Rick Veloz is an important part of the leadership team at Arizona Industries for the Blind’s Distribution Services Unit (DSU) , a nationally recognized Distribution Center in Phoenix, Arizona. As the Operations Manager, Rick leads and manages all aspects of the DSU warehouse operations.
Over the last ten (10) years, Rick has been learning and mastering every process within DSU so that he can help other team members be the best they can be. Rick’s determination led to several promotional opportunities within DSU including Shipper/Packer and Production Control Clerk, where he honed his communication and administrative skills while working alongside the Business Unit Manager.
In 2021, Rick moved from a “direct labor” position to an “indirect labor” role as a supervisor for DSU. “All these experiences led to me being able to step into the role of Operations Manager in December of 2021,” explains Rick.
As the Operations Manager, Rick directly supervises three (3) Administrative Support team members, plans and directs the labor requirements for warehouse staff directly and indirectly through the five (5) Material Coordinators who then direct an additional 50+ employees.
When asked what leadership means to him, Rick said “leadership means passing on what I have learned throughout my career and inspiring others to do their best, leading by example and showing care and understanding for others.”
As a participant in the AbilityOne Program, AIB empowers individuals who are blind or visually impaired to achieve their highest goals and aspirations by creating and sustaining career opportunities. Of the five (5) positions Rick held, four (4) were backfilled by a person who is blind or visually impaired.
As a child Rick was diagnosed with X-linked juvenile retinoschisis which is a condition characterized by impaired vision that begins in childhood. This disorder affects the retina , which is a specialized light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. When asked about giving advice to other blind individuals who desire upward mobility Rick said, “have confidence in yourself and through perseverance, you can overcome any obstacles, that’s how I got to where I am today.”
Each new partnership between AIB and public/private sector customers creates career paths like those Rick had for Arizonians who are blind standing on the sideline waiting for an opportunity. When given a chance, “visually impaired people can perform at a high level, matching or exceeding production of those who are not visually impaired,” said Rick.