Guest post by Katherine Allen, Briot/Visionix
In the employment landscape today, technology reigns supreme. Many feel like machines have overtaken the very root of quality human communication. While it’s true, technology does give us various methods to communicate and interface in this world that didn’t use to exist, it also enables the essence of compassionate human interaction in its most basic form, and builds a bridge between landscapes that would be impossible to navigate without it. This is the story of just such a bridge built with technology, one man’s dedication, and a company with an open mind.
Meet Lewis Tankersley, a southern gentleman through and through. He has spent his life dealing with a visual disability stemming from a rare form of albinism that affects his pigment cells and resulted in a lack of development in the fovea area of his retina. Lewis has known what it is to struggle and persevere. This is just one story of a low vision patient finding his way in a competitive job market.
Let’s back up just a moment shall we? Most of those who have been in the optical industry in some form are familiar with the increasing number of low vision patients. While technology is overcoming many aspects of the various visual disabilities, one fact remains…it is more difficult for low vision patient to obtain employment. There are many misconceptions, however, with the ongoing efforts of places like vocational rehabilitation and centers for the visually impaired, employers are beginning to realize what a rich and valuable resource low vision patients can be in the workplace.
This is what Briot/Visionix (subsidiaries of Luneau Technologies) has discovered through their hiring of Lewis in the Technical Services area. Matt Cevasco, President and General Manager states “It’s not about the disability; it’s about the person getting the job done.” As it relates to Lewis, Cevasco went on to say “He’s got the technical knowledge. His visual challenges have all been completely transparent.”
“So how does that work?” you might wonder. This is where technology becomes the bridge between a fantastic employee and an innovative employer. Lewis was outfitted with special software that allows him to work on his computer and read small print with specialized magnification tools that can also be portable. Since the majority of his time is spent on the phone assisting people with technical support, our customers are able to reach someone who is genuinely concerned about their issues and helping them have a brighter day. Lewis is known for his jolly laugh and his famous “southern sayings” that he is usually asked to repeat twice.
Briot /Visionix, headquartered in Cumming, Georgia, along with their partners at Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation and the Center for the Visually Impaired hope to inspire other companies to keep an open mind in regard to hiring people with labeled “disabilities.” Heather Ferro of CVI said “As an employment specialist, it is very exciting to have the opportunity to visit and work with our partner companies like Briot and Air Tran Airways who are making a success of hiring an employee with a visual impairment.”
While technology can complicate communication from time to time, it also allows people to connect with employees like Lewis who make it their aim to give the highest level of service and commitment to their customers. Here at Briot/Visionix, we feel honored to have such wonderful people who truly strive to be the very best. Without the assistance and awareness of companies like CVI and Vocational Rehabilitation, many employers could miss out on some sensational future employees. For more information about how your company can partner with these entities, visit www.cviga.org or www.gvra.ga.gov