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TVS Employee Specialist Katie Pace Retires

TVS Employee Specialist Katie Pace Retires

“To be successful at job development, an Employment Specialist must be able to use skills and experience as well as, have a creative imagination. They must be able to imagine individuals who may not appear to have the capability to perform certain tasks completing those tasks,” said TVS Program Director Carla Hill. “This is Katie’s gift.”

After 8 years at TVS and a lifetime of working for adults with disabilities, Katie Pace has retired! “Katie accepts individuals where they are and gently guided them to where they wanted to be,” reflected Carla.  “She never wants to give up; always asking herself, what can be done to help make this person successful.” Katie is described by coworkers as selfless, humble, loving and accepting.

“The best part of the job has been watching people grow from a ‘child-like’ place to having adult conversations. All because they are being treated as an adult in their professional setting,” said Katie. “I love being able to be a part of their development and growth.”

Her career began in Tucson, Arizona working with adults on Medicaid while pursuing a nursing degree. “This job made me realize that this is what I wanted to do with my life,” reflects Katie. “I changed my major from nursing and didn’t look back!”

Shortly after moving to Brevard in 1987, Katie met a neighbor who worked at TVS. “She talked to me about TVS and what they were doing for adults with disabilities, I thought, ‘I don’t care what the job is, I want to work there.’” Later that year, Katie began her TVS career as a production worker building boxes for DuPont before working in the cafeteria and filling in gaps with one-on-one services after an unexpected death of a fellow employee.

“It was God intervening,” she said. “From buying the home on Cedar Mountain, having a neighbor who worked in the field of my gift, being able to help when a tragedy hit, and finally being pushed to gain my degree.”

In 1989, Katie left TVS to complete her degree in Special Education with a specialization in Learning Disabilities from Western Carolina University. During this time, Katie worked for different group homes around the area to best accommodate the school-work schedules. It was during her education that Katie, “fell in love with the younger generation through teaching.”

She completed her degree and taught in local elementaries schools for three years before opening her own company, Plans For Life. “Plans For Life became one of the best case-management agencies in North Carolina,” said Carla. “I think Katie would say that the most rewarding part was making things better for the individuals she supported.”

Unfortunately, case-management, that had been privatized was moved back to the state operated LME/MCO system and Katie had to close the doors. “We had a group home, direct care services, 300 plus clients, and 40 employees that served Transylvania, Asheville, and Hendersonville,” reflected Katie.

In 2014, she returned to TVS. “TVS was meant to be a part of my life,” she said. “I am so glad that God made TVS such a big part of my world and for its ability to enhance the lives of people who need a helping hand and support. I never want to see the mission change.”

As an Employment Specialist at TVS, Katie would go out and find employment opportunities for individuals, educate the client about the job, help with the interview, and with any monetary needs to get the individuals into work.

“Katie came into my life at the end of my senior year in high school. She was instrumental in her guidance and encouragement to apply for the position I currently have here at TVS,” said TVS Life Skills Direct Support Professional (DSP) Maddy Shannon. “It was the best decision, and it is thanks to her support and encouragement.”

On a final note, Katie said, “You really have to care and respect the people you are working with and for, that’s what makes all the difference in the lives we touch.”

Celebrating Becky’s 45 years at TVS!

Celebrating Becky’s 45 years at TVS!

Becky Alderman and Nancy Stricker standing in front of wall of TVS celebrations and awards.

After 45 years of dedicated service to TVS, COO Becky Alderman retired on October 2 following a surprise retirement celebration that honored her hard work, friendships, and impact throughout the community.

“Using the mission as her compass, Becky always lead TVS, its mission, and its people to a better place,” said TVS CEO Jamie Brandenburg.

In 1975, Becky was hired as the Program Director after graduating from UNC – Chapel Hill with a degree in Sociology. Over the years, Becky had been promoted and grown into the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

“I never planned to do the work I’ve done, but was unexpectedly led to TVS and have never looked back,” Becky said. “What I hope is the key accomplishment in my career, achieved through years of small and large actions, is helping to increase the stature of people with disabilities and other challenges in our community.”

Her determination and hard work have been some of the leading factors in helping grow the company into what it is today with contracts with the USDA, DLA Troop Support, USAID, and other commercial businesses.

It has also led for countless success stories assisting adults with disabilities and other barriers to employment find jobs, both in the community and at TVS.

“Becky’s dedication and perseverance are evident in all the lives she has changed, including mine,” said Lauren Hayes, Human Resource Director. “I am thankful to have worked beside such a great role model.” 

Just before Becky’s last day, TVS held a surprise retirement party in her honor. The spacious company cafeteria was transformed with floral lanterns, balloons, a large cake, and the smiling faces of coworkers, families, and community members. Becky is not an easy person to keep a secret from and it took everyone to help keep Becky occupied while the party planning committee finished decorating and welcomed Becky’s family, friends and other special guests.

The event definitely caught her off guard as she was greeted by cheers and almost endless applause when she entered. After the shock, Becky was presented with a lovely gift basket filled with various gifts and a celebratory shirt for her 45 years at TVS. A special treat was a personalized photo album/memory book complete with personal wishes for a happy retirement from dozens of TVS team members and other close colleagues. Following this, a series of special awards were presented to Becky.

Celebrating her achievements one award at a time, Lauren Hayes presented the first award, a SourceAmerica Certificate of Recognition. 

TVS has been a member of the SourceAmerica network for 20 years, beginning with the contract for packing instant non-fat dry milk for USDA. Source America’s mission is to protect and increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities by collaborating with policymakers in the U.S. Congress and other Federal government leaders and connecting them with goods and services from their member NPAs.

In a farewell to Becky the SourceAmerica Product team said, “We are so thankful for all of the support you have given to people with disabilities, TVS, and SourceAmerica.”

The next award was a Certificate of Appreciation from the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, presented by Derrick Edwards, the Business Services Representative for the Land of Sky Regional Council, for Becky’s many years of engagement with the Board.

The Mountain Area Workforce Development Board is a partnership of private business executives and leading workforce development organizations in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania County. The purpose of is to provide policy, planning, oversight and funding for local workforce development programs and address any workplace issues as they emerge.

The last award of the day was the most significant and memorable. Brevard Mayor Jimmy Harris surprised the group by presenting Becky, on behalf of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award.

This prestigious award is among the Governor’s highest honors, reserved for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities

through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments. Becky was nominated by her husband, Jim Alderman, with letters of recommendation from close friends and colleagues.

The celebration was not all awards and public figures.

The No Limits artists performed a new song, “Rise Up” by Andra Day, in sign language outside of the TVS building. The Life Skills group presented Becky with a handmade piece of artwork. The acrylic art piece was framed and the floral watercolor image contained the names of all the Life Skills participants and the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) that work in the program.

As one of the last events of the day, TVS held a Flowering Cherry tree planting ceremony out front near the road. The tree represents all the growth that Becky has cultivated for TVS and is a reminder to continue to grow the mission through the many seasons ahead.

The bittersweet celebration was a beautiful way to celebrate all the achievements Becky has accomplished in her career. As she begins a new chapter in retirement, enjoying her garden, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends, TVS wishes her the absolute best.

Becky Alderman with husband, Jim Alderman