BISM Logo, blue and gold compass icon with modern styled letters reading BISM Empowering the Blind Community, employing, educating, training.

Spring 2024

Letter from the President

Dr. Michael Gosse, president of BISM, dressed in blue BISM t-shirt, is drawing a beer from the tap at Checkerspot Brewery.

As I sit down to reflect on our recent gathering at Checkerspot Brewery, just a month ago, I find myself overwhelmed with pride.  What began as a collaboration between BISM and a local brewery transformed into an amazing celebration of unity, awareness, and empowerment.  From the moment our guests stepped through the brewery doors, there was an energy in the air.

Throughout the day, amidst laughter and conversation, there were moments that resonated with me.  Whether it was witnessing the joy in the faces of those tasting our brew, Blind Spot, for the first time, or hearing heartfelt stories shared by members of the BISM community, each moment served as a powerful reminder of the strength that defines us.

But perhaps what moved me the most was how seamlessly this event highlighted the solidarity shared between our broader community and those who are blind.

It was a testament to the profound impact we can have when we join forces in pursuit of a common goal. 

I want to thank all those who joined us in making this event a resounding success.  Your enthusiasm and support were instrumental in amplifying our mission and spreading awareness about the challenges facing the blind community. Together, we have shown that we can unite around a shared vision, and there is no limit to what we can achieve. 

As we look ahead, let us continue to amplify our mission, reaching even greater heights and touching lives of those who need it the most.  With your continued support, I am confident we can continue to create a more inclusive community.

Participants at the BISM Brew Reveal party at Checkerspot Brewery. Photo from above looking down on the room full of people sitting at tables and standing in groups.

2024 Employee of the Year Awards at BISM

All BISM nominees standing together for a photo with Chair of the Board, Tyrone Bullock and President, Michael Gosse.
All BISM nominees standing together for a photo with Chair of the Board, Tyrone Bullock and President, Michael Gosse.

2024 BISM Peter J. Salmon Award Winner

Linwood works filling bottles in the chemical room.

Meet Linwood Boyd, former BISM student, present day Baltimore Production Associate extraordinaire who works in our chemical room. Linwood celebrates 18 years with BISM in July.

Linwood is the recipient of the BISM Peter J. Salmon Award. The Peter J. Salmon Employee of the Year Award was established in 1968 by the NIB (National Industries for the Blind) Board of Directors. The award is named after the late Dr. Salmon, one of the nation’s outstanding advocates for people who are blind, who was instrumental in the passage of the Wagner-O’Day Act in 1938 and the formation of NIB and who served on the board of directors of NIB in its early years.

This is a recognition well deserved for his unwavering dedication to his career and remarkable achievements throughout his journey at BISM. Linwood’s story goes beyond accolades; it’s a narrative of triumph over adversity and his endless pursuit for independence.

In July of 2004, Linwood began experiencing a decline in his vision, accompanied by discomfort in bright light and persistent headaches. A visit to the eye doctor revealed a hemorrhage and optic nerve damage, attributed to medication he was taking for spinal meningitis treatment.

At 37, Linwood lost most of his vision, a sudden and overwhelming change. Like many in similar circumstances, the rapidity of events left him little time to process the situation before facing life without sight. Accustomed to a fully independent adult life that he navigated without any accommodations, this change would require Linwood to adapt to a new way of living and for him to redefine independence.

During his hospitalization, Linwood was introduced to BISM and was encouraged to explore the independence training and rehabilitation program offered. This recommendation sparked a transformative journey, altering the course of his life.

Linwood graduated from our CORE program in June of 2006. What kept him motivated throughout his rigorous training program was a constant pursuit of his one goal: to become fully independent like he once was. He credits the BISM CORE staff for helping him build his confidence back up, enabling him to accomplish his goal of rediscovering independence.

Linwood’s former instructor, Jennifer Bopp recalls Linwood as “a very hard worker, and dedicated student. He’s a fast learner and applied the skills that he’d learned.”

Following graduation, Linwood became an integral part of TeamBISM, embracing the flexibility to explore diverse roles within the company, feeling empowered and encouraged by the skills he learned in the CORE program. Starting in vending, moving to IT, and transitioning to paper production, Linwood is currently excelling in chemical production and taking what he’s learned in each department with him to every venture.

“I learned a lot from all the people I worked with. I was able to take those skills and apply them wherever I went. For me, going through CORE was like learning everything over again from kindergarten, but I feel like I have really achieved my goal. I can pick up my cane and go where I need to go- I don’t need to wait for anyone, and I can learn anything with patience.”

Linwood’s journey from being a student at BISM to becoming a vital part of our community is a testament to resilience, determination, and the transformative power of opportunity. Linwood says he loves what he does now with a smile so big you cannot help but feel it. He says that BISM saw potential in him, and he does not forget to mention his excitement to continue learning and growing with the organization.

What does it mean to Linwood to win the employee of the year award?

“It means a lot. It means that I am important. It’s very exciting to represent BISM. I’ve been through a lot here to move up, and I’m learning little by little.”

We are extremely fortunate to have such a star as a part of TeamBISM.

Congratulations, Linwood!

2024 BISM Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award Winner

Heather, standing on her deck overlooking a large grassy yard and distant trees, wears confident smile and a black and white floral sundress

Meet Heather Guy, recipient of the 2024 BISM Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award.

In 1996, the NIB Board of Directors established the Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award, which is presented to an individual who demonstrates career advancement at an NIB associated agency or in the private sector. Named after the late Dr. Samuelson, the award is a tribute to his leadership with upward mobility and placement programs for people who are blind. The award recognizes people who are blind employed in an NIB associated agency above the direct labor level and below the top administrative level, as well as those who have utilized their training and experience to seek and achieve in outside competitive employment.

Heather Guy had a typical childhood growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Diagnosed with hearing loss at the age of four, she learned early on unique ways to adjust to the world around her.  At age fourteen, however, Heather’s world began to slowly shift as she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), an eye condition that changes how the retina responds to light, making it hard to see and over time leads to blindness.

As life went on, Heather channeled her determination into her career and became a healthcare administrator. Struggling to keep up with a demanding job as her vision worsened, she had to make the heartbreaking decision to resign. Suddenly at a crossroads, unsure of her next steps, her life paused in uncertainty.

Transitioning her focus to motherhood, Heather was soon confronted with a new fear as she noticed signs of vision loss in her son. In that moment, her determination surged once more, as she started to exhaust every avenue to aid her son.

Heather would soon find BISM and enroll in our training program. BISM’s training helped her break free from the limited beliefs she was taught, proving to herself that her blindness shouldn’t hold her back. Heather embraced every aspect of the training, realizing that she could achieve so much more than she had ever imagined. Upon completing her training, Heather had the confidence to reenter the workforce. As fate would have it, a new job opening arose in BISM’s Salisbury location and Heather jumped on the opportunity.  She applied to be an instructor in the ITR Department and joined our Salisbury team.

What began as a search to find resources for her son became a transformational journey for them both. Her diligence and resourcefulness have not only opened doors for her career but have also shown her son that blindness does not define what you can achieve.

Today, Heather’s passion for helping others is apparent and a driving force in her role as an instructor at BISM. Her favorite part of her job is seeing people regain confidence in their abilities.

“I often instruct someone] that doesn’t think that they can do things as a blind person. Someone who used to cook and loved cooking will say, ‘Oh I used to do that, but I can’t anymore… I’m scared of my stove.’ After a few weeks of instruction, I will see them make their first cake. That’s the best part.”

Receiving this award holds profound significance for Heather, not just marking her personal journey but instilling hope for her son. Reflecting on her path, Heather is grateful for the opportunity to evolve alongside her former mentors, now colleagues at BISM. Above all, she emphasizes the impact this achievement has on her son, affirming his potential for success despite blindness.

“It has been my goal to show [my son] that he is going to be ok, and that he can succeed as a blind person. This achievement shows him he can.”

Heather’s journey and recognition exemplifies the resilience and inspiration she brings to our community, demonstrating that with determination and support, success is within reach for everyone. 

Design Day at JHU

Four members of Mechanical Engineering team from Johns Hopkins Whiting School Of Engineering hold their Design Day project titled Automating Defect Detection for Blind Textile Workers.

Annually, BISM and Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering join to explore real life accessibility challenges facing Blind individuals. This year, we were honored to team up with mechanical engineering students: Amy Zhang, Jabari Lawrence, Ray Chen, and Harrison Le. Together with our Salisbury cutting team, these students developed an innovative image-capturing system. This system utilizes a machine-learning algorithm to detect fabric defects and provide real-time alerts to both blind and sighted operators through sound cues as fabric is unrolled.

A huge thank you to these exceptional students for their dedication and hard work throughout the year. We eagerly anticipate further collaborations between mechanical engineering students at JHU and BISM!

Read More About Our Collaboration

Did You Know?



atShopBISM logo with orange letters SHOP and blue letters BISM. The O in Shop is the BISM compass icon.

Owned and operated by BISM, SHOPBISM.COM provides instant online access to a wide range of over 80,000 brand-name products. It is your one stop shopping resource for office supplies, paper, technology, custom stamps, furniture and more! Enjoy free shipping on orders over $50, and next day delivery on most items.



Save the Date

Male golfer taking a shot, standing next to a golf cart on a lush green fairway.

BISM’s Pro-Invitational Golf Tournament

October 1, 2024 at Suburban Club of Baltimore County
Benefiting BISM and its Independence Training and Rehabilitation programs for blind and low vision individuals.


Sponsorships available!  Click here to learn more.