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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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