Message from the President and CEO
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It’s hard to believe that so much of the year has already raced by — and speaking of racing, please visit the event page links listed below about the record-holding triathlete who is the keynote speaker at our Redefining Vision Luncheon, and about the 2nd Annual Spokane Braille Rally in June at Inland Northwest Lighthouse (INL).
Successful outreach to the community through events like the Luncheon and the Braille Rally serve our mission-related goals – and there is also a lot to report in regards to our businesses and our support of employees. In each issue of Horizons, I share with you an update about the Lighthouse’s progress in our Strategic Initiatives, with the ultimate goal under our Strategic Plan of creating and sustaining 500 livable wage jobs.
Within the strategy of Building Core Manufacturing Capabilities, we have added new Okuma mills to allow for the machining of titanium, which positions The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. to participate in the next generation of aerospace manufacturing. We’re exploring the possibility of adding high temperature plastic injection molding, which would also further broaden our product line.
We also have great news to report on in the area of Developing Service Businesses. We’ve entered into an additional agreement to perform Contract Management in San Diego for the Defense Contract Management Agency. This is a wonderful development since we are currently also working into our second year performing similar work for the US Navy. We’re also aggressively pursuing the creation of additional Base Supply Centers. And we’re happy to see growth in another area of our service business, our Contact Center. In recent months, the Contact Center has completed work performing “mystery shopping” surveys by phone for a hotel company. We have also kicked off a new contract to perform sales calls for a local catering company. Because our employees have historically provided outstanding service for our internal customers, we’re excited about expanding this skill set to serve more partners.
Under our Physical and Geographic Expansion initiative, the current focus of our Board of Trustees ad hoc committee is Spokane. Our goal is to expand an additional 48,000 square feet as our office product line being produced at INL continues to grow. We are judiciously examining our options and making sure that expansion can be sustained. Our long-term goal is to add 40 jobs for individuals who are blind and visually impaired after this expansion is eventually completed. We’re also talking to other blindness-related organizations on the West Coast about future partnerships, in which we would lend our manufacturing management expertise to bolster the operations – and create more jobs.
Another of our strategic initiatives is to Expand Accommodations and Training Opportunities. One highlight in this area is a new Community Resource Series implemented over the past several months in which local organizations and government agencies share their expertise with our employees. For instance, over the winter organizations that support blind and Deaf-Blind skiers came to share about their programs, along with the tactile experience of touching cross country and downhill skis. Other presenters have provided information on affordable housing and on the Seattle Fire Department. Another area of has been the addition of technology to increase accessibility, including the recent purchase of seven braille displays and 13 Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs). Continued growth under this initiative means we’re providing more opportunities for our employees.
The final strategic initiative to Expand the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation is highlighted well in the accompanying letter from Foundation Board President, Howie Dickerman. In the past few months, we’ve added three new Foundation board members who have taken on meaningful roles to expand our charitable resources. In order to support all of our strategic initiatives and to meet our goal of increasing the number of employment opportunities, it will take the resources provided by our business partnerships and our community supporters.
Thank you for your support of The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. We’re honored by your involvement and thank you for what your investment makes possible.
President & CEO