This past summer Rod Sutton landed his dream job with Sodexo Canada. He was hired as a custodian at the Northern Sports Centre in Prince George, British Columbia. Rod connected with Sodexo through AimHi, a local organization that helps coach and counsel people with disabilities who are looking for meaningful work. Rod had tried a few other roles but the fit wasn’t right. However, at the sports centre, he found his groove.
“This is really my dream job,” says Rod. “My family is extremely proud of me and the work that I do. I come home with a smile on my face every day I work.”
Smiles also come easily to the team members who work with Rod. They like to joke around and have fun, while always ensuring their work is done on time and meets Sodexo’s rigorous standards. Rod works a lot of weekends and holidays and loves to meet people in the community who spend time playing sports.
“A lot of people recognize me for the work I do. That feels really good and makes me want to work even harder,” says Rod. “We all treat each other like we are members of the same team.”
The team’s leader, Gordon Jewsbury, recognizes the value of hiring people with disabilities. In fact, five of Gordon’s 30 employees have a disability and he plans to hire more. “There are some great community organizations that we are connecting with to help source people who want to work with us,” says Gordon. “I am a huge advocate of hiring people with disabilities because not only is it the right thing to do for our community, it is the right thing to do as an employer. Having Rod on our team makes us stronger.”
Gordon maintains close ties with organizations like AimHi and Ready Willing and Able. He is also a member of Sodexo Canada’s ADEPT (All Disabled Employees Posses Talent) committee and was recently named a Sodexo Gold Spirit Award winner for his dedication to working with people with disabilities.
According to Gordon, Rod is batting .500. He has never missed a day and is never late. In fact, he was often at work very early because of the bus schedule. As a result, the team adjusted his start time to accommodate his early arrival.
“Rod pays attention to detail and works very well with lists and written instructions,” says Gordon. “We have a list of duties for Rod every time he comes to work. He knows to start at the top, go through each duty one by one, and then to start at the top again when he is finished. Rod is always keeping himself busy.”
Rod was a little concerned when he was told that the keys he works with are quite valuable so he and his supervisor Lisa created a system to keep track of the keys to ensure they don’t get misplaced. “Lisa is awesome and very helpful,” says Rod. “If I need to ask a question I just text her and she answers me right away.”
Rod was also smiling recently when he was selected to be profiled in the local newspaper The Prince George Daily News.
“People in the community recognize me from the article and often congratulate me on doing a great job. It makes me smile.”