IFB Beat – Week of May 15, 2023

A Message from the Editor

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers at IFB Solutions! We hope you enjoy your special day!

If you read nothing else in this week’s Beat, please note that open enrollment for core benefits begins Monday, May 15. Read through the benefit guides posted below, and set an appointment with a benefit coach to talk through options and complete your enrollment.

Ever wondered why so much talk about Ratio and Compliance here at IFB? Want to know how employees are leading by example to knock down outdated barriers? Need scholarship assistance with continuing your education? Well, take a few minutes to find answers to these questions and much more in this week’s issue of the IFB Beat.

Have a great week!

Anastasia Powell

IFB Solutions Communications Manager

apowell@ifbsolutions.org | 336-245-5698

Quick Links:

New this Week

Open Enrollment Begins Monday, May 15
What’s Happening on the Floor: IFB Solutions Ratio and Compliance Update
Winners: Mother’s Day Raffle from the Philanthropy Team
Barrier Awareness Day
See what S.E.E. is Doing
Adult Support Group Meetings
CLVC Item of the Week

HR and Opportunities

Your Benefit of the Week
The Tina Bess and Daniel J. Boucher Scholarship for the 2023-2024 Academic Year

Support Group Zoom Meeting Links


New this Week

Open Enrollment Begins Monday, May 15

On Monday May 15, enrollment will open for full-time IFB Solutions benefits for medical, dental, vision, life, disability, and more.

For many benefits, our carriers are changing; the biggest is that Healthgram will replace BlueCross BlueShield for medical, and Dental and Vision will now be offered through MetLife.

To help you learn more, and to enroll:

  1. Benefit Coaches are available to understand what benefit is best for your needs. They can also enroll you in benefits. Schedule an appointment today with this link: https://flimp.live/IFB2023 or call 877-277-7476.
  2. Representatives from our benefits provider (McGriff) will be on-site in Winston-Salem on Monday, May 15 in the afternoon in TAD’s Room and on-site in Asheville on Tuesday, May 16 in the afternoon in the conference room. More details will be announced in The Beat that comes out Sunday evening May 14. Virtual sessions will be announced soon for remote employees.
  3. Benefits overview guides that detail benefits and costs are available below:

If you have questions about the enrollment process, contact Ciara Frenette at cfrenette@ifbsolutions.org or 336-245-5644.

If you have questions about benefits, a Benefit Coach is going to be the most helpful source of answers. Book an appointment now via the link in #1) above.


What’s Happening on the Floor: IFB Solutions Ratio and Compliance Update

Many employees have seen the word, “ratio” used within IFB’s notices. For those of us who are not familiar with the term, here’s some information about ratio and new initiatives created to support our overall organizational goals.

As an ability one agency, IFB Solutions is required to maintain a minimum of 75% workers with a visual impairment in direct labor positions. This requirement assists in gaining and maintaining our government contracts. Direct labor is considered to be any job function that impacts a finished product or service. The official definition from the AbilityOne commission explains direct labor as “all work required for preparation, processing, and packaging of a product or work directly related to the performance of a service, but not supervision, administration, inspection, or shipping.”

Headshot of Kelly SpeasHistorically, IFB’s ratio performance has been in line with the requirements of the commission. Like other areas of the business, our blind to sighted direct labor ratio performance was impacted by the pandemic. Covid obstructed supply chain, work force, and overall mix and portfolio of products. These challenges prompted our CEO Dan Kelly to create a new team with a leader who can oversee Ratio and Recruiting. Kelly Speas moved into this role after a long tenure in optical operations within IFB.

In her new role, Kelly understands the importance of developing a new comprehensive team focused on ratio and compliance. This collaboration includes manufacturing managers/supervisors, trainers, engineering and HR. This awesome group will look into our manufacturing operations, job conversions, training ideas, Paycom and job coding, as well as potential accommodations. The group meets bi-weekly, and you may see projects in progress over time.

If you have ideas on improving our overall ratio or converting a current sighted job to a blind friendly position, feel free to reach out to your supervisor for discussion.

As time goes on, we will continue to provide updates on the ratio team activities and performance. Your feedback, ideas, and support are always welcomed and critical to long term ratio success.


Winners: Mother’s Day Raffle from the Philanthropy Team

Happy Mothers Day from The IFB Beat! Last week we announced a drawing for two beautiful gift baskets from the Philanthropy team, and here’s your winners:

basket winners collage
From left to right: Connie McClure and Leslie McClure; Aida Valentin and Elisabeth Rodriguez.

For basket 1, congratulations to Connie McClure, Sewing Operator in the Fuel Handler Suit Department and her daughter, Leslie McClure, In-Line Inspector in the Poncho Liners and Fuel Handler Suit Departments, both at our Asheville, NC facility.

For basket 2, congratulations to Aida Valentin, Sewing Operator in the PTU Department and her daughter, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Sewing Operator in the T-Shirts Department, both at our Winston-Salem, NC facility.


Barrier Awareness Day

Anastasia Powell and Kim Shoffner lead by example on Barrier Awareness Day Sponsored by the Winston-Salem Mayor’s Council on Persons with Disabilities.

collage of Barrier Awareness Day photos

On May 5, participants of Barrier Awareness Day assumed a disability for the morning. Venturing into Winston’s community, they experienced various difficulties people with disabilities face daily. With the choice of being blindfolded and using a cane or traveling in a wheelchair, challengers discovered a new perspective of life. They visited stores located in Thru Way shopping center and government buildings downtown. The goal was to raise awareness toward challenges people with disabilities face and encourage interdependence between persons with and without disabilities. When asked for their feedback after the experience they shared, “having a positive, can do, attitude is a key factor in living with a disability.”


See what S.E.E. is Doing

snack craft of Twizzlers and pretzel sticks nest, jellybeans eggs, and a Peeps chick

S.E.E. After School Winston had a springtime snack of a bird sitting on eggs in her nest. They got creative with a Twizzlers and pretzel sticks nest, jellybeans eggs, and a Peeps chick. Building the nest was part of the fun. Eating the craft was enjoyed as well.

Adult Support Group Meetings:

  • Monday, May 15 AAA Committee meeting from 12:00-1:00 in TADS Room.
  • Tuesday, May 16, VIPS Club meeting from 12:00-1:00 in TADS Room.
  • Wednesday, May 17 Diabetic support group meeting from 12:00-12:45 in TADS Room.
  • Thursday, May 18 Assistive Technology support group meeting from 7:00-8:00 via Zoom (link at end of newsletter)


CLVC Item of the Week:

tactile map book

Tactile Continents Map – $39.95

This tactile book contains 9 maps of the continents with raised lines and Braille labels. Maps include the world, North America, South America, Europe, North Asia, South Asia, Southwest Asia, Africa, and Oceania. This map book is a great learning aid for the Blind or Visually Impaired.

CLVC May Item of the Month:

Image of Heated Foot Massager by Moshi

Heated Foot Massager by Moshi – $39.95

The Massage Boot with warmer function will stimulate blood circulation and eliminate fatigue. In addition, the heating option provides soothing warmth for your feet. 3 vibration modes provide multiple massaging options, and the speed can be increased for higher effectiveness.

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



HR & Opportunities

Your Benefit of the Week

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

Plan Features available if you are enrolled in Voluntary Supplemental Life Coverage:

Grief Counseling: You, your dependents, and your beneficiaries have access to grief counseling sessions and funeral related concierge services to help cope with a loss – at no extra cost! Grief counseling services provide confidential and professional support during a difficult time to help address personal and funeral planning needs.

At your time of need, you and your dependents have 24/7 access to a work/life counselor. You simply call a dedicated 24/7 number to speak with a licensed professional experienced in helping individuals who have suffered a loss. Sessions can either take place in-person or by phone. You have up to five face-to-face grief counseling sessions per event to discuss any situation you perceive as a major loss; including but not limited to death, bankruptcy, divorce, terminal illness, or losing a pet. In addition, you have access to funeral assistance for locating funeral homes and cemetery options, obtaining funeral cost estimates and comparisons, and more.

You can access these services by calling 1-1-888-319-7819 or log on to www.metlifegc.lifeworks.com

Username: metlifeassist

Password: support


The Tina Bess and Daniel J. Boucher Scholarship for the 2023-2024 Academic Year

IFB offers its employees two scholarships to further their post-secondary education. The Tina Bess Scholarship and Daniel J. Boucher scholarship are offered to our employees and direct dependents to continue their education in accredited universities or colleges and is described below. There is a formal process that individuals must follow to be considered for a scholarship also described below:

1. The Tina Bess Scholarship is for blind, visually impaired, or sighted employees – who are full-time, are in good standing and have completed 1 year of service. Tina Bess was employed at IFB for 30 years as a Production Assistant. She was recognized as the 2001 Career Achiever and twice honored as the employee of the year. Tina was best remembered by her peers as a mentor, advisor, and friend. Tina did not allow her vision impairment to hold her back from being independent, instead using her circumstance to maintain a steadfast level of determination, perseverance, and courage. Countless employees during her time at IFB have told stories of Tina’s personal generosity, commitment, and loyalty to them and the organization. Tina’s excellence and inner-drive to perform was the priceless personal character contributor to all who came in contact with her.

2. The Daniel J. Boucher Scholarship is for blind, visually impaired, or sighted employees and their direct dependents – the employee must be full-time, in good standing and have completed 1 year of service. Mr. Boucher served as the IFB President from 1996-2008 prior to working in the role of Executive Chairman from 2008 through 2016. During his time as President, he led IFB through tremendous growth establishing new business lines including Optical, BSC store locations, and services, resulting in tremendous growth of blind employment nation-wide. This scholarship was established by a friend of Mr. Boucher’s to honor his legacy and provide opportunities for continued professional development for those Mr. Boucher worked with and held in the highest regard.

To be considered for either scholarship, each applicant must submit a completed application, an acceptance letter from the college or university, a copy of the student ID (front and back), and documentation of the tuition and associated costs.

The deadline for submitting applications and all supporting materials indicated above is Friday, June 9, 2023. Supporting materials should be submitted to Brent Burkholder at bburkholder@ifbsolutions.org. All applications should be completed at the following links:

Tina Bess Scholarship Application: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=SQbDxA4fmESiHhoGX06NHOYPKmJQb4VLrwA3jsZJq_NURE5WQVY4NlBFSlJQTExHRUNaNVJSNE9OQS4u

Daniel Boucher Scholarship Application: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=SQbDxA4fmESiHhoGX06NHOYPKmJQb4VLrwA3jsZJq_NUM1Y5RzFGQ0w3VlQ2UDFIQUROVlhQM1lLQS4u

Once all applications and supporting materials are received, the committee will consider each applicant for an award. If chosen, the recipient must show proof of class attendance and must complete all classes with at least a “C” to be considered for future funding. The amount of the scholarship awarded depends on tuition costs submitted, how many applicants are being considered for scholarships and funds being available in each scholarship fund.

For more information, please contact Brent Burkholder at 336-245-5611 or bburkholder@ifbsolutions.org.



New Job Announcements

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



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)