“Early on, we discovered Ramon’s talent for making boxes and making them quickly,” says Matt Weiss, Distribution Manager of HP Operations at PRIDE Industries. “The fact is, folding boxes isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are a lot of complex folds—it can be pretty confounding.”
According to Scott Lacey, Director of Production Operations for PRIDE Industries, Ramon is so fast and accurate in making and filling boxes that it takes two or three people to fill his shoes when he’s absent.
“The way Ramon moves, the fluidity of what he does—how he knows which materials will fit which cubic volume—it’s a very fast process,” says Scott. “He thinks fast. He moves fast. And he moves things through the operations so efficiently that there’s no backup. He’s one of those people that, when he’s not here, you know it.”
According to Scott, when an incredibly high amount of volume flows through, Ramon’s speed and accuracy enable us to keep operations flowing smoothly. And he achieves this high level of performance even though—like most employees at PRIDE Industries—he has a disability that once made it difficult for him to find work.
Resilience at Work
At the young age of ten, Ramon was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After multiple surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments, the tumor subsided. However, the battle cost Ramon much of his teen years. It also took away his sight in his right eye.
“My left eye is okay, but the right one … I cannot see with it,” says Ramon.
Years later, after his family relocated from Mexico to the United States, Ramon found employment in the fast-food industry. However, he was unable to see the order boards and had to leave that line of work. Then in 2004, he found his way to PRIDE Industries—where, after demonstrating his skill and commitment, he was offered a permanent position in 2007. Since then, he’s continued to be an outstanding employee at our HP Operations Facility in Lincoln, Calif.
Employing People with Disabilities Makes Sense
Ramon’s story proves what the job coaches at PRIDE Industries see every day—people with disabilities have as much to contribute to the workplace as anyone else. In fact, people with disabilities consistently boast impressive statistics when it comes to employment, including higher retention rates and lower absenteeism than average.
As for Ramon, he embodies these traits—not only on the shipping floor, but also in the classroom and beyond it. Once he accepted his position with PRIDE Industries in 2007, he was determined to effectively communicate with coworkers, so he studied conversational English at night school—while employed full time. He then took the citizenship test and passed, becoming a United States citizen the same year.
Ramon’s employment story wouldn’t be complete without one additional element: travel time. Due to his vision loss, Ramon can’t drive. So, he relies on public transportation. Although he lives only 15 minutes, as the crow flies, from his workplace, the journey can take up to three hours a day—including time spent transferring from one bus to another. Yet, to Ramon, the journey is worth it because, in the end, he arrives at a place where his extraordinary talents are fully appreciated.
Tenacity. Dedication. Skill. And a great attitude. An employer couldn’t ask for more, and that’s what Ramon delivers every day.