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. This is the second installment of the series with a focus on Vicky Hickok:
What is your title and one sentence job description here at MWEB? I'm the Administrative Manager. I have many roles at here at MWEB, but my biggest role is as a champion for people who are blind, specifically at MWEB and in the West Michigan area.
Why did you, personally, go on the trip to D.C.? I went to participate in the conference that was held by NIB and NAEPB. The conference brings the blind agencies from around the country together and celebrates the employees of the year from around the nation. I also went to thank our political representatives for their past support and champion our cause on the Hill along with representatives from the 100 plus agencies like ours from around the country. To be honest, I never thought that I would be doing work like this, being so vocal, but this is the role that I feel is the most important thing that I do at our agency: supporting our employees and their needs.
What was your role while you were in D.C.? I went to help oversee and support our team's efforts and to "champion", which included thanking political representatives, specifically from Michigan, for their support and bringing highlights/updates on what’s happening at MWEB. This was a very effective trip, maybe the most effective trip we’ve taken to date.
What was most impactful for you while you were on the trip? Getting the chance to give personal invitations to Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabbenow to tour our facility and celebrate our 25th anniversary of being in business was an honor. I was also impacted by the story of one of our team members and the difficulties he faced. It's always moving and motivating to hear about the specific hurdles individuals are facing, especially from someone I work with.
What are you taking back to your role at MWEB because of your time in D.C.? I've taken back a renewed passion to work hard in championing the cause of the legally blind employees who I work with here at MWEB.
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
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