Employee of the Year
With These Hands
Hands are an integral part of the work-life of the blind and vision impaired. Get to know our employees and learn how the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind & Vision Impaired has affected their lives.
Name of Employee: Andrew Thomas Job Title: Contract Closeout Specialist Reasons for nomination:
Andy is an astute worker and consummate professional. Within the past 12 months, Andy has personally closed over 400 contracts which resulted in de-obligating over 2.2 million dollars for the federal government. His outstanding efforts have contributed to the team reaching new closure rates during the months of April and May, and helped set new weekly goals for contracts to be closed by each Specialist. Andy also dedicated his time with the Lions Club by helping with fund-raising events and getting involved with community services. Presently, he is part of a Christmas project planning committee to benefit a children’s shelter and a nursing home.
Andy joined the UTSA Graduate Business Association during his first year in his MBA program and became an officer of the Association. He continued to progress and get involved which he is now president of the Association in his current semester. He is also part of an “i play!” afterschool program designed to ignite a love of sport in 3rd through 5th graders, while teaching life lessons about living, good nutrition and strong personal character. Additionally, Andy is a member of his neighborhood association and an active participant in Citizens On Patrol.
Finally, Andy produces a monthly newsletter for his apartment complex and a bimonthly newsletter for a local recreational walking club called the Texas Wanderers. Andy uses his talents to contribute wherever he can as evident in his commitment to excel in everything he does.
Nominee: Jose Martinez Position: Technology Trainer I
Jose was born in Zacatecas, Mexico.
At two years old, he was diagnosed with Retina Pigmentosa. Unfortunately, at the time, there were no services for the visually impaired in his home town. To add insult to injury, the school was not capable of handling a visually impaired child and Jose was unceremoniously kicked out of school.
Where one door closes, another one opens. Jose and his family came to the US when he was seven and a whole new world opened up to him. He learned Braille, how to use a cane and caught back up with his studies. After spending a year at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin, Jose came back to Uvalde and graduated high school. After high school, he went on to graduate from Texas State University with a Bachelors degree in Public Relations in 2008. He began working at the Lighthouse in 2009 as a Technology Trainer.
Besides being an exceptional employee and role model for the visually impaired, Jose is also a DJ and musical artist. As a matter of fact, he released an album on iTunes in 2012 under the name AZ Martinez. The ten songs are a mix of country, pop and Spanish music. He also sang at the 50th Anniversary celebration for ADA/VIA in San Antonio. When he’s not juggling work and a music career, he’s very involved with his church and is a past president of the local NFB chapter.
Some of his accomplishments at the Lighthouse are:
- Responsible for all of the Braille documents coming out of SALB
- Reviews Braille documents for several companies for completeness and accuracy
- Develops training plans for consumers that DBS refers to the Lighthouse
- Writes detailed reports for the counselors outlining the technological needs for the consumer
- Does the weekly announcements when the CEO is not in the office