ABOUT US - Terry C. Smith Consulting


Photo of Terry speaking in Memphis

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Terry came to the blindness field over 36 years ago. After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling, Terry's first career stop was at Middle Tennessee State University as the Coordinator of the Office for Blind & Visually Impaired Students. He stayed there for 5+ years introducing many innovative programs to the disability student services arena. After leaving MTSU, he moved to Tennessee Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired as a Regional Supervisor in Nashville. There he supervised vocational rehabilitation counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and business enterprise staff. He was in that position for less and a year and a half before being promoted into the Director of Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired. When he accepted the position in 1983, he was the youngest state director in the country. When he left the Blind & Visually Impaired in 2011, he enjoyed the distinction of being the longest tenured state director in the country.

When he became Director, Terry took over a program in turmoil. However, with his consumer focused philosophy, the agency thrived. Great strides were made with the vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs. The Tennessee Business Enterprises (TBE) Program grew into one of the most successful in the country.

Through his efforts, blind entrepreneurs were allowed to manage vending facilities at the interstate welcome centers. He negotiated the deal that allowed blind vendors to operate the vending in all of the state prisons. He negotiated agreements with the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee that created at least one opportunity for a blind entrepreneur on every state college and university campus. But TBE's venture into the jail inmate commissary business was his biggest accomplishment. Tennessee became the only state to have blind entrepreneurs operating these highly profitable inmate commissaries. When he retired on November 1, 2011, blind vendors were providing inmate commissaries in more than 20 county jails.

With the success of the Tennessee Program, he assumed a leadership role nationally. He served as the President of the National Council of state Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB). From 2001 to 2011, he served as the Chair of NCSAB's Randolph Sheppard Committee. He developed a reputation of being a staunch advocate for blind entrepreneurs. In 2006, he helped put together a coalition of organizations of and for the blind to form the Blind Entrepreneurs Alliance (BEA). Terry served as the Facilitator for 4 years and helped the organization become a national force in Washington, D.C. before the coalition was disbanded in 2010.

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Even while employed by the State of Tennessee, Terry would take annual leave to go assist other states improve their business enterprises programs. He conducted program evaluation and strategic planning initiatives in the states of Oregon, Hawaii, Missouri, and Ohio. He spoke at annual blind vendor meetings in Hawaii, California, Texas, Illinois, Alabama, Georgia, and Virginia.

After retiring from the State of Tennessee on November 1, 2011, Terry, who had built a career out of helping create opportunities for blind entrepreneurs, became a blind entrepreneur himself creating Terry C. Smith Consulting. Although he has several clients and is assisting multiple states with their business enterprises program, Terry's primary focus is the National Federation of the Blind's Blind Entrepreneurs Initiative. He is more excited about the BEI than anything he has done in a long time and believes it can have a major impact nationally.

Over the course of his career, Terry received many awards and honors. The one that means the most to him is the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to him by the National Association of Blind Merchants. NABM had previously honored Terry with its prestigious Gold Star Award. The National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee awarded him the Distinguished Service Award in 2011.

Other awards over the years included the Outstanding Leadership Award Presented by the Tennessee Department of Human Services, the Tennessee AER Rehabilitation Professional of the Year, and the TRUST in Tennessee Outstanding Services Award.

Part of Terry's dedication is due to the fact he is blind himself. He lost most of his vision at the age of 9 as the result of an automobile accident involving a drunk driver. He attended public schools and attributes his success to parents who had such high expectations of him despite the loss of vision.

Terry and his wife Kerry have two grown children. One is a Hollywood actor and the other is an Orientation & Mobility Specialist. Terry and Kerry live the Scenic City of Chattanooga, Tennessee which they affectionately refer to as God's Country.

 


865-599-7148    terry@terrycsmith.com