Beyond Vision

2020/2021 Annual Report

Downloadable PDF

Read below for the Accessible Text version:

Table of Contents:
President Message
Our Mission Impacts The Community
Helping Students
Volunteer Board of Directors
The VisABILITY Center is becoming A Reality
Architect, Chris Downey
Meet Stacy
The Power of Culture
2020-2021 Donor Thank You List


Beyond Vision – 2020-2021 Annual Report

[image]Beyond Vision logo with Milwaukee Skyline in the background. | 5316 West State Street | 414-778-5800

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President Message

The past two years of progress for Beyond Vision can be summed up this way…
#MissionFirst. Over a decade ago, our leadership team embraced the philosophy that our mission should drive every decision we make. We continually ask ourselves if we are making the best decision for the mission, ahead of personal or departmental priorities. If the answer is yes, we are making the right decision. Years later that simple yet powerful philosophy is now reaping rewards in the form of growth. We are seeing growth in our jobs, our culture, work accessibility, competitive salaries, our fiscal health, and most importantly, our mission. This is no accident. Additionally, a dedicated Board and a strong, persistent leadership team lays the foundation for this growth, and I am blessed to have both. The most important measure of our success is growing our mission. We’re reaching record levels of employment in all corners of the company. After the successful launch of a new fully accessible enterprise-wide ERP system, we now have 100%computer software accessibility for every position. This change eliminated an existing barrier and enabled us to promote several people and hire others for roles that were previously not accessible. Our culture continues to grow healthier. Employees throughout the company have a strong emotional engagement to growing the mission. We center ourselves around Servant Leadership principles which are baked into the corporate Values and part of every employee’s annual review. The concept that leaders should focus on serving their staff to help them achieve their best now permeates the entire culture. You feel it when you walk through the building. And our employees and customers feel it too.

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Our Mission Impacts The Community

Accessible Transit
Beyond Vision employees worked with Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) and the Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD) to make public transit in Milwaukee accessible for people with vision loss. Our team members helped test and implement Aira, a software app on mobile phones. The app connect users with an operator who gives navigation, reads signs and helps to avoid obstacles.

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Helping Students

Working with BestEd Business, Beyond Vision supports the MPS Foundation program, “No Empty Backpacks”. The program provides disadvantaged Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) students by providing them with school supplies to help them succeed. Beyond Vision employees take great pride in the project. Assembling the supplies helped over 10,000 children.

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Volunteer Board of Directors

Jeffrey Alan Peil, Chairman
Thomas E. Arenberg, Accenture (Retired)
Shawn Duffy, C.P.A., Controller, WTC Machinery
John Emanuel, Senior Counsel, Husch Blackwell LLP (Retired)
William Hughes, Chairman, USAFR (Retired), Attorney, Partner, Husch Blackwell LLP
Eric D. Isbister, Secretary, CEO, GenMet Corporation
Danita Jackson, Intake Specialist, Disability Rights Wisconsin
James Kerlin, President & CEO, Beyond Vision
GEN. Paul E. Lima, (Retired) President, St. Johns Northwestern Military Academies
Burton Metz, Vice President, Wangard Partners
Tom O’Connell, CEO, Tank Holding Corp./Snyder Industries (Retired)

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The VisABILITY Center is becoming A Reality

Current facilities limit the growth of our mission to provide meaningful and
sustainable employment for people with vision loss.

Beyond Vision is building a state-of-the-art manufacturing and administrative
campus in West Allis, Wisconsin. This construction will serve to broaden our capabilities and mission. It will also be an opportunity to invite co-location of other organizations serving people with vision loss.

We Call it The VisABILITY Center.
Blindness is the disability most feared by Americans, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. There can be significant barriers to jobs or careers for people with vision loss. Beyond Vision presents a pathway to a first-time job offering competitive wages, or a continuation of a career without limitations.

The VisABILITY Center will potentially double or triple employment levels at Beyond Vision.

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Architect , Chris Downey

Key to the design is architect Chris Downey. He brings a personal perspective to the planning process because of his 20 years of architectural experience before losing his sight during an operation. His awareness of physical space and blindness is unique.

“I believe great architecture for the blind and visually impaired is just like any other great architecture, only better. It’s a richer experience, involving all the senses.” – Chris Downey

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55% Mission Ratio – 115 Employees, 63 Employees who are visually impaired, 52 Employees who are sighted. All working side-by-side.
97,270 Blind Paid Working Hours
94% mission direct hours
$38,305,000 Revenues

Our Vision: Enrich the lives of Americans who are blind… through the dignity of work valued by customers and the community.


52% Mission Ratio – 123 Employees, 64 Employees who are visually impaired, 59 Employees who are sighted. All working side-by-side.
103,093 Blind Paid Working Hours
93% mission direct hours
$44,395,000 Revenues

Our Mission: Grow by being a valued partner to customers, suppliers, and the community while operating as a fiscally responsible enterprise.

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Meet Stacy

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications Studies along with a Psychology Minor from UW-La Crosse, it’s hard to imagine having trouble finding consistent employment. For a person who lost their sight in infancy, it is difficult to find stable work.
Stacy is our Manufacturing Customer Service Representative. She has been working at Beyond Vision since 2019 when she moved here for the opportunity to build her career.
Stacy loves interacting with customers and colleagues, in the culture we have built here at Beyond Vision. Employment means more than jobs, it builds confidence and integrity.
She brings great passion to her work and is a leader in the making.

“Keep your head up. No matter how hard life can get, think positive.”
– Stacy (Customer Service Representative)

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SEPT. 10TH 2021
A unique golf outing that takes place in the dark. The event also helps us connect with our supporters in a fun, relaxed environment. Held annually.

SEPT. 25TH 2021
This event offers behind the scenes tours of commercial buildings, art galleries, urban gardens and more throughout Milwaukee’s downtown and neighborhoods. We are proud to be part of the tour.

OCT. 1ST 2021
Our opportunity to invite supporters of our Capital Campaign to the VisABILITY Center for a before look at the facility.

OCT. 15TH 2021
Sharing the celebration of white canes allowing people who are blind to express their equality, and independence. Most significantly, the white cane represents safety and the respect of drivers.

“Beyond Vision has given me a sense of independence I never thought or knew that I could have.”
– DeLonna (Contact Center Supervisor)

Learn more about past and upcoming events
on our website:

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The Power of Culture

Winner – MMAC Focus on the Future Talent Award
At Beyond Vision, we are all co-workers. We foster self-respect and integrity in our powerful culture. By removing barriers, employment opportunities for people who are blind are available in EVERY department. Our intention is to be a career runway. A place for people to land and a place for people to take off in their careers. It could mean a career change due to vision loss. The runway could also be a place to try out having a job when no one ever thought you could. It’s also a place for people to take off and use their skills to succeed in any career path they choose. We are grateful to be recognized by the MMAC and Southeastern Milwaukee’s business community for our culture based on opportunity and independence for people with vision loss. It is a tremendous honor and we will continue this legacy.

Thank You to Paul Nash
After 47 years of dedicated service, Paul Nash is parking his ten-speed to retire. If you’ve ever toured Beyond Vision, you’ll remember Paul. His tremendous work ethic has helped us with so many projects. And his adaptability and versatility in his capabilities has impacted so much of our work. He will be greatly missed, and we wish him well in his retirement.

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Beyond Vision proudly produces SKILCRAFT products that create and sustain rewarding careers for Americans who are blind.

Since 1938, the U.S. Government has mandated their agencies purchase products made by Americans who are blind.

The program has advanced over the years to include opportunities to produce more sophisticated products and services.

Beyond Vision proudly produces several products in use by the federal government:

Sit-Stand Desk Workstations Privacy Filters
Socket Sets
Floor Mats
Military Kits

Come for a tour to learn more about our program and products.

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2020-2021 DONORS – THANK YOU!

Your support helps Beyond Vision expand its workforce, providing more people who are blind with the dignity and independence of work. Whether your support comes by outsourcing work or through donations, you are changing lives. Thank you for keeping our #MissionPossible.

Dino Antonopoulos
Thomas & Diane Arenberg Cliff & Janie Asmuth
Ruth Benben
Casey Berrall
Michael Bishop
Rob Buettner
Ronald Buettner
Cindy Buss
Matthew Cavanaugh
John Certalic
Mike Cryczka
Teri Davis
Robert & Barb Delgadillo Shawn Duffy
Kevin & Brian Dwyer
John Emanuel
Sandra Engebregtson
Sally Engle
Gordon Farr
John Feeley
Thomas Gauthier
Fred & Anne Geilfus
Patty Gobin
Taegan Grunwald
Peter Harken
Tyler Hart
James Hofmann
William Hughes
The Hutchinson Family
Patrick Hutchinson
Stephanie Hutchinson
Eric & Mary Isbister
Danita Jackson
Marlene Jauwasser
Evan Johnson
Cynthia Kerlin
Jim & Shawn Kerlin
Paul Khislinger
Bob Lappanen
Mitchell Latallie
Harry Lewis
Paul Lima
Catherine & Walter Lindsey Marc McCollough
Amy Meier
Stacy Mings
Ronald Morey
Kevin Mucha
Paul & Cindy Muzzey
Leone Nasehi
Tom O’Connell
Michael Passante
Thomas Patzman
Jeff Peil
Roger & Kathleen Peil
Richard & Suzanne Pieper
Luc & Angela Piessens
Jason Putnam
Elizabeth Reid
Roy & Roberta Reimans
Barbara Rekowski
Elizabeth Rezel
Kevin Riordan & Mary Johnson Katie Robinson
Stephanie Ruls
Eric Schumann
Nancy Sennett
Lynn Sigfred
Alexander Smith
Lindsay Smith
Timothy M. Steffen
Kandra Tess
Joseph Torsiello, Jr.
Chris Urban
Dan & Sheila Vanden Sanden
William & Barbara Velez
James & Yong Voigt
Jess Walton
Art Wasserman
Rick Wintersberger
Richard Woods
Tom Wright
Alejandro Zamora Jr.
Natlie Zenker

2nd Chance
Amazon Smiles
A.W. Asmuth Family Fund
Associated Industries for the Blind Bader Foundation
Badger Meter
Badger Meter Foundation
Bentley World Packaging
Bostik Inc.
Brand Strength Products Inc.
Briggs & Stratton
Briggs & Stratton Foundation
Buy-Rite Distributors
Capital Investment Services of
CDBG Grant
Cognex Corporation
Concord Chamber Orchestra
Crown Mats & Matting
Cudahy Lions Club
Duffy Grain
Ralph Evinrude Foundation
FBB Charity Golf Winnings Donation Forrest County Potawatomi
Francis L. Silverman Foundation
Gardner Foundation
GE Foundation
Gravely Mower
Greater Milwaukee Foundation
Harley Davidson Foundation
Harri Hoffmann Foundation
Harry Heef Foundation
Hartford Lions Club
HD Supply
JP Morgan Chase Good Works Program The Alan & Jacqueline Keltner Trust Kiwanis Foundation
Legacy Capital Partners
Lions Club
Milwaukee Behavioral Health
Moore Construction Services
National Exchange Bank
National Industries for the Blind
Network for Good
New Berlin Lions Club
Newburg Lions Club
Northwestern Mutual Foundation
Park Bank
Park Bank Foundation
Patrick & Anna Cudahy Foundation
Thomas J. Reinhart Foundation
Stackner Family Foundation
United Way
UW – Milwaukee
Valor Technologies
Wangard Partners
Art Wasserman Trust
Waukesha Noon Lions Club
WE Energies
Whyte, Hirschboeck, Dudek Charitable Fund
Margaret Wiegand Trust
Wisconsin Public Services Commission

Beyond Vision
5316 W. State Street Milwaukee, WI 53208

Enriching the lives of Americans who are blind…
through the dignity of work valued by customers and the community.

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