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EPI Becomes Five-Time Recipient of the Courier's Employers of Choice Award

posted on Thursday, September 9, 2021

Employees of Exceptional Persons, Inc., say the organization is one to be proud to work for as it cares and protects not only the people they support but every staff working for them.

"During the immense challenges brought on by the pandemic the focus of the agency around ensuring the safety and well-being of both staff and the population we serve was plainly obvious - and through it all the quality of service delivery remained second-to-none," says Ben Grimshaw, Program Manager. "I feel valued as an employee and recognize my role as part of a larger team pushing for change and overcoming obstacles as we work together to reach that vision of a future where all individuals are recognized as valued citizens living, working and growing within their community."

Teri Orr, Child Care Consultant Supervisor within Child Care Resource & Referral shared her sense of trust she felt as EPI navigated through the beginning of the pandemic.

"Flexibility and trust are the keywords that EPI upheld," she shared. "The CDC guidelines were communicated to employees weekly and they made sure our clients served were safe and continued to receive services safely."

Connie Munchoff, Staff Development Assistant, shared navigating through the pandemic has been a team effort.

"EPI was greatly affected, like so many places during the pandemic. We serve persons with disabilities who no longer could attend their day programs, couldn't see their family and friends, or go to work or shopping. Many had difficulty understanding the sudden change in the things that they enjoyed. Our staff stepped up to the plate and helped our persons served get through it while some of them learned new skills along the way," said Connie.

Not only did staff share their appreciation in how EPI has handled their response to the pandemic, but the support they feel and opportunities given for career advancement within the organization.

"Amidst 2020 challenges, an employee career ladder was launched to provide more upward movement and compensation," added Katie Bauman, Continuous Quality Improvement Auditor Coordinator.

Lori DeVries, Permanent Planning Inc. Coordinator, shares in her 30 years at EPI, they have continued to build values on employee growth and training.

"There are initial and on-going training requirements that help staff improve skills and confidence in their positions. Supervisors provide on-going feedback and encouragement to maximize employee growth, Lori shared."

"I started off as a Direct Support Professional and I immediately fell in love with the people I served and the support I received from my supervisor and co-workers. After about two years, I climbed up in the company - there is so much room for growth," shared Katelin Ginapp, now Intermittent Service Specialist.

EPI employs nearly 300 people to help provide top quality services – from services available to people with disabilities to services providing safe and enriching child care at the Hawkeye Child Development Center - ALC and a myriad of resources for parents and child care providers through our and Child Care Resource and Referral of Northeast Iowa.

“EPI offers staff a superb benefits package complete with Health, Dental and Vision insurance, 401K, life insurance, pet insurance, amazing vacation time and so much more.” shared Alissa Reed, Talent Recruiter and Retention Coordinator.

We as an agency are honored to be again selected for the 2021 Employers of Choice award. This is the fifth time EPI has received an Employer of Choice award and we do not take this title lightly.

Executive Director, Chris Sparks, remarked, "We are humbled that EPI staff nominated us for the Employer of Choice Award, and we are honored to receive it. Our staff are superstars, without a doubt. The pandemic has increased work and home life challenges exponentially and through it all our staff showed up, stepped up, and worked with their whole heart. I am inspired every day by how much our staff care about people with whom they work, and by how hard they work."

Exceptional Persons, Inc. would like to thank their dedicated team members for believing in our vision of working together we will realize a future where all people are recognized and valued - encouraged and supported to live, work, and grow - in their communities.