Table of Contents


Personnel Actions

Success Stories

Around the State

End Zone


Division Enters World of Social Media

By JoAnn Carrin

Facebook IconTwitter IconJan. 15, the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) launched it’s very own Facebook page and Twitter account. We look forward to sharing news, activities and items of interest. Please take advantage of these opportunities to communicate with us and “like” us at Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Booker Named Personnel Administrator

Jeri BookerJeri Booker serves as the division’s personnel administrator. In this capacity, she manages all hiring; new employee benefits; attendance and leave; payroll; separations; retirement; organizational structure of the division; labor relation issues (disciplinary actions, terminations); position descriptions; and performance evaluations.

Booker has been employed with the state of Florida for more than 16 years which includes 10 years with the Department of Financial Services, and six years with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation as a support services administrator in the Office of the General Counsel. Prior to that, she worked for three years in the private legal sector, which included insurance defense work and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Florida State University.

Bradley named District Administrator

Tracey Bradley Sr.

Oct. 28, 2013, Tracey Bradley, Sr. joined DBS as the district administrator for district 3 in Jacksonville. Prior to his appointment with DBS he worked with several Agency for Persons with Disabilities contract providers in independent living and supportive employment. Additionally, he was the director of adult services for New Heights of Northeast Florida and disability services coordinator for the Department of Economic Opportunity Region 8. He also served 20 years in the U.S. Navy. Bradley holds a bachelor’s of science in management and a master’s of business administration.

Meet Our New State Office Staff

Andrew Johnson - operations & consultant management manager

Andrew Johnson

Johnson is the supervisor of the DBS Fiscal Unit. His duties include preparing monthly cash and financial reports, as well as monitoring warrants, refunds, My Florida Market Place requisitions, grant payments and monthly grant reconciliations. He was previously employed with the Florida Department of Health as a budget manager in the Children’s Medical Services, Early Steps Program. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Florida State University.

Marilyn Cain - administrative assistant

Marilyn Cain

Cain supports the Bureau of Business Enterprise’s blind services consultants and clients with contracts, facilities and news rack permits. She previously worked as a human resource manager and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Flagler College.

Amanda Freeman - distributed computer systems consultant

Amanda Freeman

Freeman’s responsibilities include developing and delivering information technology-related training, special projects, task coordination, business and data analysis, installing hardware and software, and application and technical support. She previously worked with the Children’s Home Society and holds a bachelor’s degree from Hollins University in Virginia.

Tommy Allen, II, distributed computer systems consultant

Tommy Allen, II

Allen’s responsibilities include maintaining, monitoring and updating the DBS core network infrastructure. He also assists with computing support on the help desk and with business applications. Allen was previously employed as a network administrator with the Guardian ad Litem program

Valerie States, accountant II

Valerie States

States’ responsibilities include auditing and processing travel, as well as clearing P-card charges. She was previously employed with the Florida Department of Education’s Comptroller’s Office and is completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology this semester.

Personnel Actions

We welcome our newest employees to the DBS family.

Congratulations to employees who received a promotion.

We wish our retirees the best in their future endeavors.

Success Stories

VeQuelle’s Café

By Veda Griffin

Veda GriffinI wanted to run my own business because I love cooking and working with people. I tried to start my own independent stand, and when that did not work out I applied to the Bureau of Business Enterprise. My attention to detail, creative mind and friendly smile all attributes that will help me to be a success in the new facility.

From the moment I walked in the door at the Collins Building’s VeQuelle’s Café snack bar in Tallahassee, the staff was busy cleaning and organizing. Staff knew what needed to be done and how to go about making it happen. I know about the amount of work involved in running a food service facility because my father owned two fast food restaurants.

When I took over the snack bar Dec. 2, 2013, I joined two other newly licensed vendors in the downtown area. Wanda Feldsteen successfully operated thecafeteria in the Claude Pepper Building for more than a year and Raye McCoy managed the cafeteria at the Larson Building since August 2013.

Manatee Diagnostics Center Exemplary Employer

By Barbara Cutrera

Certificate PresentationDistrict 9 Supervisor, Bruce Emmerton, nominated the Manatee Diagnostics Center (MDC) for State Exceptional Employer of the Year recognition. Although another employer was selected, DBS Director Robert Doyle recognized MDC’s successful partnership and a client success story.

Melissa Sloan, was a District 9 client for 12 years and employed full time with MCD since February 2012. Her duties have expanded from scanning documents to scheduling client appointments for diagnostic services. She is a very capable and enthusiastic staff member.

Melissa is totally blind due to detached retinas at a young age and she applied for DBS services in 2001, while still attending Manatee High School. She graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University and volunteered at Southeast Guide Dogs, Inc. She then completed a 12-week internship at Tropicana.

She participated in an on-the-job training arranged with MDC from February – May 2012, and was then hired full time. New software and rehabilitation engineering made Melissa’s employment possible. MDC has continued to be enthusiastic about working with DBS. Melissa is happily and gainfully employed and has found success in the workplace, which exemplifies DBS vocational goals.

Around the State

Upcoming Vision Summit

By JoAnn Carrin

Vision Caucus LogoThe 2014 Florida Vision Summit co-hosted by the Florida Legislature's Vision Caucus and the Florida Associations of Agencies Serving the Blind is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Tallahassee at the State Capitol. For more information, contact or 850-570-2148.

Teddy B. Caring Visits Library

By Susan Roberts

Teddy B. CaringDuring the holiday season, employees at the Braille and Talking Books Library had a chance to salute their colleagues for jobs well done and spread some good cheer. Teddy B. Caring, Office Depot’s cuddly teddy bear, was seen moving throughout the two library buildings.

Each afternoon, Teddy was passed to another employee and the person who had enjoyed the bear for the day sent an email to the entire staff announcing the next day’s guardian. The criteria for selection were very simple: caring for someone else in a positive manner while doing the job at hand and being assigned to another work section. In that email, the specific reasons that the receiving employee was being honored were outlined. Over the course of the three weeks, more than 40 different adjectives were used in honoring colleagues and all pointed to outstanding efforts to enrich the lives of the customers of the library and the working environment of the library.

This activity has resulted in a greater awareness among employees, many of whom do not interact on a daily basis because of the wide variety of work in the various sections at the library. Teddy B. Caring has now crawled into his cave to hibernate for the winter, but he or his successor Bear for 2014 will be back. In the meantime, there will be other activities that help us appreciate each other’s contributions, and the added awareness of others is already paying great dividends for everyone on the staff.

Braille: Community Outreach - District 2

By Johnnie Slaton

Johnnie SlatonIn commemoration of Louis Braille’s 200 year anniversary for creating the Braille Code and in promotion of braille literacy, District 2 staff participated in a community outreach event Jan. 11, 2014. The braille awareness activity was conducted at the B.L. Perry Library in Tallahassee.

Chief executive officer of Dr. Peaceful Solutions Denyece Roberts and I managed a braille information table. Participants had the opportunity to interact with braille, print books and writing devices. A classic collection of braille and print children’s literature was provided from DBS Contract Manager Tiffany Baylor’s private collection. Denyece thrilled participants by reading books from Tiffany’s collection. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was the favorite. Participants were enlightened about the significance of braille in the life of persons who are blind and persons with vision impairment. Participants received a braille alphabet card and a gift card with their name written in braille.

Braille information table

Blind Babies

By Jo Ann Jenks

The Blind Babies program in District 1 differs from most of the other districts. Babies and their families are served by independent contractors, many who are certified teachers of the visually impaired. The program has tripled the number of babies served since using independent contractors. One parent recently commented that one session with the DBS provider for her child was worth 100 sessions with any other provider. These contractors deserve recognition for their dedication to this very important population.

Employing People with Disabilities Symposium

By Kristin Panella

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown

Dec. 3, 2013, the City of Jacksonville and EverBank hosted the Employing People with Disabilities Symposium. The purpose of this symposium was to educate and support business decision makers, human resource professionals and diversity officers on best practices to attract, hire and retain an employee with a disability. I was joined by Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Dan O’Connor and Employment Placement Specialist Joshua Beran.

Charlene Taylor Hill, Andreas Glover, Kristin Panella, Gayle Granger and others

The symposium sold out in less than one month with more than 150 stakeholders representing diverse groups such as nonprofit organizations, state agencies, Fortune 500 companies, area businesses, and local and federal government. This was a good opportunity for human resources professionals and management employers to gain knowledge of the legal requirements of hiring and accommodating individuals with disabilities. It also supplied an excellent opportunity for service providers and businesses to begin networking and building important relationships.

EverBank Field

The event featured information and resources on reasonable accommodations presented by Anne Hirsch, Co-Director of the Job Accommodation Network; and hiring success stories from the employer and employee perspectives at CSX Transportation, Florida Blue, and the University of North Florida. Resources were made available to employers from the DBS, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, WORKSource and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Jacksonville Mayor, Alvin Brown, presented a passionate speech about the symposium’s importance for the Jacksonville workforce.

End Zone

Publication and Submission Information

We hope you found this month’s newsletter interesting. Remember, we need your submissions each month. Let us know what’s going on in your district or facility. The publication date for the Visionary newsletter is the first week of each month. The deadline for submissions is the 15th of each month. Comments, suggestions, and submissions should be directed to:

DBS Communications:

Additional useful links and telephone numbers:

To request a Braille version of this edition of the Visionary contact the Braille and Talking Book Library: or call 800-226-6075.

MIS Help Desk:
Phone: 850-245-0360

AWARE Help Desk:
Phone: 850-245-0395 or 866-841-0912

Division of Blind Services website (external):

Blind Services on Facebook:

Blind Services on Twitter:

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