National Industries for the Blind Awards Bill Hudson Its Highest Honor for Growing Employment Opportunities For People Who Are Blind

Alexandria, VA – National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, will recognize William L. Hudson with its highest honor, the R.B. Irwin Award, for his career achievements creating employment opportunities for people who are blind.

The award honors the recently retired leader of NIB associated nonprofit agency LCI, who grew the organization to become one of the largest U.S. employers of people who are blind, manufacturing office products, military supplies, and furniture, and providing distribution, e-commerce, and technology services.

This award is named for Dr. Robert B. Irwin, executive director of the American Foundation for the Blind in the 1930s and a member of the team who worked toward the formation of NIB.

“The Irwin Award is NIB’s highest honor given to those who have made outstanding contributions to creating and improving employment opportunities for people who are blind,” said Susan Costlow, chairperson, NIB board of directors. “Considering all that Bill has done in his 50-year career to help people who are blind gain personal and economic independence, we are pleased to honor him in this way.”

When Hudson joined the Durham, North Carolina-based agency, LCI employed about 20 people. Today, nearly 400 people who are blind work at LCI. Hudson has also been a champion for research and rehabilitation services for people who are blind, with LCI funding a four-floor, 116,000-square-foot center for comprehensive low-vision rehabilitation at Duke University.

“On behalf of the entire LCI organization, we’d like to congratulate Bill Hudson on receiving this prestigious honor,” said LCI President, Jeffrey Hawting. “Over his 50-year career at LCI, Bill’s entrepreneurial spirit and visionary focus has had a tremendous impact on the lives of thousands of blind and visually impaired individuals throughout the U.S. We couldn’t be more proud to stand by him as he accepts this well-deserved award.”

On May 1, NIB will present the Irwin Award to Hudson during an awards banquet at the 2019 NIB/NAEPB National Symposium in Alexandria, Virginia. The annual conference, hosted by NIB and the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind (NAEPB), brings together hundreds of NIB and associated agency employees, partners, and supporters to advance employment issues for people who are blind.


About National Industries for the Blind

Since 1938, 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

About LCI

LCI is a provider of manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, retail and technology consulting solutions — and one of the largest employers of Americans who are blind or visually impaired. We serve customers in the public and private sectors who need high quality products and services that meet procurement needs, including those of the AbilityOne program, and who want to feel confident that their purchase supports American workers. We continually innovate our business structure to balance the expectations of our customers with the interests of the BVI community. Our innovative approach to business-model evolution enables us to exceed the expectations of our customers while empowering our employees to reach their highest potential. Learn more at