Dec 9, 2014

Supported Employment Services maintenance men working

Posted on Dec 09, 2014


Cummins Power Generation’s headquarters in Fridley has acres of beautifully landscaped lawns as well as parking lots for its hundreds of employees and visitors. Keeping it well-maintained is a massive undertaking, but one that Mike Elwell and Lewis Hotchkiss enjoy very much.

The list of job tasks is long and varies with the Minnesota seasons, but that’s precisely what the two men both like about their jobs best – that, and getting to work outside.

Reporting directly to Cummins Facilities and Maintenance / Manufacturing Leader Greg Schrader, Mike and Lewis plan their work schedule around the necessary tasks. Both are hard-working and responsible and need little supervision. They keep Cummins’ expansive grounds mowed, bushes and trees trimmed, and sidewalks and parking lots swept.

Fall meant lots of raking and preparing for winter. And with Minnesota’s early winter, the two men have already been working to ensure the sidewalks and walkways are clear of snow and ice.

“I really like working outside and moving all the time,” said Lewis, who started at Cummins this summer. “I feel so much healthier now that I’m working again. Mike and I know what needs to be done to ‘prettify’ the grounds and we get it done.”

“The Rise employees have added another level of diversity to our organization that has enhanced the Maintenance Department and all Cummins employees,” said Greg.

Mike had worked on the recycling team at Cummins for four years before this opportunity opened up. He grew up helping his dad with his sod farm business, so the job at Cummins was a natural fit for him.  “I like working independently in the wide open spaces,” Mike said.

When their outside work is done, Mike and Lewis take on other projects for Cummins’s maintenance team such as cleaning and inventorying the tool room and washing windows. This winter, they may take on some indoor painting projects.

“I’m really proud of Mike and Lewis,” said Lisa Carlson, an employment specialist with Rise’s Supported Employment Services (SES)-Anoka County program. “When the Cummins plant was closed one extra day for the Labor Day holiday, Lewis still came to work because he wanted to keep to his lawn maintenance schedule. I was so impressed with his dedication and work ethic.”

In addition to Mike and Lewis working with the maintenance team, there are more than 30 people from Rise who work at Cummins doing subassembly, kitting, recycling, and clerical work.

This article appears in the December 2014 issue of the Rise Reporter.

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