2013 Shine the Light Award Honorees

The 2013 Paraquad Shine the Light Awards recognized the special contributions of businesses, organizations and individuals that make our community a more welcoming, more accessible and more equitable place for people with disabilities.

The five award recipients for 2013 were the City of Clayton, Mercy, Monsanto Co.Sansone Group and Webster University.

St. Louis restaurateur J. Kim Tucci received Paraquad’s Legacy of Excellence Award.

Award recipients were honored at a dinner gala on Nov. 14, 2013, at the Chase Park Plaza.

Award winners are nominated by their peers based on accomplishments in areas that may include employment and hiring practices for people with disabilities, dedication to ensuring an accessible facility for all, disability-focused customer service training, support and advocacy for disability rights and services or similar contributions.

Paraquad is proud to “Shine the Light” on our partners whose efforts increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of life.

2013 Shine the Light Award Honorees

The City of Clayton is the business center and financial hub of St. Louis County, and as a result, has made citywide accessibility a top priority for more than 20 years. The city saw the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 as an opportunity to differentiate itself from other municipalities in the standard of services offered to people with disabilities.

Clayton’s sidewalks and intersections are some of the most accessible in the United States. The city installed audible crossing signals for people with visual impairments and also has an ongoing sidewalk repair program.

Clayton requires first responders to undergo regular training to provide dignified service to people with disabilities. Additionally, the city employs an ADA coordinator in its Parks and Recreation Department who ensures that residents with disabilities have full access to recreational programs.

For serving as a model city for accessibility, Paraquad honors the City of Clayton with a 2013 Shine the Light Award.

Mercy has a host of programs and services to support inclusion, including a task force of company leaders that meets monthly to discuss issues that impact people with disabilities at its 80-acre St. Louis campus.

Each October, Mercy participates in Disability Employment Awareness Month by demonstrating assistive technology devices and setting up educational displays. Throughout the year, certain products created by people with disabilities are offered for sale in the hospital’s gift shop. Each item includes educational information on the artisan’s disability.

Mercy also has a Learning and Development Center that offers opportunities for co-workers and volunteers with disabilities to learn new skills. The hospital has an administrative goal of employing 100 people with significant disabilities by 2016.

Mercy is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are productive members of its workforce. Congratulations on being named a 2013 Shine the Light Award honoree.

Monsanto considers its 20,000 worldwide employees as the link between the workplace and the marketplace and is committed to hiring the right person for a job, regardless of disability, gender, race or age.

As part of its culture of diversity, Monsanto supports nine Employee Diversity Networks, including The Access Network, which provides awareness, improved access to facilities, opportunities and resources to Monsanto employees, employee family members and Monsanto customers with disabilities.

Paraquad partners with Monsanto to provide feedback on audio and visual barriers that may exist at the company’s world headquarters in Creve Coeur. In addition, Monsanto holds lunch-n-learn events focused on disability etiquette and continually modifies its facilities to ensure accessibility.

Accessibility is in action at Monsanto, and Paraquad recognizes the company’s commitment with a 2013 Shine the Light Award.

Sansone Group is committed to developing apartment complexes specifically designed for people with disabilities and seniors.

More than 1,400 of the company’s residential units are both physically and financially accessible. The units include features like lowered light switches and peepholes on doors for people who use a wheelchair. Cooktop and oven controls are on the front of the appliance rather than the back so residents don’t have to reach over a heated surface to adjust the temperature.

Sansone Group also employs several social service coordinators who identify and recommend community resources to ensure that residents maintain their independence.

Company principal Tim Sansone said full accessibility is “fair and right,” and for that, Paraquad is proud to present to Sansone Group a 2013 Shine the Light Award.

Making a nearly 100-year-old campus accessible for people with disabilities while maintaining its architectural integrity isn’t easy, but it’s a challenge that Webster University was glad to accept.

Over the past few decades, Webster University has built additions to older buildings to accommodate elevator shafts and installed wheelchair lifts in other buildings. It has also equipped exterior doors throughout the campus with motion sensors and created an accessible study area in the Emerson Library.

But perhaps Webster University’s most proactive display of its commitment to inclusion is the formation of an accessibility committee, which identifies and proposes changes at the university’s 60 global campuses and educates the university community on issues of accessibility.

One of Webster University’s four core values is diversity. Paraquad is grateful for the university’s commitment to accessibility and is pleased to name it as a 2013 Shine the Light Award honoree.

J. Kim Tucci, co-founder and president of The Pasta House Co., has supported Paraquad and people with disabilities for nearly three decades. He was one of several St. Louis business leaders who partnered with Paraquad founders Max and Colleen Starkloff during the organization’s period of rapid growth in the 1980s.

Tucci’s friendship with the Starkloffs and his membership on Paraquad’s board of directors encouraged him to adopt an accessible design for his restaurants. He also started a hiring program for people with disabilities to work in various areas of the company.

After leaving Paraquad’s board of directors, Tucci continued to be a friend to Paraquad and other agencies in St. Louis that advocate for and empower people with disabilities.

Paraquad is pleased to present the 2013 Legacy of Excellence Award to J. Kim Tucci for his lifetime contributions to equality for people with disabilities.