In February 2021, Tom celebrated his 1-year anniversary at DeKeyser Construction, a family-owned business that has been in the Green Bay community for 54 years!
Tom graduated high school and went right into a pre-vocational program through Brown County ARC, now known as Aspiro. Tom worked at Aspiro for 35 years where he learned work skills and performed a variety of jobs that he was very successful at. Throughout his time at Aspiro, Tom left and tried out various jobs in the community where he was able to gain even more experience but decided to continue working at the production facility.
In February of 2019, Tom learned that Aspiro was planning to close their facility-based prevocational workshop and that he would need to consider other employment options. DeKeyser owner, Kurt DeKeyser, worked with Tom years ago at a job washing and detailing cars. Kurt saw that Tom did a good job with his work and just needed certain supports in order to be successful. Tom’s brother is a customer of Kurt’s and mentioned that Tom would be looking for a job. Knowing Tom’s work ethic, Kurt quickly offered Tom an opportunity to work for him!
Tom now works part-time and is responsible for cleaning the interior and exterior of the company dump trucks, vans, and machinery. Tom also maintains the wash bay area along with various cleaning and stocking duties. Aspiro provided job coaching support to begin with to ensure Tom understood the duties but was only at the work site for the first week before fading and providing check-ins for another few months to make sure the job continued to be a good fit.
Kurt explains that they soon learned that Tom is most successful when given a few verbal directions at a time and does best following a written check list to keep on task. Kurt and the team provide Tom with direction on what needs to be done which Tom gladly does and enjoys. Kurt also learned that Tom is motivated by positive feedback from the team!
Kurt shares that every morning when Tom arrives, he is always upbeat and makes a point to go around and say hello to everyone. He really brings the spirit up in the office. Tom fits in well with the culture at DeKeyser and is well-liked by the other employees.
“Life is a lot better now” Tom says when asked how he likes his job, “I’m happier, making more money, I like what I do, and I like my coworkers.” Tom shares that he feels he is successful at DeKeyser because of his coworkers and because he is in a job that allows him to be detailed with his work.
Tom’s story teaches us that sometimes getting outside of our own comfort zone can lead to opportunities that will make you happier than you could have imagined. Tom is proof that it’s never too late to start on a new career path and to find your true purpose.