MATCO Open House: MATCO Services Inc. will celebrate its 40th anniversary with an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 7. The public is invited to tour the corporation’s main facility at 204 Maple St., London, and its off-site work area at the rear of BST at 460 E. High St., London. Tours will run from 5 to 6 p.m. At 6 p.m., food and a short program are planned at the Maple Street facility. Call (740) 852-7054.
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Madison Messenger sat down with two individuals who are gainfully employed thanks to their skills and a collaboration between London car parts manufacturer Stanley Electric U.S. and MATCO Services Inc., Madison County’s oldest provider of job support to adults with disabilities.
Bob Penwell, a Mount Sterling resident, has worked as a tugger operator for Stanley since 1999. A tugger is a motorized vehicle that pulls bins for trash pickup and product delivery along the assembly line.
Michael Stulley, a London resident, has worked at Stanley since 2009. He helps to maintain the internal packaging system, assembles new headlight models, and racks headlight housings to supply the assembly line.
As for what he enjoys most about his job, Penwell said, “I like the people here. They are good people to work with.”
He also appreciates the paycheck.
“It means everything,” he said, noting that he recently purchased a new car and a new truck.
Stulley echoed Penwell’s sentiments. He, too, enjoys the camaraderie of his fellow employees and the income.
“It gets me by until my next paycheck. It puts gas in my truck,” he said. The job also allows him to indulge in two of his favorite things, scary movies and classic country music.
The satisfaction goes both ways. Just as Penwell and Stulley are happy with their work arrangements, so are their bosses happy with their performance.
Terry Cordle, head of the materials management group at Stanley, describes Penwell as one of the most independent and intelligent associates in his department. Penwell knows all of the company’s tuggers and fork lift batteries inside and out and where they are being used at all times.
Aaron Patrick, manager of purchasing and logistics at Stanley, praises Stulley for making suggestions for improvements, the pride he takes in his work, and his friendliness toward fellow employees.
“The working relationships with Bob and Michael have been very cooperative and successful for everyone involved,” said Mary Tier-Hopkins, Stanley’s production planning and inventory accuracy manager.
While Penwell and Stulley come to Stanley via MATCO, they are treated like any other Stanley employee.
“They clock in and clock out like the rest of our associates,” said Tier-Hopkins, who has served as Stanley’s liaison to MATCO almost since the beginning of the collaboration, which dates back 25 years.
In those 25 years, MATCO consumers have filled a variety of jobs at Stanley, from parts assembly to cleaning crew.
“We have unique jobs for each (MATCO consumer) when they come, and we have a need,” Tier-Hopkins said.
In addition to the MATCO consumers who work in the Stanley plant, several also sub-assemble parts in an enclave setting at BST next door to the plant.
“They provide a very valuable service for us,” said Mark Cowan, Stanley executive vice president. “They produce quality products. We count on them as we would any key supplier.”
MATCO’s 40 years
The Stanley connection is just one of MATCO’s success stories. Since 1973, the private non-profit corporation has been providing vocational support to adults with disabilities in a variety of ways and a variety of settings.
Some work is done at MATCO’s main facility, located at 204 Maple St. in London. One example is MATCO’s contract with the Ohio Department of Tourism, for which consumers collate travel and tourism brochures.
Like with Stanley, some work is done off-site, such as the enclave of MATCO consumers who package products at the Krazy Glue plant in West Jefferson, a partnership established in 1994.
“These are real jobs. Our consumers are taxpayers,” said MATCO CEO Van Viney. “We really feel like a part of the community…and this community has been extremely supportive.”
In addition to helping individuals with employment, MATCO also provides habilitative and non-vocational services customized to each individual’s needs and aspirations. This includes help with daily living skills and challenges, as well as opportunities for social interaction.
“We take a wholistic approach,” said Sharyn Koelling, director of compliance. “We want them to have a sense of satisfaction about their lives, not just what they do for work.”
MATCO originated in a building in Lafayette, then in 1984 moved to a building behind Fairhaven School on Route 38 in London. The organization moved into its current location on Maple Street in 2010. MATCO serves approximately 150 individuals.