SourceAmerica Announces 2023 Achievement Award Winners
Celebrating Inclusivity for People with Disabilities
Vienna, Va. (May 25, 2023) - SourceAmerica®, an AbilityOne® authorized enterprise that creates employment opportunities for people with disabilities, announced the winners of its national achievement awards at its annual Xforce conference in Anaheim, California, on May 24, 2023.
The SourceAmerica achievement awards recognize nonprofits, employees, and business partners for their exceptional work ethic, success, and leadership in advancing inclusion for people with disabilities. These awards highlight successes in disability employment, especially when approximately 60 percent of working-age people with disabilities do not have jobs.
“People with disabilities bring unique insights and talents to the nation’s workforce,” said Richard Belden, SourceAmerica president and chief executive officer. “SourceAmerica takes pride in celebrating the achievements of these award winners who have demonstrated leadership, dedication, and the passion to inspire others to work towards a more inclusive workforce.”
Learn more about the outstanding accomplishments of the 2023 Achievement Award winners:
Telisha Griffin, Brevard Achievement Center, Rockledge, Florida
William M. Usdane Award for outstanding achievement and exceptional character
One of Telisha Griffin’s co-workers describes her as “a smile that can light up a room.” As a cook at the dining facility at Patrick Space Force Base in Rockledge, Florida, Griffin’s high energy and warm personality have made her a favorite with soldiers on the base. She says she always wants to brighten up their day, especially those who are far from home. Griffin quickly moved up in her position due to her strong work ethic and cooking skills.
Matthew Liptrap, PCSI, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Evelyne Villines Award for advancement into management
Matthew Liptrap, a veteran who sustained injuries in combat, quickly rose from a grounds worker to a quality control manager at Schriever Air Force Base due to his strong leadership skills and team mentoring. In his new career, Liptrap found the brotherhood he missed from his military days. He loves being a hands-on manager and says he never let his disability hold him back from reaching for what he wants in life.
Sisay Senbet, Didlake, Manassas, Virginia
Tom Miller Advocacy Award for outstanding achievement and self-advocacy
Sisay Senbet has worked for over ten years at Didlake and is now the lead worker at the Pentagon responsible for planning, coordinating and leading daily operations of the custodial crew. Originally from Ethiopia, Senbet, who is visually impaired, used his advocacy skills to immigrate to the U.S. on his own and to succeed once he arrived. His co-worker says he exemplifies the American dream. Now he proudly advocates for his co-workers and the disability community and cherishes his role as a tutor.
Terry McDade, Beacon Group, Tucson, Arizona
Honor Roll for Veterans Award for outstanding achievement in their work
An engineering tech at Hill AFB, Utah, Terry McDade is trusted with thousands of pieces of equipment worth millions of dollars. McDade stands out for his work ethic, skillset and dedication, as well as his advocacy work encouraging veterans to seek help for PTSD. McDade says joining a PTSD program after his years in the Vietnam War was one of the best decisions he ever made. At work and personally, McDade wants to be part of a mission where he is needed.
NONPROFIT AGENCY AWARDS FOR INNOVATIVE WORK METHODS, PRODUCTS, OR SERVICES
Innovation Award Winner - Every Citizen Has Opportunities (ECHO) Barkery, Leesburg, Virginia
ECHO, a nonprofit that offers lifelong support for adults with disabilities, started ECHO Barkery, a dog biscuit bake shop, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when nine of its 16 worksites closed, displacing 71 of its 95 program participants. ECHO Barkery now employs 18 individuals with disabilities, bakes over 45,000 biscuits monthly, and counts mid-Atlantic Whole Foods stores and 16 other retailers as customers.
Litefighter Systems, Harlan, Kentucky
Business Partnership Award for commercial business partnering to increase employment for people with disabilities
Litefighter Systems, LLC is a family-owned, Veterans Administration certified, service-disabled veteran owned small business that started when the sons returned from Iraq and set out to make high-quality military tents. They partnered with Southeastern Kentucky Rehabilitation Industries, which employs people with disabilities, to make shelter systems and tactical gear for the U.S. military and outdoor camping community. This partnership has both created jobs in a community struggling with unemployment and built a supportive and positive work environment for its employees.
SourceAmerica connects government customers and other organizations to a national network of AbilityOne® authorized providers that hire a talented segment of the workforce—people with disabilities. Established in 1974, SourceAmerica is committed to increasing economic and social inclusion and advocating for a more accessible future of work for people with disabilities. SourceAmerica, an AbilityOne® authorized enterprise, harnesses the momentum and boosts the capability of its network and customers as a leading job connector for the disability community. To learn more, visit SourceAmerica.org and follow @SourceAmerica on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
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