Today we were informed of some profoundly sad news of the passing of David Hammis. To many, he was a close friend, mentor, and inspiration. He has touched the lives of many in his career, and has selflessly worked to change the lives of so many people. Friends and colleagues reflect on how Dave never missed an opportunity to help someone through the Social Security maze, advocate for families, or point out hypocrisy and malfeasance…in always the kindest of ways. He was a true gentleman.
Professionally, David was Senior Partner at Griffin-Hammis Associates, a full service consultancy which specializes in building communities of economic cooperation, creating high performance organizations, and focused on disability and employment. David maintained an ongoing relationship with the Rural Institute at The University of Montana, where he served as Project Director for four employment and Social Security outreach training and technical assistance projects, and as an Organizational Consultant for the Rural Institutes Rural Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment Expansion Design Project.
His work in customized employment has spanned three decades, and he was personally responsible for the implementation of over 250 Plans for Achieving Self Support (PASS) leading to employment, self-employment, and personal resources for people with disabilities. He has developed over 175 jobs, including a significant number of entrepreneurial successes for individuals with severe and multiple disabilities. In July 1996, Dave received the International Association for Persons in Supported Employment Professional of the Year Award for his “Outstanding support and commitment to people with disabilities, especially in the areas of Career Development and the use of Social Security Work Incentives.”
Those who have had the opportunity to know and work with David have gained much from his expertise on benefits analysis, supported employment, supported entrepreneurial employment, and employment engineering. Though the field of customized employment has suffered a huge loss today, David’s wisdom and compassion have forever left an imprint in the hearts and minds of all who have had the honor to know and work alongside him. He will be missed.