David Horton, executive director of Industries for the Blind in Winston-Salem

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DAVID ROLFE Under David Horton’s leadership, Industries for the Blind in Winston-Salem saw its sales more than double from $80 million to $200 million.

IFB Solutions announced Thursday that David Horton, its president and chief executive, will retire at the end of 2022.

Horton, 58, has been with the Winston-Salem nonprofit agency since 2001 and has served in the two leadership roles since 2015.

IFB’s board of directors has appointed a search committee, led by chairman Bob Newell, and hired a search firm to interview potential candidates. The goal is to select the next top executive in the third quarter of 2022.

The IFB news release did not include a statement from Horton about his retirement decision.

IFB, founded in 1936, is the largest employer of individuals who are blind or visually impaired in the country. It has about 1,000 employees overall and 639 locally.

The group has three manufacturing facilities, including a large optical laboratory in Winston-Salem supplying Veterans Affairs’ optical centers across the Eastern Seaboard, a call center in California, and more than 20 supply stores serving various government locations nationwide. The other two manufacturing facilities are in Asheville and Little Rock, Ark.

In March 2020, IFB opened its Twenty200 Eyewear optical store at 631 Coliseum Drive NW in Winston-Salem.

Under Horton’s leadership, IFB saw its sales more than double from $80 million to $200 million.

“David has been a transformational leader in our organization,” Newell said.

“He has led us through periods of great change, including adding new locations and opening new businesses, all while keeping the mission intact of creating life-changing opportunities for people who are blind.”

Horton has worked closely with National Industries for the Blind and served on the board of the National Association for Employment of People Who Are Blind.

In North Carolina, Horton served until very recently as Board Chairman of the NC State Commission for the Blind, which is a governor-appointed position and serves as an advisory council to the NC Division of Services for the Blind.



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