IFB Beat – Week of June 26, 2023

A Message from the Editor

Hello IFB Solutions!

I hope The Beat finds you preparing for a great week! In this issue we hear an update from Dan Kelly, introduce you to our new hires, update you regarding trans-aid bus passes, give next steps on new core benefits enrollment in The Benefit of the Week, and last, but not least, require your thinking cap for The Beat Riddle of the Week.

Riddle: The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?

Stroll the Beat to find the answer. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Anastasia Powell

IFB Solutions Communications Manager

apowell@ifbsolutions.org | 336-245-5698

Quick Links:

New this Week

Update from Dan Kelly on 5 Key Strategies
Meet our New Hires
Asheville Facility Receives Gold Safety Award
Winston-Salem Trans-Aid Bus Pass Update
See what S.E.E. is Doing
Adult Support Group Meetings
CLVC Item of the Week

From Our Community

Insider Corner

HR and Opportunities

Benefit of the Week
New Job Openings

Support Group Zoom Meeting Links


New this Week

Update from Dan Kelly on 5 Key Strategies

I want to thank everyone across our organization for your professionalism and dedication during the recent changes at IFB. While I believe wholeheartedly that the steps we have taken will position us for growth and success in the future, this path would not be possible without each of you. I’m grateful for the support and positivity you continue to demonstrate.

The decision to close the Little Rock facility was a result of our ongoing work across 5 Key strategic areas to improve ratio (maintaining at least 75% direct-labor work hours) and profitability at IFB. Those Strategies, which were introduced in the March 13 issue of The Beat (read here: https://ifbsolutions.org/ifb-beat-week-of-march-13-2023/#one-a), put a particular focus on the following areas:

  • Clean Financials
  • Data Integrity
  • Textiles Optimization
  • HR Recruitment and Retention
  • Base Supply Centers

Earlier this month, a large portion of IFB’s Leadership Team met for an all-day work session to review our progress against these 5 Key Strategies, and below is a brief update.

Clean Financials: It’s critical that any decision our leaders make is based on solid and accurate financial data. The finance team has done exceptional work to ensure our expenses are staying current and are accurately posted. This has resulted in reducing the age of our expenses from more than 6 months to 60 days or less. Improved expense monitoring has also caught a significant number of inaccurate or unnecessary payments. While the entire team contributed, I want to recognize and thank Natalya Pochkhidze, IFB’s Corporate Controller for her oversight on this effort.

Data Integrity: We identified two primary areas of improvement within this strategy of 1) reviewing and confirming the validity of every sales order, and 2) streamlining the flow of employee information in our systems. This effort represented a collaboration between Finance and Supply Chain, lead by Kenya Belle, Amy Poole and Ken Mullins, and has already reviewed 90 percent of IFB’s more than 2,000 sales orders and is making major headway to reduce the nearly 9,000 duplicate records in our D365 system. I’d like to also recognize Shashank Muttineni and the rest of the IT team for their incredible support of both the Clean Financials and Data Integrity efforts.

Textile Optimization: The transition of our Little Rock operations was a major focus of this Key Strategy, and we have already seen a 20% increase in daily T-shirt output from the WS team. Importantly, through increased output and other adjustments, we’ve successfully reduced our backorders by nearly 40%. Other efforts to improve profitability have included securing price increases for certain products and exiting unprofitable lines such as the MOLLE, PTU and future orders for PTG. Dozens of individuals inside teams ranging from operations, engineering, HR, communications and supply chain have been involved with the Textile Optimization strategy and I’d like to thank them for their hard work.

HR Recruitment and Retention:  This Key Strategy speaks to the heart of IFB’s business of creating employment opportunities for people who are blind. To achieve greater accountability and success, we created a new HR team led by Kelly Speas to focus on how we successfully recruit and on the dynamics of ratio from our operational activities. Under our new Director of HR Administration Luyann Ledesma and supported by Ciara Frenette, Benefits Administrator, we’ve focused on launching a new retirement plan, an improved benefit program and added a new member to the HR team, Aleecia Hansley. We’ve also worked to improve organizational communications through things like “Coffee with the CEO” and the IFB Beat. The CEO conversations have been especially meaningful to me and underscored how much our entire organization cares about the communities we serve and the steps we are taking for our future success.

Base Supply Center Overhaul: The BSC environment is evolving so it was important for our continued success that we reevaluate and renew our BSC business strategy. Since launching the BSC Key Strategy in early 2023 under IFB’s Director of BSC David Newsome, we’ve improved our margins, realized significant reductions in inventory and signed four partner vendor agreements to grow our sales opportunities. I want to recognize the leadership of Jim Caliendo, Tracye Miller and Shannon Martin and highlight Debbie Storms at our West Point BSC Store who is paving the way with applying the new sales-centric culture with huge success in sales growth and customer relationships.

I could not be prouder of the progress we have made as an organization across these 5 Key Strategies. None of them are simple or easy, and to achieve success, we must work together as a team. Our outlook for the future is bright. Case in point, during our recent Leadership Team meeting, each attendee was asked for one word that encompassed how that person was feeling about our organization. Some of those words included “Energized” and “Optimistic.” My word was Passionate. I hope as you reflect on this update and the transitions already underway that you too are feeling Energized, Optimistic and Passionate.

Dan Kelly,

IFB Solutions President and CEO


Meet our New Hires!

Gerardo Ortiz started with IFB on June 12th as a Machine Operator in the ACS department. He will be working under the direction of Rikki Moosbrugger. We look forward to the talent he will contribute to the ACS team!

Toni Fraser started with IFB on June 12th as a Low Vision Services Outreach Coordinator. She will be working under the direction of Shannon Satterfield. We look forward to all that she will contribute to the Low Vision team!

Welcome to all our Camp H20 Seasonal Teachers. They started with IFB on June 18th and will be working under the direction of Allia Romero.
Phillip Wilkinson
Clara Long
Kathryne Avery
Nemanja Novakovic
Davian Robinson

We look forward to all the excitement they will add to the summer camp experience!


Asheville Facility Receives Gold Safety Award

Image of Tony Brake accepting the award from Commissioner Josh Dobson

Tony Brake, Asheville’s Employee of the Year accepts the Gold Safety Award presented by NC Commissioner Josh Dobson. For the second year in a row, the Asheville facility received the Gold Safety Award from the North Carolina Department of Labor. Asheville employees have worked over 2700 days without a lost time accident and have not had a doctor related injury in several years. Congratulations Asheville employees! Keep up the safe work!


Winston-Salem Trans-Aid Bus Pass Update

Effective immediately, if you need a Trans-Aid bus pass, please see HR Representative Aleecia Hansley during your morning break. Her office is located directly across from Brenda Livingston next to the lobby door. If you have any questions, you can reach Aleecia at 336-245-5612. Please note Ciara Frenette no longer responsible distributes these passes.

See what S.E.E. is Doing

view of the newly planted garden

S.E.E. After School Winston planted a garden in the raised bed in the backyard of the schoolhouse. The tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, and potatoes have already pushed through the dirt for the sunshine and rain. The lemon balm, spearmint, and basil are healthy plants. Now we are waiting on the okra and squash to show their little green shoots. All of these will be fun to use during S.E.E. Day Camp Winston this summer.


IFB Beat Riddle of the Week

Question: The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?
Answer: Footsteps.

Adult Support Group Meetings:

  • Monday, June 26 Guide Dog support group meeting from 12:00-12:45 in TADS Room.
  • Tuesday, June 27 Glaucoma support group meeting from 12:00-12:45 in TADS Room.


CLVC Item of the Week:

image of can opener

Electric Can Opener and Knife Sharpener for $19.95. Great for Opening Larger Size Cans!
This Electric Can Opener and Knife Sharpener was designed to accommodate larger cans (up to around 6-1/2 in. tall) and has a twist-off cutting lever that detaches from the base for easy cleaning.

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. Have something to share? Email Faith at fharding@ifbsolutions.org

Realizing my current life is determined by my past decisions, encourages better decisions for my future. What decisions are you making today for tomorrow? Write down who and where you want to be in the future. Put a date on it. Challenge yourself to accomplish it. Read it and make decisions toward it every day. There’s more validity to this than you think. If you have something to share, I’m all ears.

Make this a superb week!


Here are Some iPhone Codes You May Want to Try

The dialer on your iPhone is much more than just a place to enter phone numbers and place a call. You can use it to enter secret codes to learn more about your iPhone, assist in troubleshooting, and even hide your caller ID during outgoing calls

  1. Check Cellular Data Usage
  • Many service providers offer an app to check how much data you have left on your cellular plan. However, there is another way to get an accurate reading by using the following codes:
  • AT&T: *3282#
  • Verizon: #3282
  • T-Mobile: #932#
  • When you use any of these codes, you’ll either get an audio readout or a text message informing you about your total data usage for the month.
  1. Hide Caller ID (*67)
  • If you want to hide your name or phone number and make anonymous calls, use the *67 secret code before the phone number you want to call. This code will hide your caller ID on the recipient’s screen. When you call someone, they’ll see Unknown, Private, or No Caller ID on their screen.
  • If you want to show your Caller ID, add *82 before the phone number you want to call. This code will display your name and number on the recipient’s screen.
  1. Check Cellular Balance (*225# Postpaid, *777# Prepaid)
  • You can check your bill balance by typing the *225# code if you’re on postpaid. T-Mobile (#225#).
  • For prepaid, use the code *777# to check your account balance.
  • These codes are free to use and work for most carriers.
  1. Forward Calls (*21<Phone Number#)
  • You can forward incoming calls to your answering machine or another phone number. Simply dial *#21# to check your call forwarding status.
  • Use the *21(phone number) # code to enable or disable call forwarding. Add the phone number you want to forward your calls to after dialing *21.


HR & Opportunities

Your Benefit of the Week

This section is a weekly feature supported by IFB Solutions Benefits Supervisor Ciara Frenette. Reach her at cfrenette@ifbsolutions.org.

Benefit of the week: If you are enrolled in IFB’s offered medical plan with Healthgram that begins on 7/1/2023 you have received a “Health Connect Advisor” pamphlet. Your Advisors are there to answer questions about your health plan, sort out billing problems, help you save money on healthcare costs, find the right doctor, hospital and facility for you or your family members, and support you every step of the way. Everything you need to manage your health is just a call away! Add your Advisor to your contacts: 1-866-904-9081. Within the next week, you will receive your ID cards in the mail.

Register your member portal to verify coverage, request a copy of your ID card, check claims status and more from your mobile-friendly online portal.
Register at: https://members.healthgram.com/register/index.cfm

New Job Announcements

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

Customer Service Representative – NC Department of Vital Statistics

Education and work experience:

  • Minimum of 1 year of call center experience preferred.
  • Associate degree or higher in a related field preferred.
  • Ability to speak Spanish preferred.

External candidates may apply at https://www.paycomonline.net/v4/ats/web.php/jobs/ViewJobDetails?job=65379&clientkey=8B43E6E34C5D5C9AA3D07BB04DBEB909

Internal candidates may apply at https://www.paycomonline.net/v4/ats/web.php/jobs/ViewJobDetails?job=65380&clientkey=8B43E6E34C5D5C9AA3D07BB04DBEB909&jpt=ce8685cef740a6280b5fcb492b556fa5


BSC Buyer

Education and work experience:

  • Minimum 2 years business or purchasing experience required.
  • Associate degree or equivalent experience preferred.
  • D365 or other ERP system experience a plus
  • Fluent in both English and Spanish a plus

 External candidates may apply at https://www.paycomonline.net/v4/ats/web.php/jobs/ViewJobDetails?job=65693&clientkey=8B43E6E34C5D5C9AA3D07BB04DBEB909

Internal candidates may apply at https://www.paycomonline.net/v4/ats/web.php/jobs/ViewJobDetails?job=65694&clientkey=8B43E6E34C5D5C9AA3D07BB04DBEB909&jpt=ce8685cef740a6280b5fcb492b556fa5


BSC Store Clerk- Department of Energy Washington DC

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=65686&clientkey=8B43E6E34C5D5C9AA3D07BB04DBEB909

Internal candidates may apply at https://www.paycomonline.net/v4/ats/web.php/jobs/ViewJobDetails?job=65687&clientkey=8B43E6E34C5D5C9AA3D07BB04DBEB909&jpt=ce8685cef740a6280b5fcb492b556fa5


Zoom Meeting Links

Adult Support Groups Zoom

Meeting ID: 994 9807 8576
One tap mobile
+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)