SourceAmerica National Achievement Awards Honor Employees with Disabilities

By SourceAmerica 05/07/2014

SourceAmerica National Achievement Awards Honor Employees with Disabilities

SAN DIEGO, CA (May 7, 2014) - SourceAmerica®, a national nonprofit and leading source of employment opportunities for nearly 125,000 people with significant disabilities, today announced the recipients of its annual National Achievement Awards.

The SourceAmerica National Achievement Awards recognize individuals with significant disabilities who are trained and employed through a national network of over 500 community-based nonprofit agencies. This year’s award recipients are: John Stinson of Fort Lee, VA, for the William M. Usdane Award; Jordan Cooper of Lansing, MI, for the Evelyn Villines Award; Andrew Weissenberger of Enterprise, AL, winner of the AbilityOne® Honor Roll for Veterans with Disabilities Award; Sean Thompson of Albuquerque, NM, winner of the President’s Award; Holly Anderson of Yuma, AZ, recipient of the inaugural Tom Miller Award for Advocacy.

"These five award winners exemplify what people with significant disabilities can achieve when given the opportunity to succeed," said Bob Chamberlin, SourceAmerica president and CEO. "They represent nearly 125,000 SourceAmerica’s nonprofit network employees who are performing great work and are being recognized by their employers and coworkers for the dedication and leadership they demonstrate each day."

John Stinson – Winner, William H. Usdane Award.
The William M. Usdane National Award recognizes an AbilityOne® Program employee with a significant disability who exhibits outstanding achievement and exceptional character and excels in the workplace.

Stinson performs his duties at Ft. Lee, VA, as the production control clerk at the service order desk for Skookum Contract Services’ total facilities management (TFM) operation. Despite significant mobility impairments and chronic pain, he executes his job with an irrepressible drive to succeed. His responsibilities include managing service desk calls, handling web initiated work requests, answering customer inquiries about base utility operations and entering workload data. Stinson is responsible for tasks critical to the TFM contract as he is the vital link in the flow of information that gets transferred to the HVAC technician for repairs in the customer’s facilities.

"John embodies the very best values of the AbilityOne Program, striving to succeed in an environment where customer service is of the utmost importance," said Site Manager Robert Fetter. "His character, positive demeanor and unfailing work ethic all come together to make him an outstanding choice for this award."

Jordan Cooper – Winner, Evelyne Villines Award.
The Evelyne Villines Award recognizes an individual with a significant disability who has advanced from work on an AbilityOne® contract into private or government sector employment or management within the nonprofit agency..

Cooper battled through Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with autistic characteristics to now direct a team of 15 customer service representatives with disabilities at the National Passport Information Center in Lansing, MI. He had no work experience when he joined Peckham, Inc.'s apparel and manufacturing division as a sewer two years ago, but he demonstrated the motivation to succeed. He advanced by taking advantage of Peckham's counseling services, vocational guidance, classroom training and other support services. Cooper recognized the opportunity for upward mobility when it became available and decided to take the company’s customer service training class. He was promoted to team lead, responsible for mentoring and training new hires in the call center. His leadership skills grew and put him on an upward path.

"I'm very proud of Jordan. He’s made such a contribution in his young life and with his attitude and smile…he's going to do great and wonderful things. My congratulations go to him," said Evelyne Villines, the award's namesake and lifelong advocate for people with significant disabilities. "When I see the accomplishments and the real miracles that go on every day at SourceAmerica's nonprofit agencies and the selflessness of the employees and how much they contribute it is wonderful."

Andrew Weissenberger – AbilityOne Honor Roll for Veterans with Disabilities Award .
The AbilityOne® Honor Roll for Veterans with Disabilities recognizes a service-disabled veteran with a significant disability who exhibits outstanding achievement in their work life..

Former U.S. Army combat engineer Former U.S. Army combat engineer, Weissenberger, was determined to become self-sufficient again after surviving serious injuries while serving in Iraq. Today, he performs base-wide operating support services for PRIDE Industries at Ft Rucker, AL, and is responsible for processing work orders according to their priority level and shop specialty.

Weissenberger endured six improvised explosive device blasts, the last of which caused traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, a fractured hip and damaged knee. He now works with physical impairments and has difficulty retaining information, but remains indomitable in spirit. His positive attitude, combined with continuous training and support from counselors, coworkers and supervisors, have led to new job opportunities and a path toward professional advancement.

"Andrew's resilience, great work ethic and determination inspire all who work with him," said Kim Curry General Manager at PRIDE Industries. "The leadership and teamwork skills he learned in the military are put to good use every day in his position at Ft. Rucker, where he must direct workloads while maintaining good working relationships with his coworkers and the customers."

Weissenberger's unwavering commitment to give back to the troops extends beyond the workplace. He generously volunteers his time with the Wounded Warriors Project, helping veterans accomplish everyday activities. He also supports the Disabled American Veterans organization with fundraising and special events. In the future, he hopes to establish his own nonprofit organization to help injured veterans with significant disabilities regain their independence after they return home from combat.

Sean Thompson – President's Award.
The President’s Award recognizes a non-AbilityOne Program employee with a significant disability who exhibits outstanding leadership and exceptional character.

Sean Thompson is a testament to the professional success individuals with significant disabilities can achieve with support, hard work and a positive attitude. Thompson was hired by Adelante Document Imaging (ADI) as an entry-level document preparation technician responsible for preparing files for digital scanning. At first he needed verbal and gestural prompts to stay focused and meet productivity requirements. Thompson never gave up, worked hard, took direction and gained confidence. He earned a promotion to scanner operator after just six months and is now the most productive scanner at ADI.

Thompson scans documents, reviews each document to ensure it is processed correctly and resolves any technical issues. In overcoming a developmental disability with global deficits, he relied on support staff to fix every paper jam and screen error. With training, he was able to resolve common scanner malfunctions on his own. He gained new self-confidence and productivity skyrocketed. With training, Thompson now scans more than 7,500 images each day and was selected as ADI's "Employee of the Month" for surpassing the organization’s scanning production goals.

Thompson is a true team player, quick to acknowledge the contributions of others, caring and helpful. "He makes his co-workers feel welcome and encouraged, and his attitude and professionalism help others work harder to obtain their own goals too," said Robin Johnson, senior director of business operations at Adelante.

Thompson also is very active in the community. He recently participated in the Enchanted Circle Century Tour, riding his bicycle 70 miles across northern New Mexico. He also volunteers during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta every year and competes in the Special Olympics as a member of the golf team.

Holly Anderson – Tom Miller Award for Advocacy.
The Tom Miller Award for Advocacy recognizes an employee with a significant disability who demonstrates outstanding achievement and remarkable passion for self-advocacy on a local or national level.

Anderson, who works for ACHIEVE Human Services, is an outstanding advocate for people with disabilities and a protégé of Miller's. In 2013, she played a leading role conducting grassroots advocacy at the Arizona state and federal government levels, and, she met with every Arizona lawmaker in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

When Arizona state budget cuts eliminated some services for people with disabilities, Anderson helped secure a five percent increase in spending by the state Department of Economic Security, Division for Developmental Disabilities. She also helped to convince U.S. Representative Ron Barber of Arizona to become an AbilityOne Program Champion. Anderson enhanced her advocacy efforts after completing a Dale Carnegie course at Miller's suggestion. Today, Anderson carries on Miller’s legacy by speaking out regularly about policies that impact employment opportunities for people with disabilities and training others to do the same.

Tom Miller served on SourceAmerica’s board of directors and last summer lost his battle with cancer. He had earned recognition in his home state of South Dakota and nationally for his grassroots advocacy work. Upon his death in August, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) penned a tribute to Miller in the Congressional Record.

Regional SourceAmerica Achievement Award Winners

William M. Usdane Award

Iris Patricia Payne
Huntsville, AL

Elizabeth Clear
Licking/Knox Goodwill Industries, Inc.
Canal Winchester, OH

Patrick Tilley
Upliftd, Inc.
Baton Rouge, LA

Darin Hogan
Spokane, WA

Carlos Yniguez
J.P. Industries, Inc.
Tucson, AZ

Evelyne Villines Award

Phil Johnson
Goodwill Specialty Services, Inc.
Omaha, NE

Harry Loque
ServiceSource, Inc.
Alexandria, VA

Stephanie Walker
Work Services Corporation
Wichita Falls, TX

James Blaylock
Calidad Industries, Inc.
Oakland, CA

Media Contact:
Matt Warnock
Office: 571-226-4526
Mobile: 571-218-9112

About SourceAmerica
Established in 1974, SourceAmerica creates job opportunities for a skilled and dedicated workforce: people with significant disabilities. SourceAmerica is the vital link between the federal government and private sector organizations that procure the products and services provided by this exceptional workforce via a network of more than 1,000 community-based nonprofits. Headquartered in Vienna, VA, SourceAmerica provides its nonprofit agency network with business development, contract management, legislative and regulatory assistance, communications and public relations materials, information technology support, engineering and technical assistance, and extensive professional training needed for successful nonprofit management. SourceAmerica is an AbilityOne authorized enterprise.

About the AbilityOne Program
Providing employment opportunities to nearly 50,000 people, the AbilityOne Program is the largest single source of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities in the United States. Nearly 600 participating nonprofit organizations employ these individuals and provide quality goods and services to the Federal Government at a fair market price. The AbilityOne Program is administered by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission, an independent Federal agency.