Our Public Policy Team recently went to Washington D.C. to champion the rights and needs of the blind community as well as attend the National Symposium. In this series, we'll be hearing from the team on their efforts and the impact of the trip. We start by highlighting Misty Stenberg, winner of the Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award in 2017 and cover story of Opportunity Magazine Spring of 2016:
What is your role at MidWest Enterprises for the Blind?
My title is Administrative Assistant, but my job encompasses quite a bit more than my title may imply. My job at MWEB is to assist Vicky Hickok, our Administrative Manager, provide quality customer service, provide IT solutions for our employees, and to advocate through Public Policy for people who are blind.
What was your role while you were in D.C.?
My role in D.C. was to represent MWEB and our employees as Public Policy Liaison.
What was your motivation while you were in D.C. and at the National Symposium?
I went to Washington D.C. to meet with our Congressional leaders and advocate for people who are blind. The National Symposium provides vital training on current issues that affect the AbilityOne Program, associated agencies, and most importantly people who are blind or visually impaired. Meeting with our own Michigan members of Congress and their staffers was vital in our efforts to bring awareness to current issues, follow up on recent issues, and to build on our relationships with them.
What was most impactful for you while you were on the trip?
Working together as a team to bring awareness to current issues that are facing our agency (MWEB) and the people who work here.
What are you taking back to your role at MWEB because of your time in D.C.?
I am taking the energy and the drive back to MWEB from the National Symposium and the people there. When we get together with other agencies, advocates, and the public policy team at NIB it really re-energizes me and reinforces the importance and impact of everything that we do to educate and bring awareness.
MidWest Enterprises for the Blind specializes in subcontracting, throughput reduction, lead time reduction, and cost reduction. Our specialties include kitting, packaging, assembly, warehousing and distribution. We are a 501C3 (Not for Profit Organization) and by partnering with us companies add value to the community by providing labor hours for people who are blind. Similar companies in our field include MRC Industries and Goodwill. We do all of this with our up to date ISO 2015 Certification.
MWEB is more than just a job, it’s a community. A place where no idea is too big or too small and there is always someone to help out. You can feel the mission of the company in all that it does and as a member of the team it’s very satisfying. Everyone here is expanding their skills through production efficiency, learning new jobs, and continuing their education.
The company really turns the mission into a reality by providing not just skills and work for employees, but a quality product for customers as well.Gage Campbell, Quality Coordinator
Our mission is to find work and employ blind individuals so that they can become economically independent. The people we employ want to work, be independent and earn their way. But people should know that we are also a manufacturing facility that focuses on quality. We’re ISO certified and customer-focused.Glen Mackey, VP of Operations
My passion is helping people and that's exactly what MWEB is all about. From employing members of the blind community to serving our customers, I couldn't ask for a better place to work.
Jonathan Kraker, VP of Marketing and Business Development
Working here is exciting, because I was able to take my degree and put it to use. The company provided an opportunity to go to DC to participate in National Industries for the Blind’s Public Policy Forum. I meet legislators and advocate for people who are blind. Being a champion for people who are blind has really sparked my interest.
It’s a wonderful investment that the company has made, where employees can learn lifelong skills that they can use in their personal lives, and also apply to their profession.Misty Stenberg, Public Policy Liaison
I believe in what this company provides. Our mission, to provide employment to people who are blind, and to provide quality products and services to our customers, are what motivate me.
I’m proud of working with such great people.Vicky Hickok, Administrative Manager
Our mission statement is to employ people who are blind, but it’s so much more than that. We are giving people an opportunity, that they can not only work and have their independence, but they can also grow and equip themselves. This company will help people develop skills, even if they want to move on to other employment.
When losing my vision, I felt that my options were being narrowed, but MWEB was a new beginning.William Drain, Business Development Coordinator