A.V.R.E. Newsletter - Summer 2016


Insight Newsletter

Published by the Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment, Inc.

AVRE’s 2016 Employee of the Year

There are three words that best describe our 2016 Employee of the Year recipient Tom Addley: organized, hard-working, and determined. When given a task Tom ensures that it is done efficiently and to perfection.

2016 is Tom’s 14th year of employment at AVRE. He was referred to work here by an outside agency after being diagnosed with Glaucoma in his early 30’s. When Tom was hired he worked in the file folder room, assisting in the production of manila file folders. After working in production for three years, Tom joined our Accounting department working as our front desk receptionist. In May 2016, Tom was promoted to Team Lead in our light assembly department. Although he has only been back working in our business division for a year now, Tom has really found his niche.

“I enjoy working on the line with people and trying to make them happy,” Tom stated.

As Team Lead, Tom is responsible for managing inventory for kitting projects and ensuring orders get fulfilled in his area. He was also a key team member in assembling 20,000 Zika virus prevention kits as part of a contract with the New York State Department of Health.

In January, Tom‘s colleagues voted him AVRE’s 2016 Employee of the Year. He was then nominated for National Industries for the Blind’s (NIB) 2016 Peter J. Salmon Employee of the Year Award. Salmon was visually impaired and advocated for people who are blind or visually impaired throughout his life. He played a prominent role in supporting the federal legislation that led to NIB’s formation.

In September, Tom will join other nominees from agencies across the country for NIB’s Annual Conference and Expo in Arlington, Virginia.

When Tom was asked about his future goals and where he’d like to be in ten years, he confidently responded, “Right here are AVRE. I would like to oversee all aspects of manufacturing one day because people with vision loss can do anything that anyone else can do.”

Welcome Aboard!

Dianne Cappiello - Human Resources and Compliance Generalist

Dianne received a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management from Empire State College and pursued graduate studies in history at Binghamton University and Cornell University. After receiving her PhD in American history from Cornell in 2011, Dianne taught history as an adjunct professor at SUNY Cortland, SUNY Broome, and Davis College. She has returned to her first passion, human resources management, because she enjoys helping people negotiate their work environment. In her free time, she pursues her interests in reading, crocheting, cooking, and hunting for bargain antiques. Dianne loves AVRE and feels blessed to be able to support its mission.

Tami Kendrick - Receptionist

Tami joins AVRE as our new receptionist. A Vestal, NY native, Tami graduated from Broome Community College and Cosmetology school. She is an avid animal lover and is especially fond of her cat Bella. In her spare time, she enjoys home decorating and listening to music to unwind. Tami says she feels extremely fortunate to work at AVRE as it is a wonderful place to work!

Sharon Marongelli - General Accounting Clerk

Sharon is very excited to join the staff at AVRE as our new Accounting Clerk. Sharon has an extensive background in accounting having earned her Associates Degree in Accounting from Broome Community College. She also has spent many years working in the banking industry. Born and raised in the Binghamton area, Sharon takes frequent trips to Boston with her husband Steve to visit her children and wonderful grandson, Zach. Sharon describes herself as an animal lover (she has a rescue cat named Chloe) and enjoys watching suspense movies in her free time.

Michelle Murray - Employment and Career Specialist

Michelle joins AVRE as our new Employment and Career Specialist. After receiving her Master of Science in Education from Binghamton University, she spent four years as a Substitute Teacher for the Binghamton City School District. She worked as an Employment Specialist for three years at Community Options and enjoyed finding jobs and work experiences for people. She currently resides in Endwell with her two daughters, Marielle and Mira, and her dog Riley. Michelle is excited to have already found new work experience placements for AVRE consumers and is enjoying meeting everyone at AVRE!

Rick McCarthy Professional Development Fund

Three years ago, we created a fund specifically to support continuing education for our Health and Rehabilitation staff. As an organization, we are committed to providing the highest quality, comprehensive vision rehabilitation services. In order to do that we needed to commit to the development of the professionals who work directly with our consumers to enhance their personal success and independence.

Our colleague, Rick McCarthy, strongly supported our staff and the idea of creating the fund. Rick spent over 10 years as the Director of Program Services and his last year with AVRE as Vice President. Rick fought a courageous, two year battle with cancer. He passed away last February. In honor of his service to AVRE, we felt it was fitting to rename the fund The Rick McCarthy Professional Development Fund.

Rick is sorely missed. We hope you will consider making a gift to the Fund to honor his commitment to working with people who are blind and visually impaired and to support continuing education for our professional staff.

AVRE Welcomes New Projects

In August, AVRE will introduce two new projects through the AbilityOne program. The first is a long awaited opportunity to sell standard and heavy duty polypropylene tarps to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for use throughout the military. AVRE is partnering with two American companies to provide the unfinished tarps. AVRE employees will add the grommets to each tarp and ship directly to the customer. We’re excited about the jobs this project will create as well as the prospect for additional customers as the project matures.

The second project is through the Military Resale (MR) program. In partnership with Newell-Rubbermaid, AVRE will configure and repackage a line of Contigo and Bubba drink bottles and travel mugs and sell them to military base commissaries across the country. AVRE currently sells Goody haircare products as impulse items into the commissaries. Commissaries are similar to private sector grocery stores, but they offer goods to service men and women and veterans at significantly discounted prices. Commissaries offer a well-deserved benefit to those who serve our country and they help to create good jobs through the AbilityOne Program for people who are blind or severely disabled.

Both projects enhance AVRE’s growth and help us to create more job opportunities throughout the organization. In turn, we are able to provide more services to more consumers who are blind or visually impaired in the Southern Tier of New York.


Building Development Efforts at AVRE

By Jaclyn Boushie

Being a “people person,” the adage “if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life” has truly been the best way to describe my career in development to date. When people think development, they immedi- ately think of fundraising, and, although that is part of what I do, it’s often not the most important part. Relationship building, fostering community and foundation partnerships, Board engagement, and educating people about what AVRE is and what we do are significant components of my job as Director of Development.

When I started my new role at AVRE on July 5th, I came in eager and proud to be part of such an amazing organization. In my month since, I have been in awe daily. I have had the opportunity to meet staff, tour manufacturing, go out on consumer visits with Vision Rehab Therapists and Orientation and Mobility Therapists. To say that I’m inspired beyond what I expected is an understatement.

In my years of development work with Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation, Binghamton University, and the American Red Cross, I honed my skills in research, foundation/ corporation relations, grant writing, special events, and relationship building. In working closely with the Foundation and agency, it is my goal to apply the skills I’ve acquired over the years to implement a successful outreach, fundraising, and development initiative at AVRE.

As for my life outside of the office, I was raised in Windsor, NY. I moved to Rochester after graduating from Geneseo State University with a degree in Economics and Industrial/Organizational Psychology. It’s there that I started my career at the Center for Governmental Research. I relocated to the Southern Tier in 2006. I’ve been blessed with a wonderfully close family, and I spend a considerable amount of time keeping up with them and playing the role of proud “Aunt Jac”.

I look forward to what the future holds at AVRE and to moving forward with expanding our development and outreach efforts!

AVRE serves visually impaired individuals of all ages who live in the New York counties of Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Tioga, Tompkins and Schuyler, as well as the Pennsylvania counties of Bradford, Susquehanna and Tioga. AVRE is an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employer. If you would like more information about AVRE and its services or products, please feel free to contact us.