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 third installment of the series with a focus on R.J. Dulin:
What is your title and one sentence job description here at MWEB?
I’m the Shipping Clerk for the past two and a half years, which includes many responsibilities, but the main one is the day to day shipping. Our products go across the country and around the world. Accurate, on time fulfilment is critical.
Why did you, personally, go on the trip to D.C.?
I went as the MWEB Employee of the Year. Our employee of the year is nominated by top management. After receiving that honor, I was also nominated for consideration for the National Industries for the Blind employee of the year.
What was your experience at the conference?
There were so many people at the conference! I had no idea how many other companies exist like ours, but it was impressive. My time there was inspiring. I was surrounded by legally blind people from all over the nation who are not only employed, but are making a lasting impact in their agencies and their cities.
What was your role while you were in D.C. beyond employee of the year?
I was representing MidWest Enterprises for the Blind. On the Hill I was able to put a personal face to our community’s larger story and share my personal struggles as a legally blind man. There were a lot of different emotions that came with sharing my story even though I’ve been sharing in different arenas for a while; this experience was unique. I liked talking to the politicians and their staffers, it seemed like they were really focusing on what I had to say and felt like they really cared.
What was most impactful for you while you were on the trip?
Experiencing so many other legally blind people was awesome. Hearing their personal stories and what they’re to impact their organizations and cities was inspiring.
What are you taking back to your role at MWEB because of your time in D.C.?
I really liked to share my story and help to put a face to the stories that people have heard in the past. I want to do more for our Kalamazoo and West Michigan community, specifically with the legally blind.
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