Inclusive Business Practices "Pay Off" for ATM Machine Systems
COLUMBUS, OH (October 14, 2008) - AMT Machine Systems, a recognized leader in control systems engineering and product development, has teamed up with Pearl Interactive Network employee Jerry Hypes, a seasoned sales professional who happens to be blind. Thanks to Hypes' more than 35 years of experience in retail, industrial sales and manufacturing-as well as assistive technology which provides the accommodations he needs to accomplish his workload-Hypes has helped AMT Machine Systems achieve 10% of its sales goal so far, with another 15-20% of prospects in the pipeline for closing.
Hypes began working with AMT Machine Systems as an employee of Pearl Interactive Network-a business process outsourcing company that taps a workforce of people with challenges including veterans, people with disabilities, mature workers and military spouses. Hypes was referred to Pearl Interactive Network by Vision & Vocational Services, a nonprofit rehabilitation center helping people with visual and other disabilities find and maintain employment. Vision & Vocational Services' job development staff help connect people like Hypes to employment opportunities; in this case, Pearl Interactive Network's position with AMT Machine Systems.
All of Pearl Interactive Network's agents are home-based, using assistive technologies such as JAWSTM, a screen reading program, and Dragon DictateTM, speech recognition software, to communicate over the phone and Internet from offices in their homes. Says Pearl Interactive Network owner Merry Korn, "While we employ people with challenges, our agents are hired because of the skills they bring to the job."
When Joe Bioty, president of AMT Machine Systems, first met with Korn to discuss how to best position his company to reach challenging sales goals while minimizing overhead, he had no idea how beneficial it would be to hire a person with a disability. Since Hypes started working on AMT MachineSystems' accounts, Bioty has been thrilled with the results. "Due to Jerry's efforts," Bioty reports, "our financial goals are right on track. I hope my peers in the industry can realize the results and benefits we've been able to achieve."
Hypes lost his sight seven years ago due to complications from diabetes; his employer at the time had suggested Hypes start learning to enjoy retirement. Hypes was not ready to retire, but found the reception among prospective employers to be discouraging. "What I was not aware of," explained Hypes, "was the perception that most employers have. They seem to believe that the only people who can perform meaningful tasks are those who have all their functioning body parts. It took me several years to find someone who wouldn't hang up on me, throw my resume away, or have an unexpected ‘emergency' when I arrived for a scheduled interview." In fact, the National Association of People with Disabilities estimates that people with disabilities have, at best, only a 35% rate of employment; for those who are blind, this number drops to 15%.
Frustrated, Hypes contacted a counselor at the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission who referred him to Vision & Vocational Services, where a job developer connected Hypes to Pearl Interactive Network, as well as the technology he would need to get started. The rest, as they say, is history. "AMT Machine Systems, Pearl Interactive Network and Vision & Vocational Services gave me the opportunity to use assistive technology to do my job. The satisfaction I feel now is difficult to put into words. I feel like a useful person again."
AMT Machine Systems is grateful to have played a part in Hypes' success. Says company president Bioty, "Our company is ecstatic, not just with Jerry's results for our business, but with the fact that we provided an opportunity for this experienced, deserving individual."
AMT Machine Systems Inc., a privately held Ohio company and a leading provider of motion control equipment, is an established developer, innovator and manufacturer of simplified embedded robotic components and systems for a $28 billion automation industry.