Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities presents award to College of Veterinary Medicine
For Immediate Release
Jim Schwartz, Communications Office, Minnesota Department of Administration, email@example.com, 651-201-2558
Sue Kirchoff, College of Veterinary Medicine, firstname.lastname@example.org, 612-624-3781
Veterinary Medical Center singled out as innovative employer
|ST. PAUL (October 1, 2008) - Brian Rodrigues’ wide grin may be one reason his supervisors describe his performance as “service with a smile,” but it certainly is not the only one. A member of the Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) barn crew since October 2007, Rodrigues looks the part in his steel-toed boots, straight-leg jeans, plaid flannel shirt, and John Deere baseball cap. The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) recently honored the lanky 29-year-old along with his supervisor Sergio Gonzales and the VMC.
GCDD recognized 10 innovative employers at its Oct. 1 meeting held on the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus. The council chose the featured employers from 45 nominations based on two main selection criteria: the employer must provide direct employment to an employee with a developmental disability; and the position must be a permanent year-round job.
Sergio Gonzales, Brian Rodrigues, and Sheryl Ferguson at the University of Minnesota Equine Center
“Brian is a pleaser,” says Sheryl Ferguson, VMC manager. “He is service with a smile. We are very pleased to have him as an employee and we are honored to have been chosen as an innovative employer by the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities."
Rodrigues also couldn’t be more pleased, both with the recognition and with his position as a member of the barn crew. Landing a position with the University of Minnesota is no easy feat, but Rodrigues had a proven foot in the door when the barn crew position opened up. He began his work at the University in July 2000, but all of his positions were either temporary or seasonal. And all were orchestrated by Merrick, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing those with developmental disabilities employment networking opportunities. When Ellen Otto of Merrick found out that the VMC was opening its new Equine Center, she knew Rodrigues would be perfect for the job because of his love of farm animals.
“Brian helps me a lot,” says Sergio Gonzales, who supervises a crew of 22 workers who clean and disinfect stalls as well as feed and exercise animals. Typically veterinary students, who are limited in the number of daytime hours they can work, fill barn crew positions. “Brian fills the gap between shifts when the students are in classes,” Gonzalez notes. “He’s my right hand.”
Rodrigues says he does not favor one species of large animal over another, and he finds barn crew work more exciting than the duties he had at his previous positions. “I know some about bulls,” Rodrigues says. “I used to bull ride with my friends.” That was in high school, but it gives him plenty to talk about with Gonzales, who is a top-10 bull rider from Guatemala.
The College of Veterinary Medicine improves the health and well-being of animals and people by providing high-quality veterinary training, conducting leading-edge research, and delivering innovative veterinary services.