Gulf States Interpreting for the Deaf

December 30, 2015 | Mandy Fernandez |

image of Laura Subel, FSBDC, posing with Terri Schisler of Gulf States Interpreting for the Deaf
Laura Subel and Terri Schisler

Terri Schisler worked as an independent contractor for over 30 years as an interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing. In 2013 she opened up her own small business, Gulf States Interpreting for the Deaf (GSID) in Pensacola. Terri recalls, "I began in this field when an opportunity came up after college to work at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, Florida. This career  was a great thing for me to do while raising my family. Two years ago I began the steps to start my own business."

Now Terri is using her skills and experience to bring a whole new passion and purpose to those she serves. She has provided interpreting services during times of catastrophes. "I have recently provided services in response to several disasters. Through my work, I'm able to assist emergency managers in making their communications accessible to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. We have really opened up doors. I'm now working with legislators in Tallahassee to develop guidelines at the state level for use of interpreters during emergencies and disasters."

Terri contacted the Florida SBDC at UWF in 2013 after she did an online search for small business resource help. She met with Business Consultant Dan Cavanaugh at the start of her business and has since worked with Government Contracting Services Specialist Laura Subel after she began to explore options for offering her services to federal government entities.  "Laura was so helpful and instrumental in helping me navigate through the federal government process," said Terri. She added, "The bids and contracts can be quite overwhelming but Laura guided me through it, step by step, pointing out what applied to my specific type of service and me." With guidance by the SBDC, Gulf Coast Interpreting for the Deaf has won over $250,000 in government contracts to provide interpreting services for government agencies.

Terri advises this to other business owners, "No matter what the needs of your business are, the Florida SBDC has solutions you can take away to help your business be successful and grow." She notes that the Florida SBDC and its Government Contracting Specialist Services are helping her to aid others, giving vital access and knowledge to the deaf community.