Their Success is Our Success

Each year, RESPECT of Florida honors employees with disabilities who work diligently to produce RESPECT commodities and/or services. Awards are given for Commodities Employee of the Year, Services Employee of the Year, Most Improved Employee of the Year, and Rookie of the Year.

Each of the nominees are guests of honor at the Annual Awards Luncheon. The celebratory occasion formally recognizes all the nominees for a job well done, and for the category award winners, it is also an opportunity to be recognized for exceeding their employer's expectations. The nominees not only benefit from this very special sense of achievement, it is also a significant high point for the nominee's family members and caregivers.

The recognition process celebrates employment achievement - which is truly at the heart of the missions of both RESPECT of Florida and its partner Employment Centers. The goal is to celebrate employees with disabilities who have genuinely made significant progress towards independence, and who have demonstrated success in their employment and relationships with others. Congratulations to our 2020 winners!

2020 Commodities Employee of the Year

Lily Kindred is described as someone who is a "positive light" by RESPECT partner Brevard Achievement Center and is a leader who consistently sets aggressive goals for herself. Lily tackles her work with enthusiasm, and no job is too daunting, big, or small for her. The products Lily works on have steadily grown and expanded over the past five years, and now Lily regularly achieves 90 to 100% productivity. Because she has the drive to learn and excel in her work with RESPECT, Lily was one of the four participants in the Adult Day Training Program who was approached about applying to staff positions within the BAC production facility while ADT was closed to participants. Even with the additional PPE and COVID-19 safety protocols in place, Lily exceeded all of the productivity thresholds and was able to get the job done no matter what.

2020 Services Employee of the Year

Matthew Seeger is an employee who strives to be an excellent agent with the DMS Call Center with RESPECT partner ServiceSource. During the beginning stages of the pandemic, Matthew did a phenomenal job taking calls directed to the Department of Economic Opportunities for the status of their unemployment checks. He gave support for the citizens of the State of Florida, handling various callers, who at times would call in literally crying for help because they had no unemployment money coming in.  He even helped a caller who stated they wanted to commit suicide due to their economic situation. Matthew has always wanted to help people, and the RESPECT contract allows him to help dozens of people every day.



2020 Most Improved Employee of the Year

Scot Abshire works at RESPECT partner Louise Graham Regeneration Center and has shown tremendous growth in developing a positive attitude. Before working on RESPECT desk calendars, Scot had very little patience towards fellow employees and his work. Working on the RESPECT desk calendars helped Scot tremendously to learn patience and wait his turn for the portion of the job he was completing without becoming frustrated. Once he learned all aspects of the job, collating the months, placing the cardboard on the back of the calendar, and sealing the plastic bags, Scot's attitude changed, and he has since been described as "radiant." Scot now displays a good work ethic and is willing to do all tasks, including the less desirable ones - this is a fantastic transformation.

2020 Rookie of the Year

Silvia Dozier works with RESPECT partner SMA Healthcare at the Flagler County Weigh In Motion. Silvia has proven herself to be the consummate professional, giving attention to even the most minor details making it difficult for inspectors to find anything left undone or requiring attention. This attention to detail is a huge accomplishment and a tremendous asset! Silvia is exceptionally kind, always cheerful, and supportive of others.  Her personality radiates, and others instantly like her. An example of how much she is liked: on her birthday, the FDOT Weigh In Motion employees brought in cupcakes and gave her a house plant to show their appreciation for all that she does to make the environment a good place to be.


2020 Outstanding Employees

  • Trisha Adams, Arc of the Bay
  • Anthony Hilery, GCE
  • Lucy Pistey, Goodwill Industries Big Bend
  • Vince Clause, Gulfstream Goodwill
  • Ian Levine, Gulfstream Goodwill
  • Ravi Latchman, Lighthouse Works!
  • Norman Gibson, Lighthouse Works!
  • Malvin Fahie, Lighthouse Works!
  • Carol Davis, Lighthouse Works!
  • Felisha Thomas, Louise Graham Regeneration Center
  • Theresa Jules, Palm Beach Habilitation Center
  • Bruce Mayo, Palm Beach Habilitation Center
  • Joe Quinn, PARC
  • Eric Webster, Pine Castle


Micro-Enterprise Grant for Self-Employment

To honor the entrepreneurial spirit, RESPECT annually awards at least one $12,500 Micro-Enterprise Grant to a Floridian with a disability to start or enhance their own business. The grant opportunity is generally released in July through RESPECT's partner network and awarded in August.

Previous Grant Winners

  • 2020 - Geneva Wilkinson, Chick-a-dee’s Crafty Creations
  • 2020 - Branden Hankins & Maryssa Weaver, Pasco Pickers
  • 2019 - Ellie Brown, Brady's Biscuits
  • 2019 - Eric Matos, Eric's Wood Crafts
  • 2018 - Steven Graham, Steven By Design
  • 2017 - Tiffany Roper, The Plant Princess
  • 2017 - Eddie Rodriguez, Ybor Eddie's Hot Sauce
  • 2016 - Thaddeus Wilkins, Oceanspray Photography
  • 2015 - Jeff Shell, Jeff's Corner Garden
  • 2015 - Moira Rossi, Moira's Ventures