Basin Electric employees featured in ‘Miles in Their Shoes’ videos

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Shawn Hammes, Basin Electric administrative assistant/receptionist, is often referred to as “the face of Basin” due to his work at the reception desk, and starting today, he is also the face of Bismarck-Mandan’s transit system.

Hammes, who has cerebral palsy, is featured in Miles in Their Shoes, a video that is part of a public awareness campaign by the North Dakota State Council on Developmental Disabilities designed to highlight the importance of door-to-door transportation for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Hammes has used Bis-Man Transit, a public transportation operation in Bismarck, to get to work for 19 years and says it has enabled him to “keep a job at a great company.”

The 30-second video, as well as a four-minute version of the video were released today. The four-minute version also features Shelly Wanek, Basin Electric’s manager of compensation EEO and recruitment, who says Hammes is a “rock star of customer service,” and that reliable transportation is a key to this success. Both videos can be found on YouTube and the State Council’s Facebook page. Miles in Their Shoes will also be distributed as a public service announcement to area network and cable television outlets.

More than 20 people with a stake in services for those with disabilities helped provide the background for the video. The core issue, many of them felt, is understanding the challenges and barriers those with disabilities face when trying to get around town, even with call-ahead demand-response transit.

“That inspired the title Miles in their Shoes,” says Randi Szabo of Banik Communications, who developed the video on behalf of the State Council. “For a lot of people in our communities, mobility is not easy—they have challenges that most people don’t even think about.” One of these challenges is the extra time they must build into their schedules. Hammes is one of the transit’s first pick-ups at 5:45 a.m. each weekday morning. His shift at the reception desk at Basin Electric doesn’t start until 7 a.m., but he asks for the earlier pick-up to make sure he gets there on time.

The timing of the video couldn’t be more perfect, since October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Check out the Miles in Their Shoes videos. They will give you a whole new outlook on what Hammes and others with disabilities face in their daily journeys to get to work, and appreciate even more the smile that greets you when you walk into Basin Electric.

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