ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Joan Wysoske, chief, Army Contracting Command-Rock Island's Contract Closeout Branch, was chosen as a 2012 Chicago Lighthouse Community Partner Award recipient Oct. 18.

Wysoske and Carolyn Young, ACC-RI chief, Reachback Division, will attend an award presentation at the Chicago Lighthouse in Chicago.

Wysoske received the award because of the support the Closeout Branch provides to visually impaired Chicago Lighthouse employees. Six contracting professionals, two warehouse personnel and a supervisor from Chicago Lighthouse are assigned to work under the task order awarded by ACC-RI to Chicago Lighthouse under the AbilityOne program.

Wysoske is surprised that her management of the employees would be considered distinctive enough for an award.

"I treat them as an integrated part of the team," she said. "I don't treat them any different than anyone else on the team."

Wysoske added that the only difference between the Chicago Lighthouse employees and other members of the team are the reasonable accommodations that have been made, things like reassigning data entry to a procurement technician for visually-impaired employees who find
maneuvering the database difficult, and adding equipment and software to work stations to make viewing small print easier.

"The accommodations we've made have been minimal," she said. "The key is finding what aspect of the job is harder or easier for them and then their supervisor, Elliot Boston and I work
around that. With some very small process improvements, they are performing at the same level as anyone else on the team."

Wysoske said she and other ACC-RI leaders have been very pleased with the output by the Chicago Lighthouse employees. A contract was awarded during the last week of fiscal year 2012 to bring on an additional six or seven contracting professionals and a procurement clerk, all
from Chicago Lighthouse.

AbilityOne is a mandatory source for contract management services. The task order for these services was awarded under the overriding AbilityOne contract that was then assigned to the National Industry for the Blind or the National Industry for the Severely Handicapped as leads.

In this case, NIB took the lead, which subcontracted with Chicago Lighthouse which was the closest regional agency to Rock Island Arsenal.

Young said the entire ACC-RI organization is proud of Wysoske's work with the Chicago Lighthouse employees.

"This award is reflective of her personal and professional commitment to providing opportunities for individuals with visual impairment," said Young. "Our organization benefits because of these employees who are helping perform an enormous, timeintensive and important mission."