As you walk around FedEx Ground you may hear, “Hey buddy! How’s it going, buddy!? Look who is here! Have you met my staff from CIP?” These are common phrases that Mark Whitmore says to his co-workers on a daily basis. Mark’s positive attitude is infectious and his co-workers admire this about him. He is always the first one to say hello, ask how your day is going or tell you to have the best day ever. Each time his Employment Consultant comes into FedEx, he wants to make sure everyone that passes has met them. He makes everyone feel welcome and part of the FedEx team. Mark brings positive energy to his work and it does not go unnoticed. Mark is described by his co-workers as a very strong, hardworking individual.
Mark first came to CIP in 1998 and participated in Community Engagement Services. While he enjoyed these services Mark wanted paid work and decided to make the change to a sheltered workshop with a different provider, closer to home. Then in January of 2017, Mark wanted more than sub-minimum wage and wanted a real job outside of the service provider. Mark came back to CIP in the Supported Employment Services, knowing that it may take a little longer to find a good fit job with good natural supports. Mark lives on a hobby farm and has a passion for physical labor. In order for Mark to be successful in his employment journey, his previous Employment Consultant, Alyson, knew she would have to find a job that would reflect his skills and interests, she found this at FedEx Ground! Mark is a package handler at FedEx Ground in Maple Grove and absolutely loves his job.Have you ever wondered how your packages end up on your front door? Mark is an essential part of that process. He is responsible for unloading the FedEx trucks and some days may unload up to two or three trucks, in a 4-hour shift. That’s a lot of packages and most importantly a lot of labor-intensive work! On Mark’s first day, he was assigned to unload one truck with a trainer and as soon as the first truck was complete he was walking toward the next truck and wanted to do more. Mark is now able to work independently in the trucks and unload them by himself…but it doesn’t stop there, he is also learning new skills and when needed he separates the plastic packages from the cardboard boxes that come down the conveyer belt.
When asked what his favorite thing about his job is Mark responded, “I love the money you know, I get a really big paycheck every week!” You can tell Mark values his job and his team, “Everyone is so nice and we help each other out. They are my buddies.” His managers always have very positive feedback for Mark and always comment on how hard of a worker he is.
Working as Mark’s Employment Consultant has been an absolute joy. He is valued as an employee and makes contributions that are showcased each and every day. It has been amazing watching Mark grow within his position, in such a short time and be able to use his skills. His infectious smile, laugh, work ethic and positive attitude are contagious. Often times, Mark will thank me for getting this job for him but in reality, Mark did this all himself. His hard work has paid off and he is working in an environment where he can be naturally supported and successful. Mark is someone that makes me want to do better. Thank you, Mark!
Author and photo credits: Molly Palm, Employment Consultant