Employee of the Year – Frenchie Randolph
Frenchie Randolph began her employment with Wiscraft on June 16th of 2010. Having been with us for less than two years, it goes without saying that Frenchie has made a phenomenal impression on everyone she has met since starting in our Assembly & Packaging area. The first thing that you’ll notice about Frenchie is that she carries herself with a sense of confidence and pride even in new and unfamiliar situations. She always stands straight and speaks affirmatively – whether it is with her co-workers or to Wiscraft President, Jim Kerlin – you get the sense that she is the kind of person who fears nothing and could accomplish anything.
Once you get to know Frenchie it’s impossible not to be impressed by her. She has brought a unique combination of intelligence, humor, and caring to the Wiscraft family. When asked about her job Frenchie says that the thing she enjoys most is the people she gets to work with. “We all get along and can help each other with problems – we can always find a solution for each other – whether the problem is work-related or personal”. She continued with, “I really just like the atmosphere of the people I work around”. While she humbly attributes the atmosphere to others, it’s plain to everyone that she contributes quite significantly to the atmosphere as well.
At the age of one it was discovered that Frenchie had a condition that caused damage to the optic nerve, which led to moderate vision loss. She explains that her vision deteriorated over time, and when she was 22 it was discovered that she had Glaucoma, which eventually consumed almost all remaining vision – leaving only light and color perception. Despite this incredible obstacle put in her path, Frenchie remained optimistic and steadfast in her desire to learn and improve.
She had initially enrolled in college at Alverno in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but withdrew when the Glaucoma began to severely limit her visual acuity. Rather than give up she looked for ways to adapt and move past her vision loss. She reached out to low-vision resources at both Milwaukee Area Technical College and the Badger Association of the Blind in order to obtain the skills necessary to succeed. Through these programs she conquered everything from Orientation & Mobility to computing to cooking.
With her new training Frenchie then set her sights back on education. In 2004 she enrolled at Milwaukee Area Technical college and received a certificate in medical transcription. Unfortunately, she was unable to find a position in this field, but again she kept going. Re-enrolling herself in school and ultimately achieving her associates degree in teaching in May of 2011. Ever improving, her goal is now to attend Cardinal Stritch University in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in education with a certificate in special education. Her ambition is to work as an educator with special needs children. She says, “I want to be able to help the children who need it most”.
These accomplishments might seem amazing on their own, but throughout her journey Frenchie also balanced raising a family. When she was in her early twenties, Frenchie began caring for three of her cousins who were left without a caretaker after the passing of her grandmother. Soon after, Frenchie began a family of her own and continues to raise her 2 boys and a girl – ages 15, 17, and 20. Frenchie says, “I try to help them do as much as they can, so they can have all the opportunities that I have. I like to try to help young adults reach for the top.”
Furthermore, Frenchie has had excellent attendance, only missing 3 days, all due to the death of her father last year. She has an overall average efficiency rating of 96%, with a quality rating of 100%. She has helped our engineer to evaluate several pilot projects, along with helping in developing process improvements that allow totally blind employees to work on all jobs in the plant. Recently, Frenchie worked closely with the NIB Occupational Engineers and the Wiscraft staff to develop the Briggs & Stratton Shroud Label application fixture and tooling, which resulted in substantial increases in productivity and quality. Assembly & Packaging Manager, Mike Girard, summed it up perfectly by saying, “Her skills are exceptional”.
Frenchie’s positive attitude and perseverance in the face of adversity have helped her achieve success in all areas of her personal life, work, and education. She is truly an exemplary representative of the great things that individuals with vision loss are capable of, and deservedly, our Employee of the Year for 2012!