NYSPSP Names New Executive Director

NIB manages the New York State Preferred Source Program For New Yorkers Who Are Blind (NYSPSP), a state-mandated initiative that creates and sustains employment for people who are blind. NYSPSP directs state and local government agencies in New York to purchase pre-approved products and services produced by affiliated nonprofit agencies in the state that employ people who are blind or visually impaired to help them build rewarding careers.

Last week, NYSPSP named Christopher Burke as its new executive director. Burke will take the reins of the organization at the end of August. As executive director, Burke will provide leadership, management, and direction to NYSPSP, and will work closely with NYSPSP affiliated agencies, state and municipal government customers, commercial partners, and other key stakeholders to create and sustain employment opportunities for New Yorkers who are blind.

Burke has more than 20 years of nonprofit management experience and has held several leadership positions. He joins NYSPSP from Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany (NABA), where he was executive director and chief executive officer responsible for overall agency management, leadership, and vision. In addition, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Northeastern Association of the Blind Foundation.

“A long-time advocate and ally to the program, we’ve had the pleasure of having Chris as a colleague during his tenure as executive director and CEO of NABA. I am confident that his wide range of experience in nonprofit leadership, government and community relations, and operations will undoubtedly prove to be valuable to the program,” said Lisa Damiani, chairperson, Empire State Employment Resources for the Blind (ESERB).

In addition, Burke has served as a member of the NIB board of directors, organizational board chair of the Blind Employment Network of New York, and a member of the Disability Advisory Committee of the Capital District Transportation Authority, New York State Vision Rehabilitation Association, and the Albany and Troy Lions Club.

“Chris has been a valuable part of our network for many years. His leadership, professional experience, and insight are sure to be great assets to the NYSPSP team,” said Kevin Lynch, president and CEO of NIB.

State and local government agencies in New York are required to purchase products and services that appear on the New York State Office of General Services Preferred Source List through NYSPSP. These commodities are produced, and services performed, by affiliated nonprofit agencies in New York that employ people who are blind or visually impaired. NIB manages NYSPSP through a separate 503(c) entity known as Empire State Employment Resources for the Blind (ESERB). ESERB oversees the daily operation of NYSPSP, as designated by the New York State (NYS) Office of Children & Family Services/NYS Commission for the Blind.

NYSPSP affiliated agencies are listed below. The agencies are also associated with NIB.

Alphapointe – Queens

Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired – Rochester

Association for Vision Rehabilitation & Employment – Binghamton

Aurora – Syracuse

Central Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired – Utica & Syracuse

My Blind Spot – New York City & Long Island

Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany – Albany

VIA (formerly Olmsted Center for Sight) – Buffalo

Southern Tier Association for the Visually Impaired – Elmira

VISIONS – Manhattan & Rockland County