The city of Plano hosted the annual Lex Frieden Employment Awards Wednesday evening in partnership with the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities. The Lex Frieden award – named for the disability rights activist and an architect of the Americans with Disabilities Act – recognized employers who offer a diverse and accessible workplace for residents of all abilities.
Axium Solar of Plano was one of seven employers honored for hiring men and women with varying disabilities. The Axium Solar team, which designs, sells and installs solar systems for commercial and residential properties, was recognized for consistently employing residents who are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Co-owner Derik Kendrick said that three years ago, the company hired its first hearing-impaired employee based on a recommendation from a longtime employee. (More here from this McKinney Courier-Gazette article written by Kelsey Samuels..)
Over the years, Axium has employed 12 deaf or hearing-impaired employees, about 17 percent of its total staff. When Kendrick accepted the award, he recognized Kevin Ruffin, Mike Plummer and Benjamin Lockwood, who helped change their hiring culture.
It’s worked out for Axium, Kendrick said, and other companies in the electric field should give it a try too. “Don’t be scared to let them in. Give anybody a job and let them prove themselves,” he said.