National Industries for the Blind Announces New Board Members

New NIB associated agency and private sector members elected at board of directors annual meeting

ALEXANDRIA, VA – National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, announced the addition of five new members to its board of directors: Shellena Heber, Teri Shirk, and Edward Welsh join NIB’s board as associated nonprofit agency members; Zach Klipa and Fredrik Palm join as private sector members.

Shellena Heber is the executive director of Valley Center for the Blind (VCB), an NIB associated agency located in Fresno, California. VCB provides comprehensive independence and work readiness training along with supportive and employment services for people who are blind and visually impaired throughout California’s Central Valley. Heber joined VCB in 2015, and previously served as the organization’s director of operations.

Teri Shirk is president and CEO of NIB associated agency Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI). Shirk provides strategic direction and administrative oversight for CABVI, which offers an array of vision services including orientation and mobility, independent living skills, low vision clinics, early childhood and youth services, music therapy, adaptive technology training, radio reading services, and social services. Additionally, CABVI provides employment to over 80 individuals with visual impairment in a wide variety of manufacturing, customer service, and professional positions.

Edward Welsh is president and CEO of NIB associated agency Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI-Utica) in Utica, New York. CABVI-Utica provides comprehensive services for people who are blind or visually impaired, including employment, low vision care, orientation and mobility, and technology training. Prior to leading CABVI-Utica, Welsh was the regional general manager for AAA Northeast.

Zach Klipa is an audit manager in the Bureau of Audits at the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget. He is responsible for leading the planning and execution of financial and performance audits of several Commonwealth agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction, while also providing guidance on fiscal oversight of business processes and implementations. Klipa is the former chairperson of the board of directors of VisionCorps, an NIB associated agency headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Fredrik Palm, Ed.D., is vice president, administration and operations, at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), an independent, international, nonprofit organization devoted to the advancement of interdisciplinary research in the social sciences. Dr. Palm oversees the Council’s administrative division, including finance, operations, human resources, and information technology. As a member of the SSRC executive leadership team, Dr. Palm provides guidance on organizational development and strategic direction.

“We’re thrilled to welcome these new additions to the NIB board of directors,” said Dr. Paul Healy, NIB board chairperson. “Together, they bring an impressive range of knowledge and experience that will help the board and NIB expand employment opportunities for people who are blind.”

NIB’s board of directors provides governance and oversight for an organization that supports the employment of more than 4,700 people who are blind across the country. Composed of 11 private sector representatives and chief executive officers from seven associated agencies, the NIB board sets the organization’s strategic direction, oversees finances, and approves and monitors programs and services, among other duties.

Click here to meet NIB’s board of directors and leadership team.


About National Industries for the Blind

Since 1938, National Industries for the Blind (NIB) has focused on enhancing the opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind, primarily through creating, sustaining, and improving employment. NIB and its network of associated nonprofit agencies are the nation’s largest employer of people who are blind through the manufacture and provision of SKILCRAFT® and other products and services of the AbilityOne® Program. For more information about NIB, visit