Helena Industries Community Programs

by admin

  • Posted on May 24, 2016

  • Comments Off on Helena Industries Community Programs

  • News

  Success Story for Ryan

Success Story - Ryan

The two men who arrived to repair the grandfather clock a the Montana Club were an odd pair.  Marvin, a mature gentleman and the owner of Barnes Jewelry, accompanied by his employee Ryan. Ryan appeared quite a bit younger than his 25 years. The pair stood in front of the antique clock, studying it for a few minutes before either of them spoke.  

“What tools are we going to need?” Marvin finally asks, quizzing Ryan,”What do we need to do first?”

“Take out the screws,” Ryan instructs as he hands Marvin a screwdriver. Marvin waggles the screwdriver, “Is it okay if I pinch your fingers?” Marvin asks.  Ryan rolls his eyes, “Marvin!” he replies with a laugh.

The teasing light hearted banter never ends between these two. Marvin describes their working relationship by saying, “I’m like the dad who doesn’t know anything.” Indeed, if you asked Ryan who the boss is, he’ll  tell you that it is Stacy, “The one who signs the paychecks!”

The grandfather clock that they are working on is a Chippendale, Circa 1885. The clock has a tendency to run fast so Marvin and Ryan regulate the time in it weekly. Ryan winds the clocks carefully while Marvin supervises. Marvin has many stories to tell about the clock, including about how the clock survived a fire in 1903 leaving it with soot marks from the ash. Marvin also remembers having to bolt the clock to a wall after a failed robbery attempt.

Marvin continually engages Ryan throughout the repair process, asking questions, giving instructions and on the way back from the store he jokingly threatens to splash Ryan in the puddles, suggesting they jay walk across the street. Ryan declines and holds firm. There will be no jaywalking for this young man; he thrives on following rules and procedures.

Marvin likes to mix it up a little, “I encourage Ryan to say what is on his mind, I want him to have the freedom to make his own choices and be himself.”

Ryan has been employed at Barnes Jewelry for over a year now. He works approximately six hours a week, and is on paid on a salary.

Ryan was able to get this position through the help and support of Helena Industries.

His job coach, Ann Britton, walked into Barnes jewelry on a cold call and asked if they would consider hiring Ryan. Together Ann and Marvin discussed creating a position and what it would look like.

“Marvin was very receptive, ” Ann reports, “so I brought Ryan down to meet him.”  Ryan remembers feeling, “a little bit nervous but also feeling welcome.”

The position started out with some pretty basic duties such as: vacuuming, cleaning glass and emptying the garbage can’s. Ann, Ryan’s job coach, helped him learn these task.

Marvin and Stacy daily take it to the next level. When Ryan asks if he can help or try something new, they eagerly agree. Ryan has learned how to string beads (his personal favorite) and wind clocks. He helps put batteries in watches, takes money from customers and when Stacy and Marvin are busy, Ryan helps customers however he can. In addition, Ryan uses the calculator on his phone to add up the bank deposit slips and runs errands to the bank and post office.

Ann is very proud of Ryan and what he has accomplished. Ann describes Ryan as, “Very independent and a people pleaser.” However, she goes on to say that, “If he doesn’t agree with something, he will tell you.”

Marvin and Stacy have created a rare opportunity for Ryan. They focus on his strengths, allow him to grow both personally and professionally and provide a fabulous work environment. They were honored last year at the Helena Industries annual picnic with a Community Service Award.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please consider doing two additional things:

  1. Head into Barnes jewelry and check out their shop. They sell watches and clocks and always have a good story to tell. Make sure that you go near the tip of the hour; there is nothing quite like the sound of every clock in the store chiming in unison. Before you leave, thank Marvin an Stacy for all they do for this community.
  2. If you are an employee, consider extending an opportunity to a person with a disability. Helena Industries is often looking for work sites to bring people to do a job shadow, a short work experience as well as permanent employment. You can reach us at (406) 442-8632. Ask for Ona or one of the job coaches.

Director of Community Programs


Success Story for Dustin


Dustin Reed is the new owner and Senior Web Technician for Innovative Solutions Group on Last Chance Gulch. Check out their website at: www.inovativhosting.com.

Dustin graduated from Helena College in 2011 with an Associate’s degree in Webmaster. While in school, he performed an internship at Innovative and worked for Dan and Val Deininger. Innovative does web publishing, web design and web hosting.

Dustin applied for services at Montana Vocational Rehabilitation Services and came to Helena Industries for placement services. We were tasked with helping him find employment within his field. Dustin’s disability made that a bit challenging: Dustin has nerve damage in his hands. While we were busy doing that, we arranged for Dustin to go back to Innovative for a Work Experience. Voc Rehab paid his wages and he worked part time. When the work experience ended, Dan hired him.

Dustin started out performing server maintenance and some “pretty tedious tasks”. Helena Industries followed along for about three months and Dustin’s case was successfully closed.  Dan would update me every once in a while on how things were going. Dustin began doing some freelance work mainly building websites using WordPress. He showed the program to Dan and they started moving everything into WordPress and Dan continued to give new responsibilities to Dustin.

Imagine my surprise when Dan told me a month ago that he and Val were selling their business and going full time into church ministry. They offered to sell their business to their sons but they were pursuing other dreams.  Dustin remembers the phone call he got from Dan one night, asking if he was interested in taking over the business.  Despite being excited and a bit scared, he remembered to say “yes!”

As of April 1, 2016, Dustin has five employees: a graphic designer, a project manager, an accountant/business manager, a salesperson and a website designer.  What does the future hold for this company? Dustin states they are moving forward with content management systems, such as WordPress, which allows clients to maintain their own websites.

When he isn’t working, you can find Dustin outside in any number of outdoor activities. Fishing is his favorite passion, especially up at Hauser Dam.

If you want to contact Dustin about his company or to talk to him about fishing, he can be reached at: 406-495-9291.

Congratulations Dustin! Well done!

Director of Community Programs


About the Author