Recognizing Suzanne Byers for 10 years at TVS

Recognizing Suzanne Byers for 10 years at TVS

“Be kind and don’t sweat the small stuff” are the words of wisdom from Suzanne Byers as she reflects back on her decade at Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS). Her 10 years of dedicated service are decorated with glittering smiles, paint, and colored construction paper, as she has assisted with the TVS programs growth into the services we have today.

In 2010, Suzanne Byers was hired as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) to help participants build boxes on the production floor. As the programs have grown and evolved to meet North Carolina standards, so has Suzanne. “When production would be slow, program participants moved into the training room to spend some time on education,” she said. Some of the topics included counting money and eating healthy. They also worked on writing emails to “E-buddies” online.

It was past CEO and Suzanne’s Aunt-in-Law, Nancy Stricker, that suggested that she apply as a DSP in 2010. “It is impossible to believe that 10 years have flown by since she was hired,” said Nancy. “I am so proud of Suzanne. I know she is following her heart and that she will continue the important work she continues to excel in.”

In 2012, Suzanne was promoted to the Activities Coordinator for INTERACT and Life Skills; while also assisting with respite every weekend for three years. She was promoted again in 2017 to her current position as Life Sills supervisor.

Prior to TVS, Suzanne had various jobs, including working at the Boys and Girls Club and as an interim K-12 teacher in Transylvania County. Suzanne attended Brevard College and graduated in 2004 with a double major in Art and English. The following year she achieved her certification in K-12 Education, however Transylvania County Schools did not have any open job positions.

“Her practice of active listening allows her to align regulations and human need together,” Nancy said. “Suzanne’s personal creativity assures that individual participants can do the things they want to do, while experiencing and exploring their interests.”

Suzanne is described by her peers as kind, compassionate, quiet, and an advocate for individuals with disabilities.

“I really appreciate all the good times we have together, Suzanne really builds comradery amongst the team,” said Jonathan Coggins, Life Skills DSP. “She cracks jokes with us and makes us all laugh.”

 

Outside work, Suzanne can be found spending time with her husband, Sheridan, and their two children; Ellis and Cullen. She loves hiking and running, being in nature, and reading.

“She is a veracious reader,” Nancy said with a laugh. “Therefore, the joke in our family is that you NEVER want to play Trivial Pursuit with her, unless you don’t mind humiliation.”

Suzanne is a member of the TVS book club and has helped organize past TVS events such as group participation in the Brevard Rotary Club 5K runs.

“She is a team player and is always willing to organize larger TVS events,” Program Director Carla Hill said. “She uses art as a medium and our participants respond positively and enjoy this type of self-expression.”

Carla has been Suzanne’s supervisor for the past seven years. “I remember Suzanne helping participants make individual videos that demonstrated a specific area that they were passionate about,” Carla recalls. The project allowed the participants to develop better communication skills, organizational skills, and presentation skills, while also receiving praise from their peers and others in the room.

Suzanne works to help individuals express themselves so that their individuals’ voices are heard.

“From this career, I have become more aware of the different abilities and of the hidden disabilities,” Suzanne said. “People are people, there are no walls built around them like society portrays and you really start to see that when you work with them every day.”

Thinking back on her career at TVS, Suzanne says, “I have more compassion for the person and care less about what people around me think. I am looking forward to continue growing our programs in whatever fluid direction they take.”

Written by Jenifer Welch

Joshua “Living the Dream” Smith — Quality Technician

Joshua “Living the Dream” Smith — Quality Technician

Featured employee Joshua Smith quality checks a Super Cereal Plus bag.

“It is a family-oriented business, I love what they offer to individuals with disabilities. This is especially important to me since I have a child with autism.”

Featured employee Joshua Smith quality checks a Super Cereal Plus bag.
  • Graduated from Rosman High School in 2010
  • Started at TVS in May 2018
  • First job at TVS: Quality Technician (level 1)
  • Quality Technician (level 2), in a nut shell: “Making sure lot codes are correct and upholding the integrity of our bags and products. It has a lot of paperwork and organization but it guarantees that the equipment is working correctly and that the products are safe.”
  • Why Quality? “I knew I wanted to work in quality because of paperwork skills and I knew that TVS was a great place to work because my Mother-In-Law used to work here.”
  • Career goals? “Continue moving forward in the company by first becoming a level 3 Quality Technician and be able to provide for my family.”
  • Previous Work Experience: Gaia Herbs in Shipping and Receiving and as a Liner Accelerator Tech and Press Tech.
  • Favorite part about working at TVS? “The people are one of the best parts. I am a social butterfly, I love talking to everyone especially coworkers and INTERACT participants.”
  • Favorite TVS memory? “I am currently enjoying coaching the TVS Softball team and I also really have enjoyed past company picnics.”
Happy Holidays TVS family

Happy Holidays TVS family

From the end of November to the New Year, TVS celebrates the festive holidays. This year, TVS celebrated Thanksmas, a combination of Thanksgiving and Christmas on December 5. Thanksmas was a Christmas pajama party brunch for employees.

Thanksmas brunch was catered by the Cracker Barrel and included pancakes, bacon, and biscuits and gravy. All shifts TVS employees and program participants were invited to the brunch and the TVS Leadership team served the meal.

Christmas music was played and employees were given name tags with holiday generated names such as Fancy Sugargiggles, Bubbles Fairytree, and Tinsel Everglitter.

During the brunch, employees were able to play BINGO, an emoji Christmas Movie Scramble, and could participant in a holiday themed scavenger hunt around the cafetoria. Prizes were given out to the first few winners of each game.

The holiday cheer did not end there, on the last day of work before Christmas, December 23, employees were asked to wear their best ugly Christmas sweaters. The holiday cheer was tacky and visible throughout the building.

Happy New Year to all TVS employees!

 

Written by Jenifer Welch

Celebrating a decade with Robbie Wright

Celebrating a decade with Robbie Wright

“You have no idea what heaven smells like until you walk into the warehouse when it is full of gummy bears,” said Robbie Wright. After 10 consecutive years at TVS, Robbie would know better than anyone what different aromas have filled the warehouse, especially since he has been filling the warehouse with a variety of different packages on numerous occasions.

Robbie works in Shipping and Receiving as a Material Handler but has worked many other jobs including the blending room, hanging bags, and on third shift in sanitation. Recently, Robbie has moved onto the second shift in shipping and receiving.

“Let me put it this way,” said Shipping and Receiving Warehouse Manager Shannon Merrill. “If he worked anywhere else he would be above expectations. He sets the bar high.”

A decade at TVS is not the entire story, Robbie first worked at TVS in the 90s.

“He worked steady and hard and he quickly became someone we could all depend on,” said friend and former Warehouse Manager Deborah Hall. “Watching him grow into his job and role was so rewarding, but watching his growth as an individual was such a blessing. He came out of his shell and gained confidence in himself.”

COO Becky Alderman also remembers Robbie from his warehouse days describing him as a hard worker and dependable. “I first met Robbie when he was young,” Becky said. “He has always been an amazing employee. He is unfailingly polite and you can always count on him.”

 

In between his times at TVS, Robbie worked as an Over-the-Road (OTR) truck driver traveling across the United States. However, he was laid off in 2008 while home for the holidays.

“My favorite job at TVS is driving the truck,” said Robbie. “You work your butt off loading the truck and then you get in the truck and it is like your own little office with a radio and air conditioning.”

 

“Robbie is a good worker,” said friend and Material Handler Archie Harris. “He also likes to have a good time and joke around.”

Robbie has always had a reputation as a trickster. “I remember us all finding out Robbie had a sense of humor and that he could be a bit mischievous from time to time like hiding things from the warehouse manager,” Deborah said.

“I brought a shock pen to work one time,” said Robbie. “It was funny when people asked to use it.” Even Archie agreed saying, “it was funny to watch people jump when they got ahold of it.”

 

His jokes do not end there, they also include scaring his coworker and friend Jamie Rigsby with bats and a stink spray that smells like a bathroom. Other stories, that can not be listed here, are told with laughs and a smile.

All jokes aside, Robbie is described by peers as; loyal, quiet, head tough, and as being a gentle giant.

“He is a model of consistency and has an unwavering commitment to TVS that is simply remarkable,” CEO Jamie Brandenburg said.

“He hasn’t changed a bit over the years,” commented Archie. “You don’t have to ask him for help, he just jumps in and starts helping.”

Robbie has helped TVS grow and change over the past decade and he is ready for whatever TVS needs him to do, whether it is changing shifts or reorganizing the warehouse. Robbie said, “I do whatever I can; I am happy where I am at.”

With a chuckle, Robbie said, “I hope the new hires have their running shoes on if they are coming into shipping.” And if they come in to work beside Robbie, this statement could not be any more accurate.

 

Written by Jenifer Welch

TVS awarded ‘Team of the Year’ for Brevard Rotary Club 5K event involvement

TVS awarded ‘Team of the Year’ for Brevard Rotary Club 5K event involvement

For the first time, TVS joined with other local businesses to help sponsor the Brevard Rotary Club 5K events this year including the White Squirrel, Firecracker, and Flight of the Vampire. TVS was also selected as the ‘Team of the Year’ from the Brevard Rotary Club for having the largest turnout and for participating in all three races.

Dubbed the ‘Caped Crusaders’ for participating in the most recent Flight of the Vampire 5K with TVS bat logo capes, TVS participants left an honorable impression.

Not only were the races a no-pressure way to have fun, the sponsorship also supported comradery and wellness within the TVS team. “It was a way to build a healthier company,” said Life Skills Supervisor Suzanne Byers. “Not only is it physical health, but it is also beneficial to a person’s mental health by being around others and feeling included.”

While the sponsorship fee entitled them to a certain number of event entries, TVS also generously covered the entry fees for any participants – employee or family, over that amount. TVS also hosted training days for the first event of the year, the White Squirrel.

Team TVS had participants in each event; The White Squirrel had a total of 42 employees and family members sign up and the Firecracker had 32. The last event of the year, the Flight of the Vampire, had the largest TVS participation, with a total of 65 employees and family signed up.

As a way to help TVS team members take part, incentive prizes were offered. The prizes included a TVS water bottle, yoga mats, bandanas, a paid class at the Brevard Health and Racquet Club,

and a $20 Food Matters gift card. The prizes were dependent on how many races a person participated in throughout the year.

As an added bonus, employees received a second prize if their time between each race improved by a minute or more.

From the White Squirrel to the Firecracker, four employees improved their times; Laura Newton, Ann Buchman, Sam Snider, and Ashleigh Alquiza.

From the Firecracker to the Flight of the Vampire, another four employees improved their race times; Tye Hoffman, Megan Pilley, Jonathon McCall, and Emily Owens. 

Sam King was the VIP from the TVS team, he improved his time by one minute or more in each of the three races.

With the sponsorship, TVS also donated Mountain Maid Bakery Mix and Mountain Maid Almonds to fill goody bags for the first two races.

“Being a sponsor of the Brevard Rotary Club races this year offered TVS a fantastic opportunity to share our enthusiasm for our community, with our community. Not only did participants enjoy a fun time with other folks from town, we also got to share some of the products we make for our Federal Government customers,” said Ann Buchman, VP of Marketing & Growth. “It was a lovely way to spread the word about what happens at TVS.”

The sponsorship was not only a benefit in the support of wellness, but also a way to open more opportunities and to meet new people in the community. “It is a good way to encourage folks to be involved,” Byers said. “I hope we will be able to do it again.”

Byers and Buchman are credited with organizing the incentive prizes and unification of the TVS Team.

The races are organized through the Brevard Rotary Club. They are an organization of business and professional 

leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

The main objective of Rotary is service – in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty, and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence.

You can learn more at http://www.brevardrotary.org/.

Written by Jenifer Welch