For most of his professional life, planet Earth was Wayne
Marshall’s gameboard. Using the computer on his desk, he moved
his company’s electronics products across the nation and around
the world. Then his Huntsville-based company downsized and Wayne
saw his 25-year career as a global logistics manager come to an
At the same time, he was facing another loss — his sight. The condition was congenital progressive myopia compounded by macular degeneration and had worsened in recent years. As a unemployed middle-aged professional with a wife and college-age son, Wayne’s worsening vision only made his job search more difficult. Despite his impressive credentials and after nearly a year of job interviews, there were no offers. “We were stretched financially,” Wayne said, “but the layoff focused our faith and strengthened our family.”
One day at church, a deaf friend who was familiar with Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services suggested he contact the department. For Wayne, it was a hard phone call to make.“I had to swallow my pride to get help from ADRS,” said Wayne, “because I didn’t understand what the department did.” It was Wayne’s first giant step back into the world of work.
Vocational Rehabilitation Services Counselor Roosevelt Love and Employer Development Coordinator Crispin Terry teamed up to prepare Wayne for his comeback. Wayne’s first lesson was how to explain, not hide, his vision problem to potential employers.“Progressive companies are very understanding about disabilities and more than willing to make accommodations,” said Terry. “Their biggest concern is finding quality employees.” As Terry reviewed her employer contacts, one such company seemed like the perfect match for Wayne — Huntsville’s Sanmina SCI, a leading electronics manufacturer with more than 160 facilities operating around the world. The company also had a strong relationship with ADRS and a history of employing people with disabilities.
Tom Avery, Sanmina’s human resources manager, said SCI is committed to a diverse workforce that includes people with disabilities. After the company saw Wayne’s qualifications, his vision problems “didn’t bother us in the least,” he said.
Today, Wayne is back at his computer, his gameboard a lot larger than before, moving Sanmina SCI products around the globe. “We prayed a lot when I was out of work,” said Wayne. “We prayed for the right job with the right people and the right company. Our prayers have been answered.”