NDEAM - Champions Award

Presented by The Corporate Source & The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation

In recognition of the contributions of people with disabilities in the workforce throughout Long Island, The Corporate Source invited prominent Long Island businesses to nominate an employee with a disability who they believed should be chosen as a NDEAM Champion among Long Island employers.

We received several outstanding nominations from a variety of companies across Long Island.

We are pleased to announce



from East Coast Orthotics & Prosthetics


Robert joined East Coast O&P in 2014 as a Patient Advocate/ Marketing Coordinator. From the moment Robert joined the company, he made an immediate impact. Despite the personal difficulties Robert has endured in his life, he has always persevered, all while doing it with a smile on his face. His upbeat and positive demeanor immediately made an impact on the staff and the patients he was introduced to. After joining the team, Robert began by reaching out to ECOP's existing prosthetic patients and helped further establish prosthetic support group meetings on Long Island and in Manhattan. The prosthetic support group expanded and now hosts monthly outings, as well as events for multiple holidays.

In his role of Patient Advocate and Marketing Coordinator, Robert expanded East Coast O & P’s online presence. Robert is always there, whether online, a text, or a phone call away for East Coast O & P’s online support group. He expanded reach on social platforms like YouTube and Instagram tremendously. Videos on YouTube now feature other patients, giving their testimonials about working with Robert, East Coast O & P and their personal life experiences. Robert posts often on social media and he has attracted other amputees to our company. They found East Coast O & P by following Robert online. His inspiring story is showcased on his various social networking profiles and also on corporate social media accounts.

Robert participates in AMP 1 Basketball and Sled Hockey Teams, as well as the USA Sitting Volleyball Development Team. Robert’s many athletic endeavors have attracted the attention of many children and young people, who see Robert when he travels across the USA. These patients might see him in a game or when he visits their schools. He truly has so much love in his heart for his patients, especially children. A father himself, Robert has become an inspiration to many children with disabilities who see what he has been able to overcome. We see it in our patient’s smiles when they first meet with Robert. Robert cares so much for his patients and many say they want to be “Like Rob.” He shows love and passion day-in and day-out, spreading messages of positivity to whomever he may encounter. One inspiring trait of Robert is his able to talk and communicate to people facing amputation surgery. He has spoken to many people needing amputations both prior to the amputation and post-surgery, offering words of encouragement and helping them and their families get through what is certainly a challenging time. Robert is an inspiration and will do anything in his power to help amputees have a better life.

The Corporate Source would like to recognize the
Outstanding Achievement of our Nominees for the

2017 NDEAM

Champions Award

Justin Baez

Justin Baez, Attendant Manager

Answer Vending, Inc.

Justin manages Answer Vending’s Media Math pantry location. He has been there for the past three years and he works 5 days a week. In this position, he learned all aspects of food service management, catering skills, and NYS Heath Department procedures. He will do extra paperwork on the weekends and always takes time out of his weekend to review and analyze his sales information for the following week. Not only does he go out of his way to do an exceptional job for the company, he also takes care of his elderly mom. He is her caregiver and supports her 100%. He is only 26 years old, but he is very mature for his age.

The employees at his current position does not know he is legally blind. He does not share this information with them. They have no idea he has a disability. In the three years working with Justin, he has never missed a day of work except his vacation. He is so dedicated to this job and the company.

Christina Eisenberg

Christina Eisenberg, Employer Service Specialist

The Viscardi Center

A high-achieving alumnus of the Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center, Christina Eisenberg’s professional journey led her back to The Viscardi Center in 2015 when she took on the role of Employer Service Specialist for the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN)—a free resource funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) that helps employers tap into the benefits of disability diversity. After spending over a decade building a multifaceted career serving the disability community and educating employers on the importance of workplace inclusion in the New York area, she recognized that employment at The Viscardi would provide opportunities for large-scale impact.

Her expertise and ongoing mission to encourage employers to champion the talents and skills of every individual—regardless of his or her disability—have made her an invaluable advocate at The Viscardi Center and for the disability community at large. Christina’s talent for public speaking has enabled her to attend several major conferences around the country; where she not only represents The Viscardi Center and EARN, but also acts as a powerful role model for both potential employers and men and women with disabilities.

Nicole Ficarra

Nicole Ficarra, Social Media

Avery Biomedical Devices

Nicole handles all Avery Biomedical’s social media outlets, Facebook, Twitter, etc. She always gathers information and writes up profiles on those using their medical system. In addition, she writes a blog on the Avery website (Nicole's corner) and helps spread awareness of Spinal Cord Injury and the small part that the Avery Diaphragm Pacer plays. As a quadriplegic herself, armed with her diaphragm pacer, she has attended conferences, lectures and fundraisers on behalf of spinal cord injury. She has an extremely contagious positive attitude and is a team-player. She offers assistance and provides information and support to help Avery and its employees grow. Nicole never thought the company that changed her life would be the one to offer her very first full-time job! Working for Avery Biomedical Devices has afforded her the opportunity to inspire others with SCI, that they have the chance to breathe “normal” again and change their life as she did. Nicole absolutely loves telling her story and helping others gain their independence.

Evan Kuhlmey

Evan Kuhlmey, Decoration Assistant

Spectrum Designs Foundation

Evan runs the biggest machine in the Spectrum Designs shop and is most likely the first person people see upon entering. He is extremely professional and highly skilled. Evan works tireless and with precise and incredible detail. Evan is always on-time, and shows up ready to work. Over the past two years Evan has become more social, interacting with co-workers and assisting Spectrum trainees, when needed.

He likes working at Spectrum because he’s doing work that is within his field of study, visual art, something he is very passionate about.

Benjaline Lloyd Burnett

Benjaline Lloyd-Burnett, Café Counter Person

Winthrop University Hospital

Benjaline has worked serving and preparing food for twenty years at Winthrop University Café. Benjaline is reliable, flexible, and independent. She maintains the Café in a sanitary fashion appropriate for a hospital setting and exhibits exemplary customer service skills. She also has the opportunity to be creative by coming up with new ideas for sandwiches and salads.

She always has a smile and kind word for all and goes the extra mile for staff and visitors alike. Her job has helped provide for her family and she is now a proud homeowner.

Cathy Loquercio

Cathy Loquercio, Switchboard/ Receptionist

AHRC Nassau

In 2016 Cathy was hired as the lead full-time switchboard/ receptionist for AHRC Nassau in Freeport. Cathy is responsible for training new receptionists. She assists with exposures for ACCES-VR referrals. Cathy also assists the Pre-Voc department with transportation/busing and Café 230 with the packaging of goodie bags and event preparation. In addition to her dedication to her career, Cathy is a strong advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She belongs to two advocacy organizations: AHRC Nassau Residential Council and The Self Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS). Cathy is the current President of the AHRC Nassau Residential Council. She organizes fundraisers, participates in rallies and disseminates information about disability rights. She is a SANYS member and past Vice President. She attends monthly meetings on Long Island and the annual statewide conference in Albany. Working here allowed Cathy to be independent to be supported to move from an AHRC residence into her own apartment. To her, the AHRC workforce is like having an extended family.

Corey Martin

Corey Martin, Student Registration

Art League of Long Island

Corey is a team player and conscientious employee at the Art League. HIs position at the front desk requires him to be attentive, patient and knowledgeable. Corey handles in-person, telephone and on-line registration for over 250 studio art classes each semester. This requires him to be familiar with the offerings, teachers and class times. His friendly and caring personality make him a perfect fit for this highly visible position. He is a good listener, respectful and motivated to provide a good customer experience. He is always a helpful and friendly voice on the telephone making the callers feel welcome, important and valued.

Corey has made a solid contribution to the Art League in raising the standards of customer service, being an outstanding team player that everyone respects, developing his own registration training program, and being highly dependable. He is never late, always positive and a pleasure to have on the Art League staff.

Cassandra Moran

Cassandra Moran, Maintenance Custodian

Cambridge Art & Framing

Since her early days starting at Cambridge, “Sandy” has completely evolved into the person that she has desired and chosen to be and continues to create her own path with such great strides. Through her own personal transformational success story, Cassandra maintains a healthy lifestyle, has an advance knowledge of nutrition and supplements, not only preparing her own food but others food and has now embarked on the next stage of her personal journey, Cassandra has a goal to become a Personal Certified Trainer. Earlier this year she completed a classroom CPR certified course because she learned that even though she taken an online course in order to pursue her goal she would need the classroom version. Cassandra is now enrolled and studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer through ACE Fitness and is expected to sit for the National Exam at the end of October or early November 2017. To her, employment means making a living with a sustainable, fulfilling career. Employment is crucial for providing for herself and family. It may take more than one job to find the right source of employment by having temporary work or few. Winners are not ones who never fail. They're ones that never quit.

David Strickland

David Strickland, Facilities Manager

SUNation Solar Systems

David was hired as SUNation’s Facilities and Maintenance Specialist and was promoted to Facilities Manager after only 1 year of employment. David is the most hardworking person in the company and the ideal worker that every employee should strive to be. He’s always smiling and cheerful; he’s thoughtful, kind, grateful, selfless, and by far the most genuine person at SUNation. David is always willing and eager to help and it is one of his top priorities to ensure that we are always in a safe environment. David’s direct supervisor says that it’s an honor to have him on his team and that David puts 130% into his job every day and is the easiest person to manage due to his reliability and character. He goes above and beyond his job duties to be a team player for the company, and with the combination of his work ethic and heart of gold,

SUNation is very lucky to have him. It was a great honor of SUNation’s CEO to present David with the “Employee of Distinction” Award at their 2016 company holiday party. David’s secrets to success: 1. Always be on time. It shows character. 2. Don’t leave the office each day until you have prepared all of your items for the next day. 3. Always say good morning to everyone because it sets the day for good things.