2014 Shine the Light Award Honorees

The 2014 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 2014 were Ameren Corp., HDC Homes Without Limits, MTM Inc., the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine and Wells Fargo Advisors.

The Honorable Richard B. Teitelman, judge of the Supreme Court of Missouri, received Paraquad’s Legacy of Excellence Award.

Award recipients were honored at a dinner gala on Nov. 6, 2014, 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.

2014 Shine the Light Award Honorees

Ameren believes that employment is the key to independence. The company supports individuals with disabilities through job shadowing, hands-on career exploration and employment opportunities. For more than five years, Ameren has hosted Disability Mentoring Day, a job shadowing event with the St. Louis Area Transition Team where high school students with disabilities are mentored by Ameren employees.

Ameren has also been the lead company supporting the Missouri Business Leadership Network (MOBLN). Formed in 1998, MOBLN champions opportunities to create productive and supportive partnerships among people with disabilities, private businesses and governmental and community agencies. With MOBLN, Ameren awards scholarships to students with disabilities pursuing a college education.

Ameren’s Powering Connections for All Abilities (PCAA) employee resource group is dedicated to making a difference through training and developing employees on disability cultural understanding, mentoring and community service. These are just some of the many ways Ameren expresses its commitment to diversity, accessibility and inclusion.

HDC Homes Without Limits is a people and real estate development company. Started in 1983 as a company designed to be the sales arm for specialty construction firms, it is more than that today. In addition to building homes for people with physical disabilities, Houlihan Development Company acts as a consultant to leaders in construction companies who are committed to sustainable and manageable growth.

HDC Homes Without Limits has evolved out of a personal need for founder Michael Houlihan to live in a home and office environment that is effortless and efficient. During his recovery from rotator cuff surgery in 2005, he asked himself, “What am I to do with a degree in landscape architecture, business experience in design-build construction and my life in a wheelchair?”

The answer came without much hesitation: Design and build places for people to live and grow that are both energy efficient and accessible. From this, HDC Homes Without Limits was born.

MTM is a healthcare and transportation management company that partners with clients to develop innovative solutions for accessing healthcare, increasing independence and connecting community resources.

To achieve its vision of communities without barriers, the company helps more than 4.5 million people each year access their communities through services like nonemergency medical transportation, travel training and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit. Each of these activities is designed with aging and disabled populations specifically in mind and is aimed at increasing transportation accessibility.

Throughout the nation, MTM arranges more than 7 million trips each year; in the St. Louis area specifically, the company provides more than 165,000 trips annually. MTM also conducts thousands of travel training sessions to ensure safe and independent travel on public transit systems. Through its dedicated services, MTM is committed to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities, ensuring transportation accessibility and improving the resources available to an often underserved population.

Since its inception, the mission of the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has been to advance human health by enhancing people’s participation in everyday life activities through evidence-based practice, innovative research and the education of tomorrow’s leaders.

The program’s faculty and staff believe in that mission wholeheartedly and work diligently to promote participation and engagement in the world around us. By providing a highly accessible environment for everyone, they break down barriers and best enable their students and other faculty and staff to achieve their personal, professional and academic goals.

Currently ranked as a top two occupational therapy program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Washington University team members work to empower lives through collaborations with Paraquad and other community partners. Together, they provide opportunities for people with disabilities to live, work and participate in the community.

As the third largest retail brokerage firm in the U.S., Wells Fargo Advisors is headquartered in St. Louis and is committed to doing what it can to help build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life and make a positive difference in the communities where its clients and team members live and serve.

Wells Fargo Advisors strives to assist people in overcoming obstacles that may be in the way of achieving financial success and hopefully a better quality of life and a brighter future. The financial services firm also provides appropriate resources to all team members who are working to help others achieve their financial goals.

The company believes this commitment is reflected in its building and offices, in its training programs for team members and in its products, advice and information offered to clients. And it’s reflected in the partnership that Wells Fargo Advisors cherishes with Paraquad. Wells Fargo Advisors endeavors to empower people and help them succeed in spite of the challenges they face.

Wells Fargo Advisors LLC. Member SIPC.

The Honorable Richard B. Teitelman was diagnosed as legally blind at age 13. He was first challenged as a blind lawyer when he applied to take the Missouri Bar examination. He requested the assistance of a reader for the exam, which was denied. With the help of many friends, Teitelman was able to persuade the bar to change the rule. His request was granted not only for himself but for future exam takers with limited vision.

Teitelman joined Legal Services of Eastern Missouri in 1975 as a staff attorney and eventually became the executive director and general counsel. He served as president of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and president of the St. Louis Bar Foundation. In 1998, Teitelman was appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District. He served there until he was named to the Supreme Court of Missouri in 2002. Teitelman was the first legally blind and first Jewish chief justice in the state’s history.

Teitelman, like all other judges, hopes his experience brings an important perspective to other courts. He brought that perspective to Paraquad as a member of the board of directors in the 1990s.