William Brown joined PRIDE Industries’ Fort Rucker, AL team in April 2013 as a Maintenance Trades Helper. He is currently assigned to the Electrical Shop where he is responsible for performing preventive maintenance on approximately 120 generators each month. Will is described as a hard worker by his supervisor, Charlie Cotton. “He is efficient and gets his work done on time.” Larry Maio, Manager for CB&I – a subcontractor to PRIDE – added: “He’s right on with identifying a problem with a generator and notifies me right away.”
William was not always sure that he would be able to do such great work in the electrical shop. As he grew up, people always told him that he could not do certain things because he was deaf. But the comments cut both ways; they also gave him the drive to work harder at everything he did. When he first started training on generators, Will wondered if he would ever be able to work on them independently. “I may be unable to hear the generator if it’s running. How do I contact my supervisor if there is a problem with one of the generators?” William wondered.
William wears Cochlear implants. The implants provide him with a useful representation of sound and help him to better understand speech. However, hearing the running generators were still a hearing challenge. The solution was simple: William safely touches the generator to ensure that it is not running before he begins performing preventive maintenance. PRIDE also provided William with a cellphone that has Purple3 (P3) capabilities. With P3, Will is able to call his supervisor as a live interpreter on the phone line translates the conversation.
With a little ingenuity, some simple accommodations, patience, dedication, and hard work, William overcame his fears and is now self-reliant in a field he excels at. In fact, he was recently promoted to General Maintenance Worker.
“I feel good because I can show people that being deaf doesn’t stop you from being successful,” says William. “PRIDE has given me a lot of opportunities and a lot of support to help me be successful in my career.”
“William Brown is a prime example that a person’s disability does not define their ability,” says Rehabilitation Counselor Stephany Marshall.