City of Nfld Epic Recognition 2015

Pictured from left are Mayor Dana Graham; Roy Kukacka, honoree; Brian Zimmerman, honoree; Mari Sorgatz, job coach; Kenny Brockton Jr., honoree; T.J. Heinricy, streets and park supervisor and Chief of Police Monte Nelson during the event Tuesday, commemorating the 10 years of work the honoree’s crew have given to Northfield (Photo courtesy of Lisa Evert)

Many people of all walks of life share the City of Northfield, helping maintain, clean and expand the community. Epic Enterprise, Inc. is no different in contributing to that cause.

A crew from Epic Enterprise, which provides support to people with disabilities, was recently honored for their work with the city.

Michelle Mahowald, communications and human resources manager for the City of Northfield, said that those honored during the recent city council meeting are very much a part of the city and its livelihood.

“They’ve cleaned offices and the ice arena over the last 10 years,” she said. “The staff comes in and does a full assessment, creates a list of job duties to do and works with the supervisor. It’s been a wonderful relationship. They’re a part of the city family.”

Of those honored for their decade of service were Roy Kukacka, Brian Zimmerman and Kenny Brockton Jr., with their job coach Mari Sorgatz standing with them as they were presented their awards at a recent City Council meeting.

Epic Enterprise, Inc. is a not-for-profit company providing opportunities for people with disabilities in Rice County and the surrounding area.

The honorees recognized by the city are a part of the employment branch of Epic’s services, which according to Kathy Topp, employment liaison for Epic, is a very integral part of its operations.

“(Epic Enterprise) has been around for 38 years,” said Topp. “We are a private non-profit and currently have over 100 people offer a variety of support and employment to strive to meet their aspirations with education, social and recreational needs, but concentrate on employment.”

Northfield Streets and Parks Supervisor T.J. Heinricy, who is one of the original members of city staff working with the honored crew, said that there are a multitude of positive effects that he has seen from the partnership between the city and Epic Enterprises, noting that he would like to see the program continue growing.

“We talked about having an additional crew someday,” he said. “I wouldn’t give them up for the world. We’ve embraced them as City of Northfield employees and we look forward to seeing them.”

Lisa Evert, a representative with Epic Enterprise, said that the employment branch of the organization works closely with their clients, supervising them with such duties as cleaning the ice rink, wastewater treatment plant offices and washing the police department squad cars.

“A newer developing area for Epic is to specialize individuals with special abilities for special employments,” said Evert. “It’s a newer trend with government entities to work with different people with different abilities. Crew or in-house work is more common, but this is a part of what Epic does.”

With the success of Epic Enterprise being commemorated by the city, the program still strives to grow and extend its reach to anyone interested in partaking in the program.

“Our location here in Dundas is about four years old,” said Evert. “And that was because of growth and we have seen nothing but growth since we’ve been here. So it’s growing with people that want life enrichment services, work and individual work. All areas are growing.”

“In terms of connections with staff and employees, it’s amazing how many they know,” said Topp. “One thing we all strive for and most companies strive for is a diverse workforce which has inclusions, such as a potluck, and this is what we see here at the city. They are truly a part of the city.”

Chris Houck is the city beat reporter for the Northfield News. Contact him at chouck@NorthfieldNews.com.

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