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AIB Proud of Ties to Serving Military

AIB Proud of Ties to Serving Military…

David Marshall and Rushie Cochran recently won awards for their service to the military. Both are blind and are part of a team at Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB) that produce ALL the neckties worn by the U.S. Armed Forces.

David was on the high school track team and a wrestling champion before graduating from Alabama School for the Blind in 1982. Almost 40 years later he remains an important member of the AIB team as an outstanding performer at his job in paper products and neckties.

Rushie is no stranger to accomplishment, earning first place trophies in track while in school at the Florida School for the Blind. She has brought that spirit of achievement with her to AIDB where she has worked in various positions since 1971 and is currently a supervisor at AIB in the government contract area.

David and Rushie share a common commitment to provide exceptional quality items to the U.S. Government. AIB is an associated manufacturing agency for National Industries for the Blind, which is part of the AbilityOne Program, the country’s largest source of employment for those who are blind or have significant disabilities. AbilityOne provides jobs to about 45,000 people nationwide through the manufacture and delivery of products and services to the federal government.

AIB contributes to this effort by manufacturing neckties for all branches of the United States military, aviator bags for the U.S. Air Force, chemical suit bags for the U.S. Army, and bio-degradable deck swabs for the U.S. Navy. AIB has held the exclusive contract to make the neckties for about 60 years and, at any given time, as many as 90,000 neckties are moving through the manufacturing line. Last year, AIB opened its fourth supply store on a military base– this one in Warner Robbins, Georgia. It also has operations at Moody Air Force Base (Georgia) as well as the Redstone Arsenal and Fort Rucker (Alabama). A satellite manufacturing site is located in Birmingham, Alabama at the Birmingham Regional Center.

The facility in Talladega, Alabama does screen printing for individuals, groups, colleges and universities and also manufacturers other items such as the hats worn by employees of the Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln, biscuit mix bags for the Jim ‘N Nicks Bar-B-Q chain out of Birmingham, Alabama and safety vests for the Alabama Department of Transportation.

At AIB, providing the small things many may take for granted in life is the key to helping a vibrant workforce of blind, visually impaired and disabled employees reach their limitless potential. “Our mission here is to remove those barriers as best we can,” said AIB Diversity and Outreach Coordinator Donovan Beitel, a 1988 graduate of Alabama School for the Blind. “We create avenues to help them help themselves be whatever they want to be.”