Message from the President and CEO
When I have the opportunity to bring someone to The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. for the first time, I always realize how much there is to talk about. Ours is a unique organization, serving two important “bottom lines” as we continually work to achieve the best possible results from our businesses – and at the same time, strive to enhance the lives of individuals who are blind, Deaf-Blind, and blind with other disabilities.
For someone who is being introduced to the Lighthouse, there is a lot to take in. There are the complexities of manufacturing. There is the rich history of the Lighthouse, with over 90 years of serving our community. There is the breadth and depth of the services and technologies that make it possible for employees to succeed here. There is the growing geographical scope of our work, ranging from our operation in Seattle to our Spokane facility to our Base Supply Centers and Contract Management Services team.
As we head into the challenges and opportunities of 2012, I want you to share the excitement I feel when I get to describe these aspects of the Lighthouse – even if you are well aware of our strategic goals and operations.
We’re building on some exceptional occurrences from just the past few months. We had an inspiring visit to the National Industries for the Blind Conference in New Orleans in October with the 2011 Employees of the Year Chris Loomis and Nelly Barnett, giving them the opportunity to expand their leadership skills and knowledge of blindness-related industries. And we are proud to have two more wonderful employees chosen for that honor this year, as you have read in the preceding pages.
We finalized plans for additional plastic injection molding capability, which will expand the kinds of products we can provide to aerospace customers – while at the same time, securing other manufacturing contracts that will result in more jobs for individuals who are blind.
The demand for office products has resulted in increasing the number of employees at our Inland Northwest Lighthouse (INL) in Spokane.
Continually exploring new opportunities for expanding our service business has resulted in a new partnership to provide customer service through our Contact Center.
We’re also working diligently to improve accessibility for employees. Toward that end, I’m glad we were able to bring Julie Brannon into her new role as our Employee Support Services Manager this past fall. With her years of experience as our braille instructor, Julie will apply her energy and expertise to bringing all the supports necessary for the Lighthouse to continue to be a thriving work environment.
Our employees created awareness of safe travel and accessibility to the general public in a number of ways in the past few months. In Seattle, our employees participated in a “Flash Mob” in October, marking National White Can Safety Day with a choreographed dance routine. This fall at INL, Kevin Daniel lent his voice to a City of Spokane initiative to improve sidewalk safety. And at the beginning of 2012, INL hosted a visit by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers who wanted to learn more about the challenges that employees had faced dealing with their vision loss and their search for meaningful employment.
These are important examples of the Lighthouse providing leadership on safety and accessibility issues to our employees as well as to decision-makers and members of the general community.
We’re always striving towards the goals of ensuring opportunities for our employees. For someone new to the organization, it might be hard to understand how plastics and customer service relate to blindness, or how a broken sidewalk can be a serious barrier to a meaningful job. But it’s my pleasure to explain how our ongoing growth, success and focus on accessibility result in employment and self-sufficiency for people who are blind, Deaf-Blind, and blind with other disabilities.
Thank you for your support in creating those successes – I look forward to sharing more of them with you as we proceed through the year.
President & CEO