John Seibert is an outdoorsman who prefers a job where he can use his hands and work independently.
John started working for Comfort Suites in Redmond in February 2016 as a preventive maintenance worker. His job is to inspect 30 rooms per month and keep the rooms in excellent working condition.
On any given day, John may be painting a scraped wall, tightening a loose hair dryer wall fixture, or repairing a squeaky chair.
Before he started working at Comfort Suites, John worked for Opportunity Foundation of Central Oregon in both small group enclaves as well as in the provider’s now-closed sheltered workshop. Opportunity Foundation has received grants from DHS to transform its business model to provide community-based employment services. John, who experiences an intellectual disability, is one of Opportunity Foundation’s early successes, and he is thriving in a full-time community job.
Comfort Suites General Manager Paul Haggerty said John took skills assessment to see what kind of work would be a good fit. John’s previous positions with Opportunity Foundation included a sawmill, maintenance and grounds keeping work, so it was clear he liked working with his hands.
“This job has been a good challenge for him,” Paul said. “He likes taking things apart and figuring out what’s wrong with it and how he can fix it.”
Comfort Suites is part of the Choice Hotel chain and the company has strict protocol for keeping rooms clean and in working order. In addition to inspecting and repairing rooms, John also helps keep the pool in order and checks chemical content.
John, 30, won employee of the month in his first year at his job. He lives independently and rides his bicycle to work each day. John is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing with his family in his free time.
“I like having my weekends off to go hunting,” he said, grinning. “I don’t like to ask anybody to do anything for me. I like to figure things out myself if I can.”
John started at 6.5 hours, four days per week, but now works 40 hours per week.
“I wouldn’t change John for anything,” Paul said. “He brings patience and understanding to a busy workplace. He’s an excellent example of how we all should be.”
John works independently but has a close relationship with coworker David Gibson, who is the other preventive maintenance worker at the hotel. David said other workers who held the position in the past did not have the same can-do attitude as John.
“He has been an absolute blessing to this company,” David said. “He is here on time and does anything that is asked of him. We need more people like John in the workforce.”
Cheryl Morrow from Opportunity Foundation of Central Oregon provides job coaching. His personal agent is Sara Rizzo. Cortney Gibson was the VR I/DD specialist counselor for John. Jill Hannemann was the benefits counselor from Work Incentives Network/Abilitree.
View a video testimonial of Comfort Suites of Redmond.
View a photo slideshow of John at work.