Raised Credentials

Christopher Borck and Timothy Taylor are two Commercial Services crew members who have both worked at Skils’kin for several years. As Skils’kin’s Commercial Services grows so does their need for skilled employees.
 
Skils’kin is committed to being an incubator of leadership and talent. Last December both Christopher and Timothy decided they wanted to certify their skills through training. They both registered for a forklift driving class using their annual $250 Skils’kin Education Reimbursement. They wanted to take this class to broaden their skillset, or if Commercial Services gained a new partner that would require a forklift driver, they could be first in line for the job.
 
The certification was provided through Norlift in Spokane. The one day class covered PPE/Safety, inspections, repair, mechanics, load balance and placement, approach, and loading on and off of trailers. The material was taught in a classroom setting with video instruction to supplement, and a course test finished the class, including an obstacle course. The test required them to inspect and drive a forklift through a slalom course of cones forward and backward, and lift an empty pallet and move it.
 
Both Timothy and Christopher passed the forklift tests and are now OSHA certified operators. Timothy and Christopher want to use their certifications to help guide the next steps on their career paths. Presently, both still work at Skils’kin, and for the time being, the Commercial Service department has helped develop two highly skilled employees.
 
If you’re a Skils’kin employee and want to further your skills personally or professionally ask your manager about the Skils’kin Education Reimbursement fund.

Commercial Services Partners With G and T Sales Fast Frame Kit Assembly

 

Commercial Services is always adaptable and ready to take on new projects. G&T Sales has been in the framing business for over 20 years with their The Fast Framer Kit, including all the necessary parts for the construction of small sheds or storage spaces. The kit comes with everything except the lumber. Commercial services developed an assembly system to package together kits, as a trusted partner of G & T Sales. They are manufacturers of Fast Framer Kits, Quick Framer Kits, and Dog House Framer Kits for framing anything you can think of – sheds, greenhouses, tool sheds, wood sheds, window boxes, garden trellis and much more.

If you are interested in local customized assembly, production, and shipping services contact VP of Commercial Services, Steve McBride 509.326.6760 x 2579

Skils’kin Assists Neighborhood Revitalization

Skils’kin has found success through our connections and investment in the community. Through the combined support of concerned families and business leaders, Skils’kin came to be in 1970. Since then our continuing commitment to work together with our many friends and business partners in the community has created immense success. As Skils’kin’s headquarters is located in Spokane we constantly work to live and give back to the many communities in this area. Spokane is made up of its many diverse neighborhoods. While Skils’kin is a part of many of these communities, the Commercial Services team recently made a monumental contribution to the West Central Neighborhood.

 

West Central has been a staple throughout Spokane’s history. Near the turn of the century, the majority of the neighborhood’s houses were built, and have remained standing since. The community was vibrant and filled with the blue-collar workers of the railroad industry. For years this was considered a cornerstone neighborhood of the city. During the early 1970s, Spokane experienced large economic changes and the booming commerce of the railroads declined rapidly. Due to layoffs and the rising cost of living, the West Central neighborhood began to fall into disarray and was dubbed Felony Flats as the abandoned rail yard became a hub for crime. In the early 1990s, a group of community activists came together to reclaim their once beloved neighborhood. Action was taken through community development, remodeled homes, C.O.P.S. (Community Oriented Policing Services), and new business development. West Central experienced a rebirth.

Revitalization of the West Central Neighborhood has taken time and investment from the community and is still underway today. There have been many players, and Skils’kin is proud to have contributed to Dutch Jake’s Park. Through our experience with public works projects, the Commercial Services crew was prepared to work as a contractor, while expanding our services and knowledge. On this project, we provided labor, laying down 26,000 square feet of sod, and assisted assembling the irrigation system. Starting in October of 2019, a small team began to move rocks and soil to create a level field for the play structure. During this time an irrigation system was also assembled underground. Molly Lorenzo, Commercial Services Supervisor, could feel the community connection during the project, “It was a great experience and we learned a lot… Neighbors would come by and check-in on the progress. The neighborhood was supportive.”

November 21st, 2019 was the grand reopening of Dutch Jake’s Park. It was a vibrant event on a sunny brisk day in West Central. Mayor David Condon spoke about the obvious success of the beautification project, and how much he personally enjoyed the new play structures earlier that morning. He was then followed by community members and businesses honoring the neighborhood and the many invested players in taking ownership. A community-based marching band then took the field and played off the event as families and community members enjoyed the park.

Skils’kin Commercial Services crew: Brandon Skocilich, Molly Lorenzo, Aethena Doney and Aaron Hatman

Skils’kin Grounds Crew Contributes to Making FE Warren AFB a Tree City

Skils’kin was invited to attend the 2019 FE Warren Air Force Base Arbor Day Celebration. FE Warren 90th Missile Wing Commander Col. Bonetti read and signed the Arbor Day proclamation. This event added another year FE Warren AFB as being a Tree City USA member, 31 years total.

 

To be awarded Tree City USA status the base must meet 4 core standards. Skils’kin and its employees aid in meeting these standards.
• Standard 1: A Tree Board or Department.
• Standard 2: A Tree Care Ordinance.
• Standard 3: A Community Forestry Program With an Annual Budget of at Least $2 Per Capita.
• Standard 4: An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation.

 

Skils’kin assists in meeting standard 3 on an annual basis. Tree maintenance and removals are included in the base contract and in IDIQ jobs. FE Warren Grounds is responsible for the care of all trees on the 555 acres we maintain.

 

The 2019 Arbor Celebration included an opening from Col. Bonetti, the reading and signing of the FE Warren Arbor Day proclamation by Col. Bonetti, and a ceremonial tree planting. During the opening remarks, Col. Bonetti noted how much the base vegetation has changed since it was a cavalry outpost. He noted some specific trees that were planted back in the early 1800s some of which are still standing today and are maintained by Skils’kin.

 

 

The Main Method for Instruction

At Skils’kin we prioritize our education and safety programs to create opportunities for all employees to feel comfortable, confident, and safe in their work environments. Every year Skils’kin departments are responsible for organizing and guiding monthly safety trainings that are relevant to the department activity. Ordinarily, these trainings are led by an instructor with a PowerPoint and a written test to prove competency. While these training sessions are effective and allow us to track and update our employees training it is not always the best learning environment for all of our employees. As Skils’kin considers all of the different departmental functions we ask our project managers to take ownership of their training schedule to make sure it is relevant training and teachable. Amanda Main is the Assistant Custodial Manager at the Fairchild Air Force Base who recently took her team through Ergonomics training.

In an effort to engage her team as deeply as possible Amanda Main decided to experiment with the implementation of her training. After taking in feedback from previous training sessions Amanda knew team members didn’t feel engaged through just listening, so she gave them the opportunity to do. Amanda created a role-playing situation for the training to take place in. The simulation gave participants the chance to learn by doing. Printed photos and labels transformed the training area into a van and a bathroom. Amanda asked the participants to go about tasks they would perform in their daily jobs, but the remaining team members were an audience that would “stop” the role-playing when they saw a violation of the ergonomics training. This experience engaged the whole group, allowing everyone to see and understand the training in a real-life situation. Through the excitement of the new training style, a high number of employees actively participated in the training and even went as far as to integrate more training outside of ergonomics during the simulation. From personal protective equipment to driving safety the simulated experience had the team engaged and everyone was having fun participating.

Innovation is a value at Skils’kin and applying new methods of learning allows us to accommodate everyone’s best learning style. Creating live-action situations to show competency and create engagement is a simple change that impacted our employees. We always encourage our managers to feel empowered and take ownership of what they think will make their department more effective. Through Amanda Main’s innovation, the distribution of this new training technique is underway. Employees and managers will now have more options with training to customize and teach topics in whatever method works best.

Courageous Kids Climbing Visits Spokane

“Climbing is about overcoming challenges and gaining new perspectives. Climbing has taught me that I am stronger and more capable than I think. It helps me put “real life” challenges into perspective. The lesson isn’t about getting to the top; it’s about the struggles and successes along the way. A rock wall, a rope, and a climbing partner are excellent teachers in confronting fears, overcoming perceived limitations, and practicing the art of teamwork. None of us get through lifealone, just like no one climbs alone.”-Megan Curran

Megan Curran, Director of AbilityOne Food Service Operations is a passionate person and fortunately, she has no hesitation to share her passions with others. Megan began rock climbing in 2014 and has worked with Courageous Kids Climbing since 2015. Jeff Riechmann, along with Larry Morton, founded Courageous Kids Climbing 14 years ago. Now it is an incorporated non-profit since April of this year. Jeff and Megan were two of several volunteers at Courageous Kids Climbing at the YMCA in Spokane Valley on, Saturday, September 14th in the early afternoon.

The climbing wall awaits as miscellaneous equipment lay nearby. Jeff explains, “I can get anyone up there as long as the are 3 months to 103 years old and weigh less than 300 pounds. Then he continued, “If there are problems, I have around $10,000 in equipment to help me.”

Bradyn and Kellan are a couple of the courageous kids here to climb. Kellan first tried the arc harness, a seated platform that is on ropes. He ascended past the halfway mark. Then when he joined us on the ground; he was ready to go back up, but with just the harness for aid. He made use of any grip he could and he ascended more than his previous climb. As he reached for each hold not only was determination in his eyes, so was happiness. His strength and determination was focused on the ascent.

Climber 2, Bradyn is visually impaired but also an unstoppable daredevil. He ascended multiple times and did every route except the most difficult one. His mother, Lizzy, said that he first climbed when he was 4 and now he is almost 10, Bradyn is devoted to this sport and leads a very active lifestyle.

He goes to every Courageous Kids Climbing event and Lizzy said that they are looking for someone to train him with outdoor climbing. He strives to be unhindered, free and in control. He also skis, hikes, snow shoes and rides a bike. (He is least fond of snow shoeing). He is ready for any obstacle.

Without people like Megan and Jeff many individuals might not even have a chance to best their limitations. This is good free fun that builds independence and fulfillment. Giving individuals with disabilities the opportunity to prove themselves. Megan stated, ”It’s inspiring to watch adaptive climbers reach new heights. Whether ascending in an Arc Harness or by pulling up their own bodyweight, a climber encounters new sights, textures, and sensations that shake up their everyday perception of the world. Nearly everyone can benefit from this style
of learning.”

Jeff adds, “Courageous Kids Climbing provides me the opportunity to share my love for climbing with those who may not ordinarily have the opportunity to experience climbing. This has proved to be a very rewarding experience. To see a child exceed the expectations of their parents is one of many rewards.”

The events in Spokane take place every April and September. If you would like more information, like other locations, please check Courageous Kids Climbing on Faceboook. Thank you Megan and Jeff for bringing this event to Spokane and allowing Skils’kin to be part of it.

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Megan Curran and Jeffrey Riechmann: another day with Courageous Kids Climbing.

Returning to Pay it Forward

Often in life things work out in a way that allows us to return to the good parts of our lives. Whether it’s through reflecting on nostalgic moments, a coincidence that reminds us of the past, or something deep inside that remembers and draws us back. It is what we come to know to be a part of us, it’s what we are good at, and often, it is what we believe is right. Aaron Tomcho is a Skils’kin employee who has come, and gone and returned for these reasons. Over a decade, Aaron found himself employed at Skils’kin again.
 
In 2006, Aaron began receiving DVR services from Skils’kin’s Employment Department. As a young man, Aaron was working to establish himself as a member of Spokane’s workforce. Through the services he was receiving, he completed his GED while developing his interviewing skills and confidence in job searching. Aaron soon gained employment working on the Fairchild Air Force Base as a Grounds Laborer. Throughout the year, and to the end of the summer of 2007, Aaron continued to receive DVR services; as Aaron became independent, his job coach realized he didn’t need as much support anymore. By this point, Aaron decided he no longer needed services.
 
In 2008, Aaron went on to start his independent job search, feeling prepared and confident after his supported services and first work experiences at the Fairchild Air Force Base. His DVR experience taught him that he simply needed the confidence and practice to put himself out there. Aaron knew he was skilled and motivated, but he felt so inhibited by his anxiety that he convinced himself he couldn’t do it on his own. After a year of support, he was able to present himself professionally as a strong candidate during interviews. In his newfound independence, Aaron gained employment at Sacred Heart Hospital as a Lab Assistant. In this position, Aaron continued to develop his technical skills while working towards his long-term goals. As a lab assistant, Aaron worked in a fast-paced environment handling samples and processing data for the hospital. Over the next four years, Aaron took on more responsibilities and continued to build up his confidence.
 
With a goal of going back to school, Aaron continued to develop his career plan. In 2016, he began attending Spokane Falls Community College, working towards his associate degree in information technology. Although Aaron was successful in school, he soon encountered issues affording classes. In order to complete his degree, he needed to reevaluate his timeline as a student and take on a part-time job. Utilizing his job searching skills from so many years ago, Aaron still had the skills and confidence of a professional in the job market. During this job search, he came across a Skils’kin job post and he remembered his experiences from a decade ago. Aaron said he “remembered Skils’kin was a great place to work,” and applied for a position as Food Service Worker on the Fairchild Air Force Base. Aaron was able to easily land the job through his appreciation for and previous investment in the mission. He knew Skils’kin for “being compassionate to the people they serve,” and he wanted to join the mission to back in to pay back some of the support he received. Aaron is now working at the Fairchild Air Force Base Warrior Dining Hall as a Food Service Worker and is planning on starting classes in the fall semester to pursue his goals in cybersecurity. We wish you the best of luck on your journey, Aaron.

Fort D.A. Russell Days

The military celebration Fort D.A. Russell Days at F.E. Warren Air Force Base is held in conjunction with Cheyenne Frontier Days annually. The event welcomes the public onto the Air Force Base for a full weekend of events. From historical reenactments to military demonstrations and experiences, the weekend of Fort D.A. Russell Days is the best opportunity for a civilian to explore the F.E. Warren Air Force Base and begin to understand the mission and history of one of the oldest bases in the country.
 
The weekend of Fort D.A Russell Days and Cheyenne Frontier Days are highlights of the summer in Wyoming. The popularity of the weekends continues to grow as the community rallies around the base and the continued exploration of American history. With thousands of civilians coming out to the base, and a number of high ranking military officials, the appearance of the F.E. Warren Air Force Base is of paramount importance. Leading up to this event the Skils’kin Grounds crew on the F.E. Warren Air Force Base had been anticipating and preparing for perfection throughout the weekend. While every day on the base is important, it is not too much of a stretch to say this is the most important weekend of the year, every year. With that in mind, Project Managers, Supervisors, and Laborers alike were thinking about their part in making every year’s Fort D.A. Russell Days flawless.
 
The weeks before the event the supervisors stepped up and begin to take a score of everything that needed to be maintained before the Base opened its doors to the public. From additional parking, camping areas, event areas, and the regular mowing, the Grounds team had its work cut out for them. Garrett Kirk, the Project Manager at F.E. Warren, noted the supervisors played a pivotal this year, using their collective knowledge of the event from years past to create a comprehensive plan the team was able to carry out. So leading up to the event, the grounds team was preparing and planning out irrigation and spraying that would align with the set plan for D.A. Russell Days weeks from then.
 
Included in the events of the Air Force Base this year was a tradition that had not been held at the base for the past twenty years, but this year the Thunderbirds hosted their air show over the base. In order to guarantee the success and accuracy of the pilots, the F.E. Warren Grounds team was asked to mow out the centerline to create a point of reference for them in the sky. Over 10,000 citizens came to the air show, and many of the grounds workers were able to watch as well. As the Thunderbirds rolled overhead the Skils’kin team was able to let out a breath filled with relief and pride as they had completed the final event for the weekend. The show allowed everyone to reflect on the success of the base. The Crew was then released, along with the rest of the town, for a half-day after the air show leading right into the events of Cheyenne Frontier Days. During this week the city shuts down, in a sense, to come together to enjoy their community and its history.
 
The important work of the F.E. Warren Grounds crews is meant to go unnoticed throughout the weekend. Consistent, clean, and fresh grounds are merely the backdrop of a weekend of exploration and celebration. So let’s take the effort to look around the beautiful events we are lucky enough to attend, and notice the weeks of effort that lead us to these moments, and be thankful for the small things that make the big things so great.

Elegance

Kure Products is one of Skils’kin’s Commercial Services’ fastest-growing entrepreneurial business partners. Kure works to put out the most elegant and sustainable shower dispensers on the market. As their business grows more homes, hotels, gyms, and spas are brought into the next stage of environmental practices and style. The newly designed products (featured in the image) continue to raise the bar for dispensers around the world as they penetrate the market overseas.
 
Skils’kin is proud to be a featured partner on Kure’s website. Some of the truest collaboration we take part in comes through partnerships with socially committed groups, and Kure is just that. Thank you for the ongoing support and credit as a partner, Kure, and we look forward to working together to build a better world.

A Declaration of Decoration

Recognition is just a word, but it is powerful when it becomes an action. When people are recognized for the good service they do it brings forth positive affirmation and happiness. It’s not always in monetary or material gain for it to be powerful. It just has to be given with honest appreciation for it to be impactful. It’s an action that can affect many, though it was given to one or a few.
 
When an individual or team is recognized in the Custodial department at Fairchild Air Force Base, it’s a big deal. It’s not often that the occupants of the buildings we service say thank you, let alone request one of our crew’s presence for something special. A Lieutenant Colonel from the 384 Air Refueling Squadron at building 2007 did just that.
 
On several occasions, this Lieutenant Colonel invited the custodial crew on route 3 to join the parties he would have to let those under him know he appreciated their dedication and hard work. He informed the Lead for route 3, Steven Bakken, that he very much appreciated the crew’s hard work and quality. Steven said thank you to these invitations, and he informed that Lieutenant Colonel that as much as they would like to do that they have a lot of work to do and must move on to service the other buildings on the route. The Lieutenant Colonel respected this, but it was very important to him that the custodial crew understood how much they were appreciated. Steven was told the Lieutenant Colonel would like to do something special for him and his crew the following week. He asked Steven if they could remain a little longer in his building after they were done cleaning. Steven said yes, of course.
 
Steven informed me of this conversation with the Lieutenant Colonel. He was elated for his crew but also wished all our custodians were recognized for the hard work they do every day as well.
 
The following week the Lieutenant Colonel presented and gave his squadron coin to Steven Bakken, and the custodians under him: Lyla Walker, Frederick Anderson, Marlon Barlow, and Cassidee Bursch. To be given this coin is a great honor. It was given out to this squadron for outstanding service and dedication, and going above and beyond expectations.
 
I spoke with the Lieutenant Colonel the following day because I was out when the coin was given. I thanked him for showing his appreciation in this wonderful way. He was surprised I came and thanked him, and said in a humble and sincere way, “I appreciate them. The crew is friendly, courteous and they do a wonderful job. They take their job seriously. I respect that.” I thanked him again for his appreciation.
 
This action of recognition was very much appreciated by the custodial crew on route 3, and when others hear about this recognition it will make a difference. It’s also an affirmation to them that their hard work and quality is noticed.
On behalf of route 3, Fairchild Air Force Base custodial, and all who work hard, people do notice and appreciate you.
 
Sincerely,
Kimberly Schmidt, Project Manager Skils’kin