My dad’s award

(Why is this here? Read my Father’s Day post for context!)

Pitt County Engineer Receives NISH Government Award for State/Local Officials in Support of the AbilityOne Program

Greenville, NC., May 7, 2012 — Pitt County Engineer Phil Dickerson has been honored for his support of the AbilityOne® Program, as part of the 2011 NISH National Achievement Awards. Dickerson received the Community Award for State/Local Government Officials which recognizes officials who have a relationship with and support AbilityOne affiliated nonprofit agencies (NPA) and the AbilityOne Program. Established in 1974, NISH is one of two national, nonprofit agencies designated by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission™ to support nonprofit agencies participating in the AbilityOne Program – the largest single source of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.

Dickerson, a 25-year champion for people with disabilities, was nominated by Eastern Carolina Vocational Center (ECVC), an AbilityOne NPA based in Greenville that provides job training and employment services to persons with disabilities in Pitt and the surrounding counties in Eastern North Carolina. Dickerson’s leadership has helped ECVC expand work opportunities for people with disabilities by providing the NPA with engineering services and technical consultation on joint County/NPA projects.

“Phil Dickerson may be known locally for his engineering expertise and dedication to effective County Government, but few citizens are aware of the impact his soft spoken words and energetic deeds have had on the lives of people with significant disabilities,” said Bob Jones, ECVC President. “Repeatedly over the years, he has acted in the best interests of the county while also helping to create jobs for people with disabilities. He is deserving of this award because of the longevity and consistency of his advocacy for the employment of people with disabilities throughout Pitt County.”

Thanks to Dickerson’s involvement, ECVC’s custodial, recycling, and prevocational operations provide 51 full-time and 29 part-time jobs for people with disabilities. While ECVC has benefited directly via a county contract to process 48 million pounds of materials annually, the benefits of the ECVC and Pitt County partnership work both ways. ECVC’s recycling operation produced approximately $600,000 in cost savings last year for the county.

“Phil Dickerson is a remarkable advocate for both Pitt County government and people with disabilities who are striving for the independence and respect they earn from employment,” said Bob Chamberlin, President and CEO of NISH. “It is the commitment and support of community leaders such as Phil that are so essential to the success of the AbilityOne Program and its mission to provide meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”

The 2011 NISH/AbilityOne National Awards serve to recognize organizations that have demonstrated outstanding support for the AbilityOne Program and people with significant disabilities, as well as, individuals with significant disabilities whose lives have been impacted by the AbilityOne Program. Nominations for these awards may be submitted by an AbilityOne-affiliated NPA or a Federal customer.

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NISH–Creating Employment for People with Significant Disabilities

Established in 1974, NISH ( is one of two national, nonprofit agencies designated by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission to support nonprofit agencies (NPAs) participating in the AbilityOne® Program. NISH provides employment opportunities for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities by procuring Federal contracts for goods and services. Headquartered in Vienna, Va., NISH supports a network of more than 1,200 NPAs as well as Federal customers by providing legislative and regulatory assistance, communications and public relations materials, information technology support, engineering and technical assistance, and extensive professional training needed for successful contract management.

AbilityOne Program

Providing employment opportunities to more than 50,000 people, the AbilityOne® Program is the largest single source of employment for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities in the United States. More than 600 participating nonprofit organizations employ these individuals and provide quality goods and services to the Federal Government at a fair market price. The AbilityOne Program is administered by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission (, an independent Federal agency, with assistance from National Industries for the Blind (NIB, and NISH—Creating Employment Opportunities for People with Significant Disabilities (


Eastern Carolina Vocational Center (ECVC) is a nonprofit company established in 1965 and a member of NISH’s network of Community Rehabilitation Programs. Its social mission is “to help people with disabilities attain a higher quality of life through achievement of their vocational goals.” The company’s local and federal government contracts provide financial stability to help support its mission. Its Vocational Placement & Training Services staff help secure competitive employment positions for people with disabilities at community businesses. Contact: Ellen Jackson, Director of Customer Services, 252-317-3123, Website:

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