SourceAmerica Honors Award Winners at National Conference
INDIANAPOLIS -- SourceAmerica honored its annual National Achievement Award winners as the high point of its annual conference at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis May 9.
"All of us have been fighting for decades for people with disabilities to be welcomed, celebrated and included in the workforce," said SourceAmerica President and CEO Steve Soroka. "And that is what our shared purpose is all about."
Honor Roll for Veterans with Disabilities Award:
Neil Colomac medically retired from the Army after surviving two IED attacks in Afghanistan that left him with a severe seizure disorder. After sending out more than 200 resumes, he found work with Skookum Contract Services in Bremerton, Washington. In his role overseeing vehicle maintenance on a Department of Energy contract, Colomac was promoted to oversee quality systems for a contract to maintain vehicles in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the Department of Energy. He brought the vehicle failure rate down from 17 percent to 2 percent.
Randy Russell has been a familiar face at The Centers for Habilitation in Tempe, Arizona, for 28 years. Through his job, he brings attention to the barriers people with disabilities face and is a leader on his organization's Self-Advocacy Council, spearheading local disability awareness outreach.
Evelyne Villines Award:
Kelly Hahn won the Evelyne Villines Award, named for a groundbreaking activist for disability employment. Both were dismissed from job interviews for their disabilities early in their careers. Like Villines, who had polio, Hahn refused to accept her rejection. Rather, she has excelled as a bilingual customer service representative through Job Options Inc, earning a significant promotion.
Tom Miller Advocacy Award:
Anthony Green fell on hard times following his diagnosis with bipolar disorder. At one point, the Navy veteran was homeless and struggled to find work. After finding an entry-level food service job through Palmetto Goodwill at Joint Base Charleston, he's risen to the role of assistant project manager on the agency's largest custodial contract and is an active self-advocate for disability employment issues.
William M. Usdane Award:
A self-taught seamstress who is legally blind, Barbara Moore takes pride sewing military uniform trousers at Vocational Guidance Services, Inc. in Cleveland. Moore is a dedicated self-advocate urging the support of legislators on disability employment issues. She was honored as an AbilityOne Program employee with a significant disability who has exhibited outstanding achievement and exceptional character.
Milton Cohen Leadership Award:
Paul Atkinson, president and CEO of Eggleston in Norfolk, Virginia, has devoted his career to creating opportunities for people with disabilities. During his 30-year tenure at Eggleston, the nonprofit has grown from serving 125 people to more than 1,000 people on a budget of $27 million.
Business Partnership Award:
Hawker Pacific Aerospace, a maintenance, repair and overhaul provider based in Sun Valley, Calif., began a pilot program four years ago with Exceptional Children's Foundation, a SourceAmerica network member. Hawker Pacific Aerospace's goal was to give people with disabilities skills and pathways to local employment.
Small Business Partnership Award:
Los Angeles-based Stone Candle, an artisanal candle maker, also partnered with ECF to employ people with disabilities. More than 65 percent of Stone Candle's workforce is composed of people with disabilities. Taking the partnership a step further, Stone Candle launched a product line that includes messaging about their employees' unique abilities.
Pitt County Government won the Customer Award for its 20 years of work with Eastern Carolina Vocational Center. The local government employs 52 people with significant disabilities at two material recovery facilities and 25 in custodial roles at various county buildings.
Customer Federal, Civilian Award:
SourceAmerica member nonprofit Didlake nominated the Department of Energy. What began in 1998 as a small administrative services contract with the organization that now employs 117 people on three contracts at two locations providing administrative and custodial services.
Customer Federal Award, Military:
The NAVFAC Northwest Acquisition Team was recognized for creating about 40 jobs for people with disabilities employed by Skookum Contract Services in Bremerton, Washington. The team placed a $20 million base operating services contract serving Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, and Naval Station Everett, Washington, into the AbilityOne Program.
For more information, visit sourceamerica.org/awards.