launch a new initiative to increase awareness for its low vision services starting with a focused community effort in the Triad.

 

Low vision is defined as vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contacts. Low vision occurs in people of all ages and is more common in people over 65. In the Triad, the estimated number of people over 65 with vision challenges is 32,200, and those numbers are projected to increase as the youngest baby boomers hit 65 in 2029.

 

“Our Community Low Vision Centers are unique resources for people who are low vision and their families,” said Chris Flynt, Director of Programs and Community Low Vision Centers at IFB Solutions. “We have a wide variety of assistive tools and technologies available for people to try out, including a space that’s designed to mimic how people would use the products at their own homes. And our Center staff members are low vision themselves, so they bring invaluable personal insights to the experience.”

 

The IFB Community Low Vision Centers offer these assistive tools and technologies for sale as well as low vision exams, and a portion of the grant will be used to provide financial assistance for these products and services to customers who qualify.

 

The primary focus of the Truist Foundation grant will be a broad community awareness program with a long-term goal of serving 3,000 additional individuals who are low vision each year.

 

“The commitment of IFB Solutions to employ, serve and support residents of the Triad embodies Truist’s purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities,” said Cantey Alexander, Triad regional president for Truist, speaking on behalf of Truist Foundation. “With this grant, IFB Solutions will reach more members of our community and have a greater positive impact on the lives of those who are blind and low vision, and their families.”

 

IFB Solutions is hiring a Low Vision Outreach Coordinator to lead the awareness and community engagement efforts. Those efforts will include developing relationships with local eye care professionals, retirement communities and other long-term care facilities to make them aware of IFB’s low vision services.

 

“With low vision, it is common for people to give up on hobbies and activities that they previously enjoyed or that gave them independence,” said Flynt. “What’s exciting for us is the opportunity to show people that there are easy-to-use tools and technologies available at our Centers that will help them maintain their independence and quality of life.”

 

To learn more about the IFB Community Low Vision Center or to book an appointment with a low vision specialist, visit the website at https://communitylowvision.org/

 

ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 that provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and producing mattresses. IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab and operates a retail location in Winston-Salem. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind, and Community Low Vision services through its low-vision Centers across North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org

 

ABOUT TRUIST FOUNDATION

The Truist Foundation is committed to Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Established in 2020, the foundation makes strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. The Truist Foundation’s grants and activities focus on building career pathways to economic mobility and strengthening small businesses. Learn more at Truist.com/Foundation.

 

 

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KENNETH FUENTES JOINS IFB SOLUTIONS AS INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN

 

Headshot photo of

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Nicole Ducouer, IFB Solutions nducouer@ifbsolutions.org or 304-685-2393

KENNETH FUENTES JOINS IFB SOLUTIONS AS INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN
WINSTON-SALEM, NC (Nov. 17, 2021) – IFB Solutions, a non-profit organization based in Winston-Salem and the largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired in the country, announces the hiring of Kenneth Fuentes as Industrial Engineering Technician.

Fuentes will work with IFB’s engineering team in the Winston-Salem manufacturing facility to convert
operations previously limited to sighted employees into opportunities for employees who are blind or
visually impaired. Additionally, he’ll be identifying new avenues for production efficiencies across the
organization.

“With our diverse manufacturing portfolio, it’s important that we continuously improve our processes and leverage our unique engineering expertise in converting operations from sighted to blind,” said Silas
Martin, chief operating officer for IFB Solutions. Fuentes is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Prior to joining IFB, Fuentes worked at Leidos, a FORTUNE® 500 technology, engineering and science solutions and services leader.

 

ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS
IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 that provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and producing mattresses. IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab and operates a retail location in Winston-Salem. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind, and Community Low Vision services through its low-vision Centers across North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org\

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IFB SOLUTIONS ACQUIRES ASSETS OF AMAZON RETAILER PINNACLE MERCANTILE

 

IFB logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Nicole Ducouer, IFB Solutions nducouer@ifbsolutions.org or 304-685-2393

The transaction adds jobs and revenues to help people who are blind

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (October 20, 2021)—IFB Solutions, a nonprofit that is the largest employer of people who are blind in the country, recently acquired the assets of Pinnacle Mercantile. Pinnacle Mercantile is a reseller and manufacturer of products for the home, kitchen, garden and landscape. These products, primarily made in the U.S., are sold and distributed through the Amazon marketplace.

“With this acquisition, we continue to strategically expand our footprint to serve new commercial business channels,” said Dan Kelly, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Programs at IFB Solutions. “There is a strong potential for revenue growth that will allow us to add additional jobs for people who are blind as sales increase.”

For IFB’s fiscal 2022, the Pinnacle Mercantile business is expected to bring in more than $8 million in revenues and create more than 10 jobs for people who are blind while also sustaining jobs from pandemic-driven downturns in other areas of the business.

IFB Solutions is also partnering with local small business suppliers of raw materials and coating needed to manufacture and package finished goods. Pinnacle Mercantile’s diverse product line includes metal garden stakes, plastic spray and squeeze bottles, drawstring bags for ice and wood smoking pellets for barbecuing.

Brooke Brown, a five-year IFB employee, now works on Pinnacle Mercantile products making sure the lines are running smoothly. Brooke has diabetic retinopathy and is visually impaired. At one point she was totally blind, but she regained some sight after what she and her doctor call a miracle. Brooke calls her vision a superpower—not a disability.

“I love that IFB is always looking to create new opportunities to challenge people who are blind or visually impaired. I have a voice here. People hear me and listen to me and there are lots of resources,” said Brown.

Pinnacle Mercantile, originally based in Kansas and co-founded by Frank Andra and Robert Biles, is an established Amazon account with a decade of experience in the consumer marketplace. “We are incredibly grateful to everyone on the Pinnacle Mercantile team for trusting us to take over a business that was built from the ground up,” said Kelly.

With the acquisition of Pinnacle Mercantile’s assets, IFB is moving all inventory and operations to its Winston-Salem manufacturing facility and expanding its warehouse footprint in Clemmons. The Pinnacle Mercantile line can be found on the Amazon Marketplace at https://amzn.to/3ujMrz5.

“It is very appropriate that we announce the Pinnacle Mercantile acquisition during National Disability Employment Awareness Month which reminds us that it continues to be incredibly challenging for people who are blind to find jobs,” said Kelly. “Growing a commercial business opportunity like Pinnacle Mercantile helps us establish new jobs here in Winston-Salem. And it’s a great way to build awareness for our mission of creating life-changing opportunities for people who are blind as every sale through our Pinnacle Mercantile store on Amazon makes a difference.”

IFB worked with several local partners to complete the asset acquisition including Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, and Truist Financial Corporation. Additionally, IFB worked with The DVS Group in Kansas City on the acquisition of Pinnacle Mercantile.

 

ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 that provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and producing mattresses. IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab and operates a retail location in Winston-Salem. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind, and Community Low Vision services through its low-vision Centers across North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org

 

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IFB SOLUTIONS NAMES OFFICERS and NEW MEMBERS OF ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

IFB logo
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Nicole Ducouer, IFB Solutions
nducouer@ifbsolutions.org or 304-685-2393

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     

IFB SOLUTIONS NAMES OFFICERS and NEW MEMBERS OF ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (Oct. 7, 2021) – Nonprofit IFB Solutions, the largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired in the country, announces its Board of Directors officers for the 2021-22 term and welcomes a new board member.

Brenda Diggs will serve as Chairman.  She is a retired senior executive of Wachovia Corporation, now part of Wells Fargo. She currently consults in the areas of leadership and board development, operational and financial management, organizational planning, and strategic management.

Erik Cobham will serve as Vice Chairman.  He is vice president of strategy and business development for Avon Protection and a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Marine Corps.

Robert Colucci will serve as Treasurer.  He is a business consultant and retired senior executive with Essilor of America, an international ophthalmic optics company.

Kathryn Garner will serve as Secretary.  She is a retired teacher and former sales and marketing executive for T.W. Garner Food Company.

Leo Stepansky will serve as Assistant Secretary.  He is senior vice president/general manager for Shelco, LLC.

Mike Faircloth will serve as Assistant Treasurer. He is group president of global operations for Hanesbrands.  

In addition, IFB announces three appointments to its Board of Directors.

Tom Serrin is joining the Board’s executive committee as head of the new Development and Awareness Committee. Serrin, who is visually impaired, is the Triad Chapter President of the Foundation Fighting Blindness and retired (Medical) Major with the U.S. Marine Corps.

John Rowland, a retired CPA from Little Rock, Ark., will return to the Board of Directors as chair of the Audit Committee and represent the nonprofit’s strategic interests in Arkansas.

Samuel Richardson is joining the IFB Board of Directors. Richardson is Director of Human Resources for Academic Affairs at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro.

 

ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS

IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 that provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and producing mattresses. IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab and operates a retail location in Winston-Salem. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind, and Community Low Vision services through its low-vision Centers across North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org

 

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LONG-TIME IFB SOLUTIONS CEO DAVID HORTON ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT AT END OF 2022

 

headshot photo of David Horton
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Nicole Ducouer, IFB Solutions
nducouer@ifbsolutions.org or 304-685-2393

 

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (Sept. 16, 2021) – IFB Solutions, a non-profit organization based in Winston-Salem and the largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired in the country, announced today that its long-time CEO David Horton will retire effective December 31, 2022.

Horton joined IFB in 2001 as Controller and was promoted to Sr. Vice President of Operations before being named Executive Director in 2008 and later President and CEO in 2015. While at the helm, he has guided the organization through unprecedented mission growth while navigating challenges. Under his leadership, IFB saw its sales more than double from $80 million to $200 million and, closer to Horton’s heart, grew its employment to nearly 1,000 with the majority of positions held by people who are blind or visually impaired. IFB is headquartered in Winston-Salem with additional facilities in Asheville, N.C. and Little Rock, Ark. Horton oversaw the merger and integration of the Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind operations into the IFB Solutions family in 2014, which helped grow additional job opportunities for people who are blind in Arkansas.

“David has been a transformational leader in our organization,” said Bob Newell, Chair of the IFB Solutions Board of Directors. “He has led us through periods of great change, including adding new locations and opening new businesses all while keeping the mission intact of creating life-changing opportunities for people who are blind.”

Recognizing that many people who are blind do not live near an organization like IFB, Horton also led the establishment of IFB’s Workforce Services division in 2011 which provides remote work opportunities for people who are blind all over the country. He also helped IFB create additional jobs with the expansion of its BSC (Base Supply Centers) division in Maryland, Illinois and Florida. The BSC division manages and staffs office supply retail stores serving military bases and government locations.

Another significant driver of IFB’s employment growth is “job conversion” which Horton has championed since joining the organization. By re-engineering manufacturing operations, equipment and services previously limited to sighted workers and making them accessible to those who are blind or low vision, IFB has created new and often ground-breaking opportunities for its employees.

“David’s passion and commitment to IFB Solutions is clearly evident from the first time you meet him,” said Brenda Diggs, incoming Chair of the IFB Board of Directors. “He has an unwavering drive and determination to make a positive difference by raising awareness for the critical importance of providing meaningful employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired.”

Horton’s leadership also is evident in the growth of IFB’s community involvement and programming. The organization’s Community Low Vision Centers have expanded beyond Winston-Salem to include locations at its campuses in Asheville and Little Rock. IFB’s S.E.E. (Student Enrichment Experience) program works with children in grades K-12 who are blind or visually impaired to build their confidence and independent living skills. Under Horton’s leadership, the program was given a permanent home when Tracy’s Little Red School House opened its doors in Winston-Salem in 2012. Since then, S.E.E. has expanded to serve children and families not only in Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Asheville, but all over the country reaching kids through summer camps and after-school programs.

On a state and national level, Horton is a recognized leader. He works closely with National Industries for the Blind and served on the board of the National Association for Employment of People Who Are Blind (NAEPB). In North Carolina, Horton served until very recently as Board Chairman of the NC State Commission for the Blind, which is a governor-appointed position and serves as an advisory council to the NC Division of Services for the Blind.

Prior to retirement, David will continue to build out IFB’s manufacturing and services capability developed over decades of working with the federal government and The AbilityOne Program, and strategically expand IFB’s footprint into emerging opportunities to serve new commercial business channels.

IFB Solutions and its Board of Directors have appointed a search committee from the board representing diverse leaders with a long history of service to the organization. The search committee, which is chaired by current Board Chair Bob Newell, has engaged a search firm and expects to make a selection in the 3rd quarter of 2022.

ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS
IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 that provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and producing mattresses. IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab and operates a retail location in Winston-Salem. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps, afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind, and Community Low Vision services through its low-vision Centers across North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org

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WISE EYES FAMILY EYE CARE NOW OPEN IN WINSTON-SALEM, PARTNERING WITH TWENTY200 EYEWEAR TO HELP GROW JOBS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND

 

Wise Eyes Family Care logo that has an owl on a branch

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Nicole Ducouer

nducouer@ifbsolutions.org

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (August 24, 2021) – Wise Eyes Family Eye Care is now open at 631
Coliseum Drive in Winston-Salem with a special connection to its next-door neighbor Twenty200
Eyewear operated by local nonprofit IFB Solutions. IFB Solutions is the largest employer of people
who are blind in the country.

Wise Eyes optometrist Dr. Lindsay Totten wants her practice to have a broader community impact
by making it convenient for her patients to purchase stylish and affordable eyeglasses and also
help create local jobs for people who are blind. Eyeglasses purchased at Twenty200 Eyewear are
made by IFB Solutions employees at the nonprofit’s optical lab just a few miles away on the IFB
campus off Silas Creek Parkway.

“When I began planning for my own practice after many years of working for larger eyecare
companies, I knew I wanted to make a difference in the community,” said Dr. Totten. “As someone
who cares deeply about vision, I cannot think of a better local partner than IFB Solutions who is
doing so much for children and adults who are blind or low vision.”

Dr. Totten is currently taking new patients and encourages all adults and children to have regular,
annual eye exams. Information about her practice can be found at www.WiseEyesOfWinston.com
or by calling Wise Eyes Family Eye Care at (336) 830-8061. In addition to providing primary eye
care, Wise Eyes specializes in emergency eye care, eye disease and contact lenses.

“The pandemic has strained all of us mentally and physically, and that is especially true for our
vision,” she said. “For students who spent so many months as virtual learners and adults working
remotely, it’s very hard on the eyes to stay focused on screens for long periods of time. I’m seeing
more patients with headaches from eyestrain as well as those who now need corrective lenses.”
Many people have put off their annual eye exams creating delays in early detection of eye
diseases and conditions. “I’m a strong proponent of early detection,” said Dr. Totten. “Every Wise
Eyes patient receives a baseline scan using specialized equipment designed to identify cellular
changes to the eye otherwise not visible to the naked eye. By catching eye diseases early, we can
begin treatment and save a lot of vision.”

ABOUT WISE EYES FAMILY EYE CARE
Wise Eyes Family Eye Care is located at 631Coliseum Drive in Winston-Salem and provides
comprehensive eye care for the entire family, including pediatrics, contact lenses, and ocular
emergencies. Independent optometrist Dr. Lindsay Totten specializes in managing ocular diseases
such as glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration, and dry eyes. Dr. Totten is trained in the areas of
primary care optometry, emergency eye care, ocular disease, contact lenses and pediatrics. She
believes that the best health care relationships are built on mutual trust and strives to involve patients in
personal decisions about their care. To book your appointment, call (336) 830-8061. Wise Eyes Family
Eye Care is open 8:00a.m.-4:30p.m., Monday through Friday. More at www.WiseEyesOfWinston.com.

ABOUT TWENTY200 EYEWEAR
Twenty200 is a brand of IFB Solutions that offers a range of eyewear in approachable styles with a
focus on kind, patient service. The Twenty200 name reflects the mission powering the brand: while
20/20 is perfect vision, 20/200 is the threshold for legal blindness. Our brand is a proud declaration of
our purpose: supporting your vision while creating opportunities for people who are blind.
Our available lens brands include Varilux®, Transitions®, Crizal®, with Kate Spade®, RayBan®, Oakley®, and Costa® frames. Eye exams available next door at Wise Eyes Family Eye Care. Located at 631
Coliseum Drive in Winston-Salem. twenty200.org.

ABOUT IFB SOLUTIONS
IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 that provides employment, training and
services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As the largest employer of people who are blind
in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and
Little Rock, Ark., in addition to operating nearly 20 office supply stores across the country and
producing mattresses. IFB produces eyewear under its Twenty200 brand at its Winston-Salem lab and
operates a retail location in Winston-Salem. IFB Solutions funds employee training and services as well
as community programs through grants and private donations, making possible summer camps,
afterschool programs and activities for children who are blind, and Community Low Vision services
through its low-vision Centers across North Carolina and in Little Rock, Ark. ifbsolutions.org
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