Meet Doug Northey, “one of the most important people in the kitchen”.
Aspire Careers recently received a placement opportunity for a steward on the kitchen dishwashing team with the Hyatt Lodge, a four-star hotel/resort on McDonald’s corporate campus in Oak Brook, IL. “And the first person we thought of was Doug Northey,” said Margie Chaloupka, Associate Director of Aspire’s Career Academy. According to Margie, the timing could not have been better for Doug, a longtime participant at Aspire who recently moved from his family’s house into a community home. After working in quality assurance and office positions, Doug was ready for a new career challenge. “All he needed was the confidence to take the next step,” said Margie. For Doug, that “next step” was joining Aspire on a job-shadowing visit to the Hyatt.
Once he could see first-hand what the job entailed, he was comfortable and eager to take on his new role. Today, his primary responsibility is unloading dishes, glasses and cookware from the Hyatt’s large, commercial dishwasher and putting them back in place so they’re ready for use, quickly and efficiently. It’s a busy job, especially at the Hyatt, which operates two onsite restaurants plus room service. And that makes Doug “one of the most important people in our kitchen, working in a very important position,” said General Manager Norm Mansfield. “We can’t serve food if our dishes aren’t clean.”
Getting the job was a turning point for Doug. “For day one, we could see how happy he was to be here,” said Hyatt Lodge Human Resources Director Janice Rosero. “You can tell how proud he is of his work by the way he carries himself,” added Doug’s supervisor and Executive Steward Danielle Robinson. According to Norm, hiring Doug is on par with the Hyatt’s corporate commitment to bring people with disabilities into the workforce. “Our foundation is built on hiring people of all abilities,” he said. By proactively demonstrating that commitment, Hyatt has been able to tap into a new pool of workers – people like Doug, who are anxious for job opportunities that other candidates may not even consider. “It’s an elementary notion to say that someone with a disability can’t do something,” said Hyatt Lodge Chef Steve Langley. “Doug not only has the dedication, dependability and focus to get the job done, but he’s a great guy. We’re proud to have him on our team. Now more at ease in his job, Doug interacts regularly with Steve and enjoys talking with his coworkers. He’s also more proactive, leaving the kitchen when he’s not busy to search for dishes that need washing. “Doug has a great work ethic,” said Norm. “If we could clone him 10 times, we would.”