Local Boy Comes Home


By: Dr Richard Pimentel

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” — Albert Einstein.

Einstein was thought of as anything but a genius when he was young. Life for him was like a fish trying to climb a tree. Then he found his lake. Mathematics. His story is not unlike many of our own stories. We of course are not geniuses as Einstein was but we all have a spark of genius our “music within” that we seek to discover and a “lake” that we hope to find.

When I was disabled in Vietnam I was sent home to Portland Oregon. At the time I was very much felt like a fish trying to climb a tree. It was not till years later that I realized that I did not have to search for my lake. I was sent home to it. The Portland/Beaverton area gave me the support and encouragement that I needed to be a part of the early disability rights and inclusion movement in the United States and eventually around the world.

I would like to take this moment to give a “shout out” to the individuals, organizations and employers who provided me with the “lake” I needed to learn to swim.

Portland State. When I was told by the Veterans Administration that my hearing was too damaged to ever become a professional speaker the head of the speech department, Ben Padrow told me “nonsense.” He worked with me for five years to achieve my goal.

Pacific Power & Light. When I was a college student in the 1970s I was working with disabled Vietnam veterans to try to get them jobs. PP&L donated their auditorium to me to conduct free trainings for persons with disabilities in the Portland/Beaverton area on how to find employment and be successful on the job.

When I was unexpectedly invited to Washington DC to attend the President’s Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities I was a student and had no money to attend. PP&L raised funds and paid my way so I could learn and return and help persons with disabilities in our community.

U.S. National Bank of Oregon. When I was a student and had an untested idea to develop a supervisor training to change attitudes towards the hiring and development of employees with disabilities. U.S. bank offered to “donate 200 supervisors for me to “practice” on and help develop the program. That program eventually became the “Windmills” Changing the Perception of Abilities employer training that is not the international standard for diversity training for persons with disabilities.

Tektronix, Beaverton Oregon.  One of the first employers to use and support the Windmills program. One of the undisputed leaders in diversity, inclusion for all their employees. They were one of the first national employers to train their supervisors in disability awareness.

“The California Governors Committee on Employment of the Handicapped” In 1979 they funded a nationwide search to identify the most effective and innovative ideas to change employer attitudes toward the hiring and promoting of persons with disabilities. They identified Portland/Beaverton area as the leader in the country. They funded Oregon’s model internationally.

Art Honeyman. A Portland State student, a disability activist, poet and a staple at the “Saturday Market” in Portland. He taught me that there was more to disability than my own challenges.  He became a friend and mentor for life.

THE PORTLAND/BEAVERTON METRO AREA.  The seeds of the disability inclusion movement are not associated with the Portland Beaverton area simply because I lived there. It is because the area lived in me. Its values, its support, its philosophy and its standards became my lake. Without it I might still be trying to climb that tree.

Your company can be someone’s lake, the environment where your employees will find and in return give meaning. On October 19th I am coming home. I may have left our home many years ago but our home has never left me.


Why attend Amplify!?

Because disability inclusion matters.
It benefits business.
It benefits us all.

Why Amplify!?

By: Cindy Bahl, Business Development Manager & Amplify! Event Coordinator, Dirkse Counseling & Consulting, Inc.

Why Amplify!?  

You may be asking yourself: Why is Amplify! important to me and my business?  Why should I attend the October 19th event?  How will this event make a difference in my company, in my diversity hiring and overall goals and success?  All good questions that deserve answers. Here are my top 3 reasons why you should attend:

  1. You will be inspired; I can almost guarantee it!  Our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Richard Pimentel (a PSU graduate and Portland native) has an amazing story he tells with his gift of speech, humor and poignant, real-life examples.  He will motivate and encourage you to find your own “Music Within” as well as help others find their music.   Get a preview by watching the movie trailer.
  2. You will be encouraged to look at the abilities of people in a new and diverse way.
  3. You will be challenged to consider how your personal unconscious bias may be affecting your ability to see the many benefits of hiring individuals who experience disabilities, specifically Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD).

The previous blog post defined Amplify! as a tool to help employers learn how they can access an untapped workforce by including individuals with I/DD in their workplace. Amplify! Is a cultural movement designed to encourage and equip Oregon businesses to build their workforce and community through disability inclusiveness for people of ALL abilities.

Amplify! Will help you make some noise by:

Amping up your workforce and company culture

Amping up your diversity goals

Amping up our community

This is Amplify Success!  And you won’t want to miss it; October 19th, 2017 – 8:00-11:00am (Plus free breakfast and networking!)  Register Today!

What Is Amplify!?

By: Cindy Bahl, Business Development Manager & Amplify! Event Coordinator, Dirkse Counseling & Consulting, Inc.

What Is Amplify!?

When you hear the word “Amplify” what do you think of? I think of music; sounds that resonate harmoniously and increase in volume and intensity. My friends who play the electric guitar or bass wouldn’t think of performing without their own amplifier to project their unique sounds. They practice and work hard to share the music but it must be amplified to be completely effective.

Amplify! Is an event designed to help the business community hear how they can access an untapped workforce and find skilled, reliable individuals with unique talents and abilities who can contribute to their company growth and success.

Amplify! Will shatter barriers and myths by educating employers on how to attain a more diverse workforce, by bringing motivated individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) into their workplace.

Amplify! Will help employers capture an understanding of their needs and goals, and collaborate with them to find the right fit and path. Results from Amplify! will focus on the individual first, whether a candidate or a hiring manager, to gain a clear picture of what each can bring to the table for a mutually beneficial working relationship.

Amplify! Is a cultural movement designed to:

Empower Your Workforce with training tools and assessments customized to meet specific business needs.

Affirm Abilities by helping businesses identify reliable, motivated candidates while promoting diversity and inclusiveness for people of ALL abilities.

Amplify Success! Speakers and follow up content will help businesses:

  • Improve bottom line through streamlined talent acquisition and retention
  • Encourage a stronger, diverse workforce to include individuals with I/DD
  • Develop an inclusive business culture
  • Help create a more vibrant community

Harmonious sound does not usually occur on its own; it happens when people and their instruments come together, collaborate, practice and perform. The result is accomplished with the help of an amplifier projecting the sounds created. Amplify! Will bring employers together and provide the instruments and tools to help create a more diverse culture with the end result being a productive, inclusive, collaborative workplace and community… this is Amplify Success!

Empower Your Workforce
Affirm Abilities
Amplify Success!