Hidden Heroes on the Job

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, an energy delivery company headquartered in Dover, DE, actively values its diverse workforce. In 2014, Vice President Stacie Roberts contacted The Arc of Delaware to inquire about hiring local individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to fill job opportunities for scanning and other administrative work needed by the Corporate Governance team.

The Arc employment team quickly responded by identifying Shannon Ryl and Jessica Hurtado as two candidates who were capable, professional and willing to take on the job responsibilities. The Arc worked with them to develop their resumes and practice their interview skills. On interview day, The Arc Employment Specialist accompanied each candidate to the office and was invited to sit in on the interview sessions, but Jessica and Shannon sold themselves by virtue of their preparation, dedication to continued growth and all-around good nature. Both were offered part-time positions.

Jessica Hurtado, Stacie Roberts and Shannon Ryl at Chesapeake Utilities Corporation

Initially, Shannon and Jessica’s project involved scanning many boxes of documents and saving those files electronically. Over time, the Chesapeake Utilities team began to add new tasks according to their strengths and skills. This progress was supported through joint discussions and consultation with The Arc Employment Specialist, on whom the they relied for input on accommodations, professional needs, skills, development, and long-term growth opportunities to ensure a successful journey for these employees.

Jessica and Shannon soon became more confident and independent in their work, taking on more projects aligned with their abilities and interests. Jessica’s creative and organizational skills expanded into assisting with team organization, planning company events, and processing invoices and expense reports. Shannon’s quick, precise and computer-savvy skills aligned well with responsibilities for performing substantive internet research, preparing presentations and analyses, assisting with meeting materials and completing numerous assignments on multiple software systems. The Arc Employment Specialist continued to be available, providing any support needed to ensure stability and success.

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown caused many employees at Chesapeake Utilities and around the world to begin working remotely. The Arc Employment Specialist assisted Shannon and Jessica with setting up their remote work areas, developing their new daily routines, getting familiar with new team collaboration software, and troubleshooting any issues that arose. Today, Shannon continues to work remotely while Jessica follows a hybrid schedule. Their flexibility and agility during this time further demonstrated the professionalism and dedication that Jessica and Shannon bring to their important roles at Chesapeake Utilities.

Their talent, hard work and success have not gone unnoticed. On October 13, 2022, Jessica and Shannon were both recognized as Hidden Heroes by the Chesapeake Utilities Women in Energy Employee Resource Group (ERG). This group is dedicated to engaging with one another and encouraging the open exchange of ideas and experiences for the betterment of all. After thoughtful deliberation, the group selects Hidden Heroes: those employees who perform many of the responsibilities behind the scenes to ensure that departments, projects and processes are efficient, effective and successful. The Hidden Hero recognitions of Shannon and Jessica honored their contributions in glowing terms:

“On any given day, Shannon may be assisting with meeting minutes and materials, conducting relevant internet research, or performing countless other tasks in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. The tasks that come across Shannon’s desk can vary significantly from day to day but she tackles each and every one with willingness and enthusiasm. Shannon’s work ethic, lightning-fast speed, and commitment to being a team player enable the team to continue to meet expectations timely and accurately. We are so very grateful to have her as part of the Corporate Governance team!”

“Jessica is instrumental in the day-to-day operations of the Corporate Governance team. From processing all of the team’s invoices and expense reports to assisting with team appreciation and holiday events, Jessica has it covered. Jessica also works hard to keep our Middletown office running smoothly by handling our filing and office supplies. Jessica performs all of these tasks and more with a positive attitude and a smile. We are so very appreciative of all of Jessica’s contributions to the Corporate Governance team!”

Congratulations to Shannon and Jessica for this prestigious award! And kudos to Chesapeake Utilities for expressing such confidence and appreciation of their valued employees. The Arc of Delaware is proud and pleased to support their success!