September 2015 – Ring the Bell

Congratulations to our Ring the Bell winners for September!

Community Partner

IMG_20150811_125719Thank you to Becky Day and Becki Baker this month for nominating Van Hees Environmental LLC (VHE) as our Community Partner Ring the Bell recipient. VHE serves Okanogan County and is dedicated to implementing effective and sustainable restoration projects which benefit the aquatic environment.  VHE offers a full range of support staff and services that include engineering, GIS, and technical writing capabilities.

Van Hees Envionmental LLC has partnered with Career Path Services since October 2014 when they employed a Bureau of Reclamation long term volunteer. They work alongside the US Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation.

By rewarding the hard work of an individual who contributed to their organization with the offer of a paid position, VHE stands out as a leader in the capacity of seeing a person’s ability, not their disability.  They embrace diversity and work to find ways to come together, not only within their work life but also on a personal level by including everyone in functions including outside of work.

Ron Gross of VHE is a Cartographic Technician and goes out in the field to study and gather facts and figures of our rivers, streams, and reservoirs. On many occasions, he requires another person to go with him and will take his office-field assistant Brooke.  Sometimes she has trouble getting in and out of a car, so he brings a light weight ladder to accommodate.  He also brings a chair for her to sit in while they work, as it is sometimes hard for her to stand for long periods of time.

Ron believes in teaching and loves nature.  One day, he asked Brooke to come with him to measure water levels at the reservoir near Pearrygin Lake close to Winthrop .  She was suited up in her safety gear (hard hat, safety goggles, safety vest and work boots).  He brought his power tools and put Brooke to work, not seeing that she is someone with Downs Syndrome, but a co-worker just getting the job done. They needed to cut a hole in the top of a deck that sat upon the water and then put a long ruler down into the water to measure the water tables.

After Ron cut the hole and opened up the deck, he showed Brooke how to insert the ruler into the water, explained about how they will monitor the water levels and ultimately help preserve fish populations in the lake. He also taught her how to run the drill to secure the deck top and had her screw the  top back in place. Brooke was so excited to be a part of this exciting event, and happy to help.

This story is just one of many at Van Hees Envionmental. On behalf of our clients, we would like to thank the whole team at Van Hees Environmental and US Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation for embracing diversity in the workplace.


esparza-martin-hildaHilda Esparza-Martin has been an integral part of the DD/DVR Division team since April of 2014. Working in the Omak office, she not only serves as the first face our customers see, but also works behind the scenes to support the division. Hilda oversees the billing processes for our DDA programs. This is a huge undertaking that includes reviewing all employees’ case notes, clients’ pay stubs, and verifying that all hours billed are accurately coded. She is very knowledgeable about these processes and the coding involved and works closing with staff to help them to better learn the database and billing processes so that they can be more efficient.

She is always eager and willing to help any of the offices with vouchers, supply orders, spreadsheets to use for tracking, or any other items. She is bi-lingual and willing to assist any staff with translation needs in the Division. In addition to the administrative support she provides, she is always willing to step in and help with clients when needed, whether that’s to develop a new resume, assist on a community access outing, or coordinate a schedule. She appreciates her co-workers and enjoys giving out “prizes” for perfect billing and other awards.

Words used to describe Hilda by team members include wonderful, responsive, detailed, organized, meticulous, “quiet, but packed with humor”, caring, compassionate, awesome, systematic, helpful, and selfless.  Hilda, thank you for being the glue that holds us all together!

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