Return to Headlines

Celebrating the 2024 Blind Workers of the Year

By Jacque Cordle, Director, Marketing and Community Relations, Office of Institutional Advancement

This spring, Charissa Archield and Michael Taylor were named the Blind Workers of the Year by AIB. Each year employees of AIB nominate their colleagues for the honor. “We are thrilled to come together as an agency to recognize the hard work and dedication of our own,” said Jeff Papalia, Executive Director, Alabama Industries for the Blind.

Charissa Archield smiles to camera. Charissa Archield, Manager of the Base Supply Center at Anniston Army Depot, is the 2024 recipient of the Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award. The award is presented to an individual who demonstrates career advancement at a National Industries for the Blind associated nonprofit agency or in the private sector. Named after the late Dr. Samuelson, the award is a tribute to his leadership in establishing upward mobility and placement programs for people who are blind. Nominees are evaluated for the award based on job performance, positive activities both at work and in their community, and career advancement or steps taken toward career development, such as participating in training or attending college. “Charissa is a real team player who exhibits her desire to help Alabama Industries for the Blind succeed through her day-to-day actions,” said Susanne Willis, Sales and Marketing Manager.

“Whether it’s sharing her personal journey about losing her eyesight or explaining what the Skilcraft brand represents, she is putting herself out there to educate and motivate people to purchase items from AIB.”

Archield began her employment at AIB in 2021, as a production employee on the tie line. Archield soon joined the Upward Mobility Program which allowed her to gain hands-on experience in several AIB departments. Archield also completed a leadership course offered by the National Industries for the Blind. “The Upward Mobility Program at AIB set me up to experience multiple areas within AIB, and that equipped me to be in the role I am today,” said Archield.

Michael Taylor smiles to camera. Michael Taylor, Screen Print and Embroidery Assistant, is the 2024 recipient of the Peter J. Salmon Award. The award honors employees who excel in their positions at National Industries for the Blind-associated agencies. The award is named after the late Dr. Peter J. Salmon, who was instrumental in the passage of the Wagner O-Day Act and the formation of the National Industries for the Blind. Nominees for the Peter J. Salmon Award are people who are blind and currently employed in a direct labor manufacturing or service operation in a National Industries for the Blind-associated nonprofit agency. Nominees are evaluated for the award based on job performance and positive activities in both the workplace and in their communities.

“My mother had no options when I graduated high school,” said Taylor. “She had to figure it out for two children with a very aggressive eye disease. She found E. H. Gentry Facility and that led to AIB. I am so thankful that AIB is here.” Taylor began his career at AIB in 1993 and has been a valuable member of the Screen Print Department for over twenty years. “Michael takes pride in providing the best possible product and service to his customers,” said Keith Powell, Supervisor, Screen Print and Embroidery Department. “Visitors to AIB are always delighted and impressed by his knowledge and dedication to the mission of AIB.”