- Disabilities services at University of Utah
- How accessible is Utah’s new Granger High School?
- Para Quad: Wheeling in the mobility of choice
What did you learn about yourself?
What I had believed to be unyielding confidence and security in myself quickly vanished when I did my first interview with Chris Burningham at the Center for Disability Services.
I realized that although I may be comfortable talking with people in general, when it comes to interviewing, I have had very little experience. I realized I’m used to talking, and a whole lot of talking at that. Interviewing requires a lot of listening, which is a quality I didn’t realize I lacked.
This class has opened my eyes toward making a change in how I communicate. Not just in speaking, but in making an effort to become a better listener.
How did your reporting increase your understanding of this community?
My enterprise story was the biggest realization I had towards Salt Lake and how citizens who use wheelchairs get around. Para Quad is just down the street from my parents’ business, where I have spent all of my life. Although I was aware of doing business with them, I had never visited the shop or knew what it really did. To see it make a real difference regarding wheelchair mobility is eye-opening and made me realize this city has a lot to offer the varied communities that live here.
What did you learn from your beat?
People with disabilities are very under-represented. Many places help to support them but when it comes to media representation, there is hardly any. I think getting into mainstream TV and movies would help younger kids who have disabilities feel less ostracized.
I was exposed to the professional world at a very young age. As a child, I played at my father’s business, climbing on rolls of cushion foam or letting my imagination run wild while sitting in bus seats that waited to be installed.
As a teen, I was taught some of the many trades my dad used every day to fuel his business toward success. I learned to cut leather and vinyl behind the scenes and to smile and greet customers at the front. The world got smaller as my understanding of business grew and as an adult, the work I did started to make a bigger difference.
I developed skills gained from my education and technological generation to expand our humble New Image Vans. From written invoices and casual walk-in customers, I helped maintain an expansion toward professional clientele within the car dealership and trucking industry.
I grew up watching the very best man do the very best work in the van conversion business. It was the experience gained there and studying Communication at the University of Utah that taught me to harness clarity, honesty and confidence to guide my professional self-presentation.
My personal code of ethics is always to be as transparent as possible. Be honest and open professionally and never forget the success of a business relies on the hearts and minds of the people behind the scenes.
My goal is to use my strengths in communication and understanding to serve and make a difference while staying true to my ethics and opinions.