Ryonet believes in not only powering the print community, but enhancing the culture of everyone around us. That includes our team. We believe that everyone deserves to have a fulfilling job, no matter who they are. We are proud to be an inclusive workplace for people from all walks of life.
That’s why we partnered with Trillium Employment Services. They’re an employment agency serving adults with developmental disabilities. We are proud to include three individuals from Trillium’s agency in our Ryonet team: Chris Bergman and Jesse Banaszek. Over the years, these team members have become our family.
THE RYONET FAMILY
Ryonet has been in business since 2004. We employ over 100 individuals, and have locations in Vancouver, Washington, and Waco, Texas. One of our values is to be the best at being better. We’re always striving to go one step further, whether that’s providing exceptional products, customer service, or a friend. Our team members are like family. We celebrate one another for our differences and similarities.
Our awesome Trillium team members are no exception. That’s why we wanted to get to know them a little better, and give others at Ryonet a chance to share their experiences with them.
PARTNERING WITH TRILLIUM EMPLOYMENT SERVICES
We partnered with Trillium Employment Services in 2012. We wanted to power the community around us and enhance our company culture. What better way than hiring unique, capable individuals to join our Ryonet family?
Trillium Employment Services is a non-profit organization serving four counties in Washington. The employment agency supports adults with developmental disabilities, helping them land fulfilling jobs in the community.
Ashton Steele, Assistant Program Manager at Trillium, believes in the work Trillium is doing around the state.
“Our mission is to promote inclusive communities and employment opportunities,” Ashton said.
Trillium chose to partner with Ryonet because one of their clients, Jesse Banaszek, was interested in the manufacturing process.
“We take what the person wants, their interest, their skills, capabilities and the industries that interest them, and we reach out to them,” Ashton said. They reached out, and Jesse became a team member of Ryonet in June 2012.
The team was excited to have Jesse, and also happy to reconnect with Ashton. Before working with Trillium, Ashton worked as a technical support lead for Ryonet. When she was given an offer to work at Trillium, she jumped at the opportunity, pursuing her passion. Though we lost a team member, her involvement in Trillium has enriched Ryonet’s culture and our team members’ lives. She’s been a valuable asset to increasing support and communication for our three team members from Trillium.
WHO ARE OUR TRILLIUM TEAM MEMBERS?
We’re proud to be able to work with these wonderful individuals. They’ve become important to our company culture.
“They’re part of us. They’re like our family,” Chris Drury, Director of Warehouse and Manufacturing, said.
JESSE BANASZEK: WAREHOUSE ASSISTANT
Jesse has worked for Ryonet since June 2012. In those 11 years, he has enhanced the experience of everyone he meets. His favorite part of working at Ryonet? Everything.
“Everything, my hours, the guys here, everything,” Jesse said.
Jesse currently works in the warehouse two days a week. He had been out for over a year because of COVID-19 considerations. Now that he’s back, the warehouse staff are starting him out slow, as not to overwhelm him. He helps the shipping department by breaking down and shredding cardboard boxes to reuse for packaging.
Working at Ryonet has affected Jesse’s life, too.
“It changed my life because it made me into a Rockstar mayor,” Jesse said. Jesse and Ryan Moor, CEO, used to create Cyber Monday videos that went out to the entire company.
“He brought different departments together that typically don’t interact on a day-to-day basis,” Ryan said. “He likes to make these one-to-one connections.”
Photo Courtesy of Ashley Metzger
CHRIS BERGMAN: WAREHOUSE ASSISTANT
Chris started at Ryonet in March 2015. He is in charge of putting kits together for screen printing presses.
“Since we put things in charge of kitting and making sure all the bolts go in the right pack and things get finished the right way, our customer cases went way down just because he’s so thorough,” Ryan Moor said.
Chris’s favorite part of working with Ryonet is helping his coworkers while still getting his job done well.
“[I] just work the whole shift from one task to another and if a friend needs my help, I just stop what I’m doing, I just go over to him or her if they need my help and once I’m done helping him or her, I just go back to wherever I left off,” Chris said.
He’s thankful to work at Ryonet because he is trusted with responsibilities.
“It gives me a job to do, just like everyone else,” Chris said.
Photo Courtesy of Ashley Metzger
IMPROVING OUR COMPANY CULTURE
Every team member improves a company’s culture in his or her own unique way. Our Trillium team members are no different.
Jesse brings departments together that otherwise wouldn’t have a lot of interaction. He got involved in videos and brings an energy of fun to those he works with.
Ashley Metzger, Director of Purchasing and Logistics, enjoys Jesse’s energy.
“When we would have huddle ups, he was the first to start talking in the huddle up,” Ashley said.
Ryan also enjoys Chris Bergman’s attitude.
“He says stuff that no one wants to talk about. He’s not afraid to say, ‘wear your mask!’ or ‘wear your safety glasses!’ He’s not afraid to say uncomfortable stuff, but he’s also very open and very loving and caring,” Ryan said.
According to the warehouse staff, having Chris is vital to the operation.
"From a production standpoint, it's awesome that Chris keeps the flow moving with all the kits, springs, and extras we need,” Ridge, a warehouse team member, said.
Chris jumps in to help his coworkers whenever they need. He also refuses to be put in a corner.
Josephine Sanders and Chris Bergman. Photo Courtesy of Josephine Sanders
NOBODY PUTS CHRIS IN A CORNER
The warehouse recently got a remodel, and when the warehouse supervisors were reorganizing the space, they struggled to find a decent spot for Chris’s station. Before the remodel, his station was located in a corner area. The corner was quieter, and he could feel safe doing his job.
Instead of putting his station in the corner again, the supervisors decided to give Chris an entire bay to do his work. When he came in the next morning, he saw his new workstation, organized and ready.
Chris was excited to see his new workspace. He told everyone around him, “Nobody puts Chris in the corner!”
Both Chris and Jesse have won awards at the CREDC's Grow Clark County annual event.
Relationships are what make Ryonet tick. Each Trillium team member has impacted our culture in not only their field of expertise, but their relationships.
Ashley has formed close bonds with both Jesse and Chris over the years. Ashley is friends with Jesse’s family. They’ve done volunteer work together and attended concerts together. They even dressed up as the tutu twins for one Halloween.
“I got to go and welcome him to his first independence because he got his first place just by himself,” Ashley said.
Ashley Metzger and Jesse Banaszek dress up for Halloween. Photo Courtesy of Ashley Metzger
Ashley and Chris Bergman are loosely related: Ashley’s sister married Chris’s cousin.
“I’ve been to a ton of family events with him and so it’s been really cool to create that bond between work and personal [life],” Ashley said.
Chris would spend his lunches in Ashley’s office because it was quiet and he could play his music. According to the warehouse staff, his taste in music is “dope.”
“We had to have quite a few talks that ‘you can’t come and play Nirvana in my office on level 50 while I’m trying to work,” Ashley laughed.
There are always challenges when it comes to defining the scope of someone’s job. Everyone
is good at something different in life, finding balance between what they’re passionate about and how that fits into the system.
When overcoming these challenges with our Trillium team members, we had a little help.
“Trillium definitely helps overcome those road bumps,” Ryan said.
Each team member had different road bumps along the way. Giving our team members the right amount of work and support took time and patience, but we had a great company to work with.
In any company, communication is key. Effective communication helps everyone in the company stay on track and feel like a contributing member of the team. Because of this, communicating with Jesse and Chris was vital.
Ryan explained that the team members’ supervisors made an effort to “communicate with managers and then communicate very patiently and effectively with the team members.”
Many times, someone may have to pivot last-minute to take on another task. Communicating this well in advance is crucial in our team members’ success. When Chris Bergman’s former supervisor, Heather Coughlin, needed him to switch tasks, she made sure to tell him about it well in advance.
“He’ll come back and he’ll be ready to go,” Heather said.
Supporting our team members is also important to all of our success. Learning to communicate uniquely with each team member helped everyone feel more like family.
“Don’t treat them any differently, because they’re not. We’re all different. People are standoffish and don’t communicate with them because they feel like ‘I don’t really know how to communicate with someone like that.’ Don’t describe them as ‘someone like that.’ They’re just a different person,” Ashley said.
HOW COVID AFFECTED OUR TEAM
During the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every business endured some hardship. For Ryonet, it meant letting people go. We had to let over 20 people go throughout all departments. When the pandemic’s hold began to loosen, we started bringing team members back. Chris Bergman was the first.
“When I was given the opportunity to bring back an employee, he was the one I chose, because he’s that important to our team,” Heather Coughlin said.
When Chris was first let go, he gave a speech expressing his desire to come back and see his friends again.
“Everyone was tearing up because he’s the only one who’s going to say this,” Ryan said. “He’s losing his job and his family but he’s saying it’s going to be okay to everyone else.”
Jesse was also let go during the height of the pandemic. He’s happy to be back, but feeling a little nostalgic.
“I miss getting to work around everyone that was here before COVID,” Jesse said.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The future for our relationship with Trillium Employment Services and its employees is looking bright. Their help and support, as well as the incredible team members that have come to work for us, has spurred us to start doing something similar in our facility in Waco, TX.
Hiring adults with developmental disabilities shouldn’t be a chore. With Trillium Employment Services at our side, it isn’t.
“The role of a business in a community shouldn’t just be to make money. If it builds a stronger community, then it will be healthier,” Ryan said.
This is a great way to build community and add diversity to your team. We have a great partner in Trillium Employment Services that helps facilitate that.
“It’s much harder to do things that are outside the norm without people and organizations that facilitate that and really make it almost a no-brainer to do,” Ryan said.
Ryan asked Ashton what her goal to place clients is. She said that Trillium Employment Services’ goal is to place one or two clients per month. Many businesses in Clark County alone can use that opportunity.
INTERESTED IN GETTING INVOLVED? DISCOVER HOW HERE
Ashley Metzger and Jesse Banaszek. Photo Courtesy of Ashley Metzger
Trillium has approximately 125 clients, and 54 are employed. As of our interview with Trillium Employment Services in April 2021, 75 clients still need jobs.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard an employer say, ‘Oh yeah, we tried that once. It didn’t work.’ So you hired one person with a disability and didn’t work. Have you ever hired a woman that didn’t work out or another fill-in-the-blank?” Christina, Program Manager at Trillium, said.
Jesse and Chris have enhanced Ryonet’s company culture and provided a sense of community. We are truly honored to be a part of their lives, and glad to have such wonderful team members working to make the world a better place.