This week we had Eric Stueckrath, the President and CEO of Outlook Collaborative & Outlook Nebraska. His experiences range from Operations Management to Executive Management. He became the ED of Outlook Nebraska in 2001. Under his leadership Outlook Nebraska has
received multiple National nIdustries for the Blind Awards for quality work environment, achievement, retention and growth and upward mobility. It was awarded the Nebraska Safest Company Award from the National Safety Council for 3 consecutive years. Eric is also a 2014 Midlands Business Journal 40 under 40 award winner.
 
The mission of Outlook is to Positively Impact Everyone Who is Blind or Visually Impaired. The large majority of people that work at Outlook are visually impaired. The pandemic has brought them to the forefront for a few reasons. This is a result of their production of toilet paper, the need for them to report to work every day, as well as their work with the military and Fema. They are working at 7 times their normal pace and have lived up to the challenge.
 
With a new organizational setup Outlook Collaborative has 4 subsidiaries. Outlook properties, located on 72 nd and F, handles Facilities management and provides revenue to the programs. Outlook business solutions provide marketing support, has a call center, gives accessibility to testing and is a virtual assistant. Outlook Nebraska is the AbilityOne Agency that produces janitorial paper products. With about 60 employees there; 60% are low to no vision.
 
The fourth entity, Outlook enrichment is the organization for their outreach programs to assist the blind people beyond employment. This program is 100% donor funded. Eric explained a social enterprise this way; social values (serving people who are blind) combined with a financial value (producing products and services) together make a social enterprise. Three of the entities are self-sufficient and are built upon the work of the blind people on a daily basis. These values allow the organization to market their own products and services to help the customers achieve their goals as well.

Outlook addresses the social problems of 15,000 people in our community that live with severe vision loss. 70% of visually impaired adults are unemployed and live in poverty and many are on government assistance. Outlook creates pathways to mainstream employment through manufacturing jobs, customer service, accounting, marketing, human resources and IT. These are a few of the jobs that can be adapted to accommodate visually impaired people. One of the remarkable points Eric brought out was the fact that they have been awarded as one of the safest companies in Nebraska. This seems like a great accomplishment for a facility where blindpeople are working. He explained that blind people seem  to be more cautious and mindful as they work as opposed to sighted people who will move too quickly.
 
Outlook began in Fremont producing one- and two-ply tissue even supplying the troops overseas. The facility expanded in 2017 and their organization has continued to grow. Technology is also a principal point of learning as these tools bring the world directly to the visually impaired. Their services are geared to all facets of life, from youth trying to figure out their future to cultural experiences. We can help by championing the cause, hosting meetings, attending lunch and learns etc. There is a golf tournament on June 4th and a banquet on October 23rd .
 
Thanks to Eric for this presentation. Don’t forget to join us next week!
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~ Camille
 
 
 
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