WorkQuest (formerly TIBH Industries, Inc.) celebrated 40 years of providing employment opportunities for Texans with disabilities during its 11th annual Artie Lee Hinds Award dinner in Austin in September. Nearly 400 attendees, including award nominees and their families and friends, as well as WorkQuest board members and employees, gathered to recognize WorkQuest, its community rehabilitation program (CRP) partners and dedicated employees for their commitment to the Texas State Use WorksWonders Program.
During the dinner, WorkQuest presented several awards to employees in recognition of their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm for their jobs. Armando Perez of PCSI, Inc. received the Most Inspirational Employee Award, while Arnold Joiner of Marian Moss Enterprises received the Most Motivational Employee Award.
WorkQuest also presented this year’s Spirit of State Use Awards to Milton Turnipseed, Randy Bassett and Jerry Mayfield for their tireless work to ensure the success of the WorksWonders Program and those it serves. Turnipseed joined WorkQuest as the product research and development manager, and he also oversaw the opening of WorkQuest’s Central Store and the development of affiliate State Use programs. Bassett began his career with WorkQuest in 1998 and continued to work there part-time after his retirement. Mayfield, the executive director of Travis Association for the Blind, has been an instrumental advocate of the State Use Program for 40 years.
Motivational speaker and author, Derek Clark, a survivor of severe child abuse, abandonment and 13 years in the foster care system, shared his emotional story of resilience during the evening’s keynote address. Clark gained national attention on social media after his inspirational rap generated more than 225 million views, earning him the nickname, the “Rapping Dad.” Clark uses his platform to travel the world, sharing his story in hopes of inspiring others to overcome personal obstacles in order to gain self-confidence and a sense of purpose.
Following his presentation, which included an impromptu rap performance, WorkQuest recognized the Top 10 customers who purchase products, services and temporary employment services through the WorksWonders Program. These customers include multiple state, city and county agencies and organizations.
Throughout the event, attendees viewed videos showcasing the standout employees recognized during the program, including Perez and Joiner, as well as the recipient of the pinnacle honor of the evening, the 2018 Artie Lee Hinds Award, which was presented to Marilyn Parsons of the West Texas Lighthouse for the Blind. She was recognized for her leadership, perseverance, dedicated service and commitment to excellence in her job at the Lighthouse, where she is a cherished employee and role model.
The evening concluded with the unveiling of WorkQuest’s new name, logo and tagline. Marie Richter, WorkQuest’s director of Administration, announced the change to those in attendance, along with the organization’s vision for an even more prosperous future.
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend this year’s event. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.