IFB Beat – Week of April 10, 2023

A Message from the Editor

I hope everyone had a pleasant Easter weekend. Continuing to get the most important updates in front of you, there’s plenty to share. Our CEO Dan Kelly and the executive team are outlining their plans to transform our business for the future. It’s important you take advantage of the resourceful information the IFB Beat provides for you to stay in the know.

IFB Beat was designed with you in mind. It houses various sections for you to receive important information and discover news you can use. As we continue to build it into the most useful tool possible, I’d like to highlight the Insider Corner edited by Faith Harding.

headshot of Faith“My journey of blindness began with Retinopathy of Prematurity resulting in loosing vision in my left eye at the age of four, going completely blind at the age of eight, various surgeries, exploring the challenges of having low vision during teenage years, and waking up completely blind again in early twenties,” Faith states. “I’m grateful to have experienced life with vision. With the comparison, I’ve learned a great deal about myself and others.”

In 2015, Faith moved to Winston-Salem to work at IFB Solutions as a sewing machine operator. Faith shares, “I appreciate the ability to look back at my growth with IFB Solutions. Working in manufacturing, I felt communication was absent, hints the start of IFB Insider. During its four-year publication, I improved my own communication and leadership skills by joining Visionaries in Public Speaking, leading a team for the Insider, volunteering in Winston’s community, and saying yes to any opportunity that enhances growth from an employment and personal prospective.”

For the past eight years, Faith has been employed in various roles including Administration and Customer Support for our Base Supply Centers. In 2020 she received the Career Achiever of the Year Award, became editor of Insider Corner, president of Visionaries in Public Speaking and became the chairman of Communication in Winston’s employee driven AAA Committee.

Faith recognizes communication is the key to success. All of you have wonderful, thought-provoking information to share, so please do. As we know together, we grow together. Send content to Faith Harding at: fharding@ifbsolutions.org.

Thank you for clicking the link and reading The Beat – have a great week!

Anastasia Powell

IFB Solutions Communications Manager

apowell@ifbsolutions.org | 336-245-5698

Quick Links:

Updates from Senior Leadership

Adjustments to IFB Textile Operations to Accelerate Output

Reminders from Prior Editions of The Beat

Sign Up Now! Volunteers Needed: Winston-Salem Red Cross Blood Drive, April 12 10:00am-2:00pm
Coffee with the CEO Update

New this Week

Congrats to the Winston-Salem Business Essentials Class of 2023
Congrats to the VIPs 2 Minute Table Topics Winners!
See what S.E.E. is doing!
Adult support group meeting schedule
CLVC Item of the Week

From Our Community

Insider Corner
The Forsyth chapter of the National Federation for the Blind invites you to the Second Chance Prom!

HR and Opportunities

IFB Solutions Retirement Plan Webinar
New Job Announcements

Support Group Zoom Meeting Links


Updates from Senior Leadership

Adjustments to IFB Textile Operations to Accelerate Output

Headshot of Dan Kelly        Randy Buckner

As we mentioned in last week’s update, the IFB leadership team is looking for ways to improve operations across our organization. A key opportunity is to accelerate output from our textile operations as we are significantly behind in delivering orders to our customers.

Our priority is to catch up on the two products where our customer is pushing us the hardest to meet immediate needs of our men and women in uniform – T-shirts and PTU. For our employees in Winston-Salem, you’ve already begun to see changes on the plant floor.

  • Immediately, two additional t-shirt lines will be added to the Winston-Salem manufacturing floor
  • These two lines will be staffed by moving employees from MOLLE and PTU
  • In the coming weeks, IFB Solutions will start to shift a portion of MOLLE production to Lion’s Services of Charlotte as part of a new partnership
  • As that happens, employees currently working on MOLLE will help fill additional staffing needs in t-shirts as well as help ramp up production in PTU

We expect these moves in our textile operations to allow us to catch up on our backlogged delivery commitments over the next several months which will significantly improve customer satisfaction.

While we know there will be some short-term challenges with these transitions, we want to say thank you to everyone who will be part of this effort. A huge advantage for our organization is our flexibility and deep pool of experienced employees. We are grateful for your positivity, support and patience.

Please continue to read or listen to The Beat for future updates. If you have questions, we encourage you to send those to Anastasia Powell, IFB Solutions Communications Manager, at apowell@ifbsolutions.org.


Dan Kelly, President and CEO

Randy Buckner, Vice President of Manufacturing Operations

New this Week

Congrats to the Winston-Salem Business Essentials Class of 2023

Business Essentials Graduates
From left to right, back row: Demarious Bowens, Anastasia Powell, Jason Kirkpatrick, Liz Lopez, Robin Raymond, Skyler Mejia; front row: Kim Shoffner, Bobby Ashworth, Amy Maher

IFB Solutions was pleased to partner once again in 2023 with Guildford College to offer a special class, Business Essentials. Michael Dutch, a professor of business management at Guilford College, has been leading this program since it started in 2018. The class covers:

  • Business: what, why and how?
  • Motivating and leading people
  • Ensuring quality

To date, 44 IFB employees have completed the program representing almost 10 percent of its workers who are blind or visually impaired. In his graduation remarks, Dutch highlighted the high-level of participation from the students that extended and contributed to a dynamic learning experience. “This program simply gets better every year, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be leading such an inspiring group of students.”

Each employee received a Business Essentials program certificate. Congratulations to these graduates:

Bobby Ashworth: Machine Operator in the Marker Department

Demarious Bowens: Credit Collections Clerk in the Finance Department.

Kim Shoffner: Youth Program Coordinator at Tracy’s Little Red Schoolhouse

Jason Kirkpatrick: Supply Chain Analyst in the Supply Chain Department.

Liz Lopez: Buyer for IFB’s Base Supply Center Division

Amy Maher:  Machine Operator in the Vinyl Department

Skyler Mejia: Machine Operator in the Staple Department

Anastasia Powell: Communications Manager in the Marketing Department

Robin Raymond: Staff Accountant in the Finance Department.

Way to go graduates!


Congrats to the VIPs 2 Minute Table Topic Winners!

Photo collage of winners
From left to right: Winter Robinson is presented with the First Place Prize; Naomi Venable is presented with the second place prize; Oryan Battis delivers his speech.

The VIPS Two Minute Table Topics contest in Winston-Salem was a great success! Employees had two minutes to answer a random question with no right or wrong responses, just their opinion, for a chance to win cash prizes for first, second, and third place winners. There were eight contestants and a room of fellow IFB employees cheering every minute of the way!

Here are your 2023 Two Minute Table Topics Winners:

  • First place: Winter Robinson
  • Second place: Naomi Venable
  • Third place: Oryan Battis

That’s how you talk about it! Way to go!

See what S.E.E. is Doing

racer made from popsicle sticks and bottle caps.

S.E.E. After School Winston made racers with popsicle sticks frame, wooden skewers inside straws for axles, soda bottle caps for wheels, and rubber band power. We twisted them up and let them go racing down the hallway of the schoolhouse for a fun afternoon of building, racing, and exploring physics.

Adult Support Group Meetings:

  • Monday, April 10 NFB support group meeting from 12:00-12:45 in TADS Room.
  • Tuesday, April 11 Transportation support group meeting from 12:00-12:45 in TADS Room.
  • Wednesday, April 13 Blind Ambitions support group meeting from 12:00-12:45 in TADS Room.


CLVC Item of the Week:


orange vest with reflective stripes

Safety Vest for $13.95

Keep yourself visible and protected. The vest comes in a Bright Neon Orange mesh with a reflective silver vertical stripe on each side, front and back for better visibility in low light. Vest has a front closure with side ties.

CLVC April Item of the Month:

boldwriter pens

BoldWriter 20 Pen Easy-To-See BoldPoint- Black for $1.29. The superior pen for those without 20-20 vision.

  • This replacement for the discontinued 20/20 Pen is easy-to-see and read with incredibly vivid, high-visibility black ink.
  • Quick-drying— NO smudges and doesn’t bleed through paper.
  • Bold point produces highly legible line width— ideal for low vision and visually impaired users.
  • Easy-to-grip design— great for seniors and those with dexterity issues.
  • Superior quality— Made in the USA.

If you are interested in purchasing Low Vision Equipment through our Loan Program (3rd Party), please contact a Low Vision Coordinator for assistance.


From our Community

Insider Corner

This section is edited by Faith Harding.

I know you have amazing information to share. Stop thinking about it, and be about it. Send to: fharding@ifbsolutions.org. Make it an awesome week!


North Carolina Library Association 2023 Conference

The State Library of NC Accessible Books and Library Services (formerly NC Library for the Blind) needs a couple of people that are active library patrons to be on a discussion panel this fall. The SLNC ABLS would like very much to have a patron panel for the North Carolina Library Association Conference in October from 10/17-10/20 this year, and the conference will be held in downtown Winston-Salem. If you are interested, please contact Kim Shoffner at kshoffner@ifbsolutions.org or extension 5669.

American Printing House for the Blind Introduces Employment Connections

APH ConnectCenter is launching a new quarterly webinar, Employment Connections, focusing on employment-related topics. For their first edition, they will discuss when job seekers should disclose their disability. Read the blog, Introducing “Employment Connections.” First Topic: Disclosing a Disability – CareerConnect (aphcareerconnect.org) to hear details on the webinar and to learn about disclosing a disability from our first guest, Russell Shaffer, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Programs at (disabilityin.org).

Then, join the APH ConnectCenter for the virtual event on April 13th at 6PM Eastern. Register for the Zoom webinar here.


The Forsyth chapter of the National Federation for the Blind invites you to the Second Chance Prom!

Dance the night away all over again!

The Forsyth chapter of the NFB is hosting it’s first annual Second Chance Prom! This is a fun opportunity for you to enjoy a night of dancing, food, and prizes! It’s a formal affair so, dress your best!

When: Saturday, June 17 2023
Where: Hampton Inn & Suites Winston-Salem Downtown Hotel, 235 Cherry St.
Time: 6:00pm-10:00pm
Cost: $30 per person

Tickets are on sale now! To purchase contact NFB president Angela Hanes (ACS department) or Brian Ballard (Vinyl department).


HR & Opportunities

IFB Solutions Retirement Plan Webinar

Effective February 1, IFB merged the Profit-Sharing Retirement plan with First Citizens Wealth Management. If you missed the in-person presentations the week of March 20th or want to refresh your memory you can view it anytime with the link below.

Winston Salem Industries for the Blind Retirement Plan webinar

For any questions or concerns, contact Ciara Frenette at cfrenette@ifbsolutions.org or 336-245-5644.


New Job Announcements

For all current openings, visit https://www.paycomonline.net/v4/ats/web.php/jobs?clientkey=8B43E6E34C5D5C9AA3D07BB04DBEB909

BSC Store Clerk- McGuire AFB

Education and work experience:

  • High School Diploma
  • No prior experience required.

External candidates may apply at https://www.paycomonline.net/v4/ats/web.php/jobs/ViewJobDetails?job=60009&clientkey=8B43E6E34C5D5C9AA3D07BB04DBEB909

Internal candidates may apply at https://www.paycomonline.net/v4/ats/web.php/jobs/ViewJobDetails?job=60010&clientkey=8B43E6E34C5D5C9AA3D07BB04DBEB909&jpt=ce8685cef740a6280b5fcb492b556fa5



Zoom Meeting Links

Adult Support Groups Zoom

Meeting ID: 994 9807 8576
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+13017158592,99498078576# US (Germantown)

13126266799,99498078576# US

Dial by your location.
877 853 5257 US Toll-free
888 475 4499 US Toll-free
Meeting ID: 994 9807 8576


Assistive Technology Support Group Zoom


Meeting ID: 944 3463 0872
Passcode: 924496

+13017158592, 99434630872, #, # US (Germantown)

+13126266799, 99434630872, #, # US (Chicago)