Outlook Nebraska’s mission is to positively impact everyone who is blind or visually impaired. Founded in early 2000 as a not-for-profit organization, the company produces tissue and towel products and, today, is the largest employer of the blind and visually impaired not just in Nebraska, but a 7-state region.
In the latest Talk Tissue, Brian Uzcategui interviewed Eric Stueckrath, CEO of Outlook Nebraska, who shared some of the company’s straightforward mission.
“We hoped to be able to build a product line that appealed to a customer base and that the mission would actually help in driving a value proposition beyond just the product that it is, so in the tissue and towel market, we found an opportunity with national industries for blind and the AbilityOne program and we have done nothing but grow since then,” started Eric.
During the conversation, the CEO also explained how the company was managed to match their mission of employing the blind with the tissue aspect of the business.
“We were born out of a number of subcontracting relationships that allowed us to infuse our labor force into another company and overtime, as we continued to grow, we found that we were able to be independently sustainable. As a 501c3 not-for-profit, we still do a lot of programs beyond just employment that allow us to serve people who are blind but getting out of the gates that AbilityOne program and the federal marketplace really allowed us to integrate the mission into the industry.”
Independence is crucial in people’s lives, and Outlook Nebraska works to offer the blind possibilities to move forward with their lives without needing to rely on someone else 24/7.
“We began to build various programs, whether it’s cultural, educational or adaptive technology programs, really to help them out in everyday life. They’re already working with our teams to be economically independent and contributors to their community, and now we wanted to help them to get outside of the walls of their houses and really start to enjoy to the fullest a lot of what their community and the country has to offer.”
Safety is a priority in Outlook Nebraska. Operating a tissue line and being around machines, saws and other equipment can be dangerous, so the company does several different adaptative tech updates to their equipment.
“Our safety record has been phenomenal, and, in fact, our record was a little over six years between lost time accidents and so, to be able to have a record like that, you really take great care and make sure that people go home exactly the way they arrived at work.”
To adapt their machinery, they first talk with the operator that will be running the equipment and ask about the adjustments that would be necessary given this person eyesight. Then the company talks to machine manufacturers and engineers to see if they can get the need help to bring the project to life.
“We pay attention to the needs of the facility, we clearly mark safe zones, make sure that all of our forklift drivers and all the activities that we do meet regulation and make sure that we really keep safety on the front of everybody’s mind.”
Outlook Nebraska provides tissue products for the AFH market and distribute it all around the US.
“Our primary products are single role tissue, bathroom tissue products, roll towel products, folded, as well as a growing list of products including coreless and a few other.”
Expansion opportunities are also in the company’s sight with a new line being installed.
Be sure to watch the complete Talk Tissue: