Donna has been an extraordinary employee of Didlake for 30 years. She was one of the initial employees hired to support one of our first AbilityOne contracts in 1993. Flash forward nearly a quarter century, Donna once again had a key role in a major new initiative — document scanning.
Donna came to Didlake shortly after graduating high school. In her first role as a Mail Room Clerk for the Army National Guard Readiness Center, Donna sorted incoming mail; stamped outgoing mail; weighed packages and prepared FedEx and UPS shipments. She was promoted in 2006 to Supply Clerk. In this role, she coordinated all supply shipments that arrived at the loading dock. She verified and collected delivery receipts, sorted the supplies and distributed them to the customers who requested them.
“I liked working with supplies because I got to interact with everyone in the building. I learned how to interact with customers and how to work with computers,” Donna said.
In 2014, Donna was promoted again to General Clerk II and worked in the mailroom at the Army National Guard for the next year. In 2016, Richard Hightower, Director of Contract Operations, suggested to Donna that she consider a job in document scanning. At the time, Hightower was leading Didlake’s initiative to expand into the commercial market with document imaging and was familiar with Donna’s work at the Army National Guard since he oversaw the contract. Donna accepted a competitive employment position as a Document Preparer/Scanner and found herself once again at the forefront of a business transformation as Didlake launched Didlake Document Imaging (DDI).
“The skills Donna learned in her AbilityOne jobs, particularly as a Supply Clerk, prepared her well for the new opportunity,” Hightower said. “And, she keeps learning new skills. When she started at Didlake Document Imaging, she first learned document preparation, then scanning. Now she is working on microfiche, too. When Candie (her supervisor) isn’t there, Donna becomes the go-to person. She greets people at the door and accepts packages. She is self-sufficient and really takes ownership of her work.”
Donna has been integral as we grew DDI from the ground up, starting with a single contract and a desktop scanner. As Didlake expanded into photo scanning and invested in even more sophisticated equipment, including our latest purchase — a MACH7 microfiche scanner — Donna eagerly took on the new challenges and learned the new equipment.
“They’ve taught me the new microfiche machine because I wanted to do something different. I like to learn new things. Candie and I are working on it together. Learning the new microfiche is my favorite job so far,” Donna said.
Donna works with a Didlake Employment Specialist as needed to help with transitions, learning new responsibilities and answering any questions. Simple, natural accommodations have contributed to her success. For example, she works best with a consistent, detailed routine and visual versus verbal instructions for new tasks.
“If you show her how to do something, she is going to do it that way every single time. Donna is very reliable and accurate,” said Lindsay Crytzer, Employment Specialist III, Donna’s current job coach. “She has really taken on a mentor role. When any new employees come in, she helps them learn how to prep the documents, and they know they can go to her with any questions.”
Since starting with DDI, her supervisor Candie Kuehn, DDI Manager, says “Donna’s definitely become more independent. I fully trust her. If there is ever a time when I’m on vacation or out, she’s able to handle the business. She works with customers who come into the office for pickups and deliveries. It is a big responsibility to make sure she does everything right from prep work to scanning to QA (quality assurance) of her own work. She is here every day and has a positive attitude. She takes everything in stride and I’ve never heard her say, ‘I can’t do that.'”
Much like at the Army National Guard, Donna says her favorite thing about coming to work is “interacting with all of my co-workers.” Outside of work, Donna enjoys reading books and watching TV.