During the last two years there have been over 50 posts on this blog, totaling more than 75,000 words. Almost all of the writing has been about developmental disabilities and intellectual challenges, with a specific focus on the incredible men and women we employ. But now it is time to introduce you to the people in management who deserve a tremendous amount of credit for making the Meadows such a success.
Some of you may not be aware of our reputation in Oklahoma. We are considered one of the premier workshops in the state. In fact we are often cited as an example of how to run a successful program. We operate our business with integrity, while maintaining our focus on the success and welfare of our clients at all times. The adults we employ are able to trust us to provide a safe and productive work place that allows them to develop their skills and abilities to their fullest while we ensure that all of their health needs are met.
But our success doesn’t just randomly happen. It takes planning, dedication, hard work and, most importantly, leadership. Thankfully we have three individuals in management who are committed to continuing the same level of excellence that we have sustained for over 30 years. Each one of them goes far beyond what their jobs require in the effort to see that our employees have the best possible experience at work. They more than meet the daily challenges of running a business, as well as taking all of the necessary steps to ensure that our future is based on a solid foundation.
Here is a closer look at each one of these extraordinary people who do everything in their power to make the Meadows a place of opportunity and hope.
AMANDA GREENE: PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
In her 12 years with the company, Amy has performed every job we have. She has been a floor supervisor, she has spent time on our trucks, she has worked in all areas of the building and she is currently in charge of the drivers and all of the scheduling that takes place for our daily pick-ups of information to be shredded. For many of our customers she is the voice of the Meadows because she is the person they usually interact with on the phone.
In addition to her skill at dealing with the public, Amy also has a wonderful relationship with our clients. She is like a big sister to them. She assists them when they need first aid, she helps them when they are feeling sick, she is always willing to listen when they are upset and she has a calming ability to help them deal with any stress. Amy is particularly gifted in handling the issues that our female workers face. Because she makes them feel at ease, they are comfortable talking to her, and they feel reassured because they know she understands.
Many of the things that Amy does for the Meadows happens out of view. Most people are unaware that she buys a wide variety of work related supplies and materials out of her own pocket. On special occasions she provides snacks and candy and for our workers. She has also purchased personal items such as lunch kits for individuals who needed them. She quietly performs such thoughtful acts without anyone ever knowing. Her generosity is the natural result of her devotion to our clients.
Amy is the kind of person who consistently makes a difference at work by always going the extra mile. She volunteers throughout the day, without hesitation, to do all the extra things that lightens the load for others. Her focus is always on getting everything done as efficiently as possible, while never losing sight of her priority to assist and support our workers.
Because she can multi-task on so many levels, Amy plays a critical role in our day to day operations. Her judgment is excellent so she can always be counted on to make the right decision. But the most important characteristic that she brings to her job is the quality of her character. She is someone who can be trusted implicitly.
Amy’s commitment to our clients is unconditional.
DAVID POTTER: VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS
For 26 years David has given his heart and soul to this organization. The words “work ethic” do not begin to describe him. David is a force of nature. He is the first one to arrive in the morning, and the last one to leave in the evening. He also comes in on many weekends to do everything from paperwork to organizing the warehouse. The hardest jobs in the building are almost always done by David - without complaint. Each staff member knows that he is never going to ask them to do a task that he hasn’t done countless times himself.
Among his considerable skills is an amazing ability to install, maintain and repair almost anything. From our computer systems, to our trucks to the large industrial shredding machines we operate, David keeps everything running, and when a problem does occur he takes care of it immediately. Each year he saves the Meadows thousands and thousands of dollars in repair costs alone.
His importance to the organization is demonstrated by the fact that when any type of issue comes up in our building - no matter what it is - the first thing a staff member does is call David on their radio. They don’t even have to stop to think about it. It’s an automatic response because with his knowledge and experience he is always the person who can solve the problem.
David loves to joke around with the clients, and they thrive on the attention. Certainly he enjoys the interaction as well, but there is another reason he does this. When a worker is not feeling well or has a slight injury, because of the relationship he has established with them, he can have them laughing within a few seconds. His ability to use humor to misdirect their attention away from their discomfort allows him to accurately assess their issue.
In addition to everything else he does, David is also in charge of personnel. Each new staff member quickly understands that as long as he believes you are trying, and that you are making the effort to do your job correctly, he will support you no matter what mistakes you make. He is completely fair, and he is patient while you are learning.
The bottom line is this: We are a successful organization because David expects everyone to give their best effort on behalf of the clients – just as he does.
JAMES HILL: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Leadership starts at the top. That is why we are so grateful to have James in that position. During the 8 years he has been in charge, our business has grown steadily. We have purchased additional trucks, added to our shredding capabilities and now we are once again expanding our facility to keep up with the demand for our services. But if you compliment him on these achievements he will refuse to take any of the credit. He is the ultimate team player. He is both humble and gracious.
Each person in our organization has tremendous respect for James. He is far more than a boss, he is a friend to everyone who works at the Meadows. He has genuine concern and compassion for all of the clients and the staff. He is thoughtful, considerate and generous, and he treats each individual with the same respect no matter what their role in our organization happens to be. James brings a contagious energy and enthusiasm to his job, and he is always positive and upbeat. He has a booming laugh that everyone loves to hear.
What makes James successful as our Director is the fact that he is not interested in titles. On any given day he is willing to do whatever is necessary. He frequently helps customers who drop off paper to be shredded. Usually they have no idea that they are interacting with the person who is in charge. If needed, James will drive one of our trucks into the community to pick up data to be destroyed. He has worked side by side with David tearing down our machinery to perform maintenance or to repair them. He will mop the floor, tackle plumbing issues, pick up trash and literally anything else that has to be done.
But no matter how busy he is, he will always stop what he is doing and give you his undivided attention. If you have a problem or concern, his door is open, and he listens attentively. In meetings he is more than willing to hear your ideas and suggestions. He is interested in knowing all of the possible options so that he can choose the most effective course of action. And no matter what decision is reached, he is willing to stand by it and accept responsibility.
James makes everyone around him better because they see how much he demands of himself. He truly leads by example.
It is difficult to imagine the Meadows without these three people. Together they have a combined work experience at our facility of almost 50 years. Because they each play an indispensable role, they are integral parts of our company’s success. Our organization functions at the highest possible level because of the passion these individuals have for our mission of providing employment and vocational training to adults with developmental disabilities.
But to just say that they are each dedicated to their work is a gross understatement. Both David and Amy have suffered significant injuries in the course of their jobs. However, neither one of them considered going to work somewhere else. Both returned to their positions as soon as they recovered, and they have never slowed down. Their commitment is total and complete because they care deeply about the men and women we employ.
Our management team is proof that true leadership is not conveyed by words but through actions. Individually they assume great responsibility in the running of a thriving business, while collectively their efforts clearly demonstrate what can be accomplished when people come together to work selflessly for a life changing cause they believe in.
James, David and Amy are all here for the same reason. To them this is not just a job, it is a calling. They each believe that people with developmental disabilities have the right to be employed, and each day they act on that belief by doing everything they possibly can to create a safe and supportive environment that allows our clients to achieve their potential.
Most organizations would be fortunate to have even one person of such high caliber – but the Meadows is blessed to have three.