Clinton Tyler: He Looks Forward to Future Challenges

Tags: Employee Stories, Employment Opportunities

Clinton Tyler, production supervisor in VisionCorps’ Enterprise Group’s Lancaster facility,  didn’t know about VisionCorps until he needed services for his own vision loss.

He came to VisionCorps in 2019 after he and his wife moved to Lancaster, his wife’s hometown, to live and raise a family. They have two children, a 6-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter.

Clinton, a Philadelphia native, had a dream job; his second after first working security for the Philadelphia Eagles football team. Clinton then worked for the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), starting in Houston where he worked for the Rockets and the WNBA Comets, formerly located in Houston, and returning to Philadelphia with the 76ers.

“I was the ball kid,” says Clinton. “I washed the laundry and folded the towels. On game days, I spent 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. working in the arena.”

On days he traveled with the team, he worked to get everything ready for the basketball games. Clinton is tall, 6’6”, and he looks like a basketball player, although he says he isn’t tall enough.

The perks of the job were fun:  Clinton practiced rebounding with the players and did 1-on-1 shooting drills. He talked with some of basketball’s biggest stars including meeting Magic Johnson, while he was working with the 76ers.

“We had a 20-minute conversation about basketball and life in general,” says Clinton. “He was very friendly.”

Clinton told Kobe Bryant he was from Philadelphia, and they talked about the city and cheesesteaks.

Yao Ming, who is 7’6”, often dubbed the “gentle giant,” made Clinton “look like a little kid.” His imposing size was intimidating, but Clinton remembers him as being very nice.

His favorite player, says Clinton, is Shaquille O’Neal. When they met, Shaq wrapped Clinton in his arms and gave him a hug, making “me look small!”

But the most challenging — and most fun – work was with the women’s team, says Clinton.

“The women work hard, they hustle up and down the courts and keep practicing shooting drills,” says Clinton. “On any given day, the women players could beat the men in basketball – they’re that good.”

His work changed when Clinton lost his vision from glaucoma, a hereditary disease that can damage vision and lead to blindness. Today, he is legally blind with straight tunnel vision; he can’t see anything from the side. He learned to cope and thrive, thanks to VisionCorps services.

He continues to raise money to support research into vision loss. He is the captain of a team named “Walk with Clinton” that participates in VisionWalk, an October fundraiser for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, in Philadelphia to fund sight-saving research.

Clinton supervises employees on the production line – making sure that issues are identified and resolved, and helping workers learn and complete their jobs. He started as a production line employee and was promoted to supervisor.

“I don’t want to micromanage,” says Clinton. “I want to put people in a position where they can do better for themselves. I tell them if you don’t know how to do it, it’s okay to tell me and I’ll help out. Tell me what you need. I won’t let you fail.

“I don’t want them to use their vision loss as a crutch. I tell them that I’m also blind, I don’t have full sight. My goal is to empower them.”

He recently completed the National Industries for the Blind (NIB)’s Promote, a program that teaches people without vision how to use the Microsoft suite of programs.

“You learn to use basic skills on a computer without vision. I learned Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and responding to e-mails,” he says. “We learned how to do basic skills without using a mouse. It was beneficial and I hope to use it more.”

Clinton is taking classes at the local community college and plans to continue to work toward earning his degree, possibly in social work.

“My wife works in the school district with kids who don’t have much in their lives and have a lot of needs,” he says. “I like working with kids and I might want to do it in the future.”

He wants to advance in his job, and “learn enough so I can take over my boss’ job,” and he is encouraging people who work for him to do the same.

“I like living and working here, it’s fun,” although he also thinks about returning to the NBA someday.

“I still want to work with a college team or the NBA,” says Clinton. “Maybe I can be the first blind person working for the NBA.”