Over 100 blind entrepreneurs from 31 states and the District of Columbia converged on our nation’s capitol in May for NABM’s 2018 Critical Issues Conference and Day on the Hill.   By all accounts it was a huge success.

It was really a 3 in 1 event.  There was a conference designed to identify and discuss the critical issues facing the Randolph-Sheppard Program.  The group identified a number of important issues.  A document enumerating those issues is being created and will be posted on this website in the coming weeks.

Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in roundtable discussions with various federal departments to consider issues unique to those federal entities.  Roundtables were conducted with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Rehabilitation Services Administration, and General Services Administration.   Some important dialogue took place that will bear fruit in the future as NABM continues to work to move the Randolph-Sheppard Program forward.

At the same time, NABM was conducting its third Emerging Leaders Training.  Thirteen future leaders participated in the training.  Former RSA Commissioner Fred Schroeder delivered the keynote address on the first day and leadership consultant Kevin O’Connor conducted a half-day workshop for the class.  The Emerging Leaders also participated in the discussion as the larger group identified the above referenced critical issues.

A half-day was spent on The Hill educating members of Congress about the Randolph-Sheppard Program.  Over 100 meetings with Senators, members of the House, and staffers were held.  These meetings focused on educating our elected officials as t the impact rest area commercialization would have on blind entrepreneurs, the impact issues in the Department of Education are having on blind entrepreneurs and SLA’s, and DoD contracting.

It was a successful 3 days in D.C.  We are already being asked if we will do it again next year.  That decision has not been made but if there is a need, NABM will be back.