A leader with more than 30 years of manufacturing management experience has been named Executive Manager of Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind’s Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB). Jerry Martin began his career with Russell Corporation in Alexander City, Alabama in 1979 and most recently was the Operations Production Manager. He has also served in the Army National Guard since 1979 and presently is Deputy Commander with the rank of Colonel. He will assume his new role at AIB upon the retirement of Billy Sparkman in December.
Martin’s management experience in manufacturing includes operations, retail, sewing, embroidery and screen printing. In his deputy commander role with the National Guard he is responsible for command and control of logistics units and for mobilization preparation and domestic operations training. He has been deployed overseas on three occasions to Hungary, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The Alabama Industries for the Blind is a diverse manufacturing and retail operation with an annual budget in excess of $30 million,” said AIDB President Dr. John Mascia. “The military, state and federal government divisions are our largest customers and we produce all the neckties worn by the U.S. Armed Forces in this country. But the most important investment of our business is the more than 200 blind and deaf adults employed by AIB.”
“The Industries operates manufacturing facilities in Talladega and Birmingham and retail supply stores on military bases at Redstone Arsenal and Ft. Rucker in Alabama and at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia. These contracts, plus some private retail efforts, make AIB the state’s largest employer of people who are blind and transforms them into tax producers. It is vital that we keep this program strong for the future and I am very pleased to welcome Jerry Martin to the AIDB management team. He has a very strong manufacturing and retail background and brings extraordinary leadership skills from his military experience. We feel he is a great fit to shape the future of AIB.”
A graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Martin also has a Master’s degree in International Business from Troy University and a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. He has completed the Green Belt Processing Engineering Lean Six Sigma Training and has a Top Secret Security Clearance. He has been active in fundraising drives for American Red Cross, United Way and Cancer Relay for Life.
“It is a great honor to join the family of Alabama Industries for the Blind,” said Jerry Martin. “I am extremely excited to accept my new roles and responsibilities.”
Alabama Industries for the Blind is a component of Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. Also affiliated with the National Industries for the Blind, AIB is a diverse manufacturing complex with two plant locations and three military base supply stores in Alabama and Georgia. Among the items produced by blind workers are military neckties, helmet covers, flight bags, deck mops, brushes, ink cartridges, paper products and more. AIB has received numerous national awards for quality workmanship and on-time delivery.
Established in 1858, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind is the world’s most comprehensive education, service and employment program for individuals from infants through seniors with hearing and vision loss. AIDB serves more than 22,500 children and adults annually through five Talladega-based campuses including Alabama School for the Deaf, Alabama School for the Blind, Helen Keller School (for deaf-blind and multidisabled children), the Gentry Facility (post-secondary rehabilitation program for adults) and Alabama Industries for the Blind. Eight Regional Centers are located in Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Talladega, Tuscaloosa and Tuscumbia.