Doug has always enjoyed fixing things. Though Doug has been blind 27 years now because of diabetic retinopathy, he still does as many of his home repairs as possible. It’s fun and saves money.
Doug never thought he would work with computers every day, let alone teach others how to use them. Right up until the night he lost his eyesight, Doug’s maintenance career meant he spent a lot of time moving heavy pipes and fixing broken machines.
Doug went through several eye surgeries and overcame other health challenges that come with type 1 diabetes. But he had a young family to support and wanted to create a new career path.
After eight years of searching, Doug took a job in Outlook Nebraska’s production facility. The manufacturing environment felt comfortable to him, and his knowledge of machines proved useful. Doug became the first blind operator of the overwrap machine.
By 2011, Doug’s twin daughters were twelve. Doug was glad to be employed and had fun with his co-workers but wanted to grow professionally.
Not long after he signed up for online courses at Bellevue University, an adaptive technology training position opened up at Outlook. Doug applied and now oversees Outlook Enrichment’s (Enrichment’s) technology training.
Doug received a bachelor’s degree in business. And he uses everything he has learned about technology to help others with vision loss become more independent and self-sufficient.
Though Doug’s career went in a different direction, he still uses his problem solving and desire to find a way every day. Doug researches new apps and new technology that can help people with vision loss live, work and play. And, when someone with vision loss needs help learning something new on a smartphone or computer, Doug is ready for the task. He loves seeing Enrichment participants gain confidence when they realize they can use technology to do things they thought were off-limits to them.
Doug does not let his vision loss stop him from enjoying his favorite hobbies. He can no longer see the trees and scenery of nature, but he loves listening to sounds like wind swirling the grass, something he did not notice as much when he could see. Doug still visits the gun range, though now he needs some assistance to line up with the target.
In addition to his twin daughters, Doug has a stepson and stepdaughter. He is also a grandfather. Doug and his wife love to travel and enjoy time with their family.