Each week he turns hundreds of pounds of cubed meats into Meridian Shishkabobs, assembles dozens of custom freezer packs, and he keeps the back end of our store organized and spic ‘n span. Whatever task he’s doing, he does with a smile, and brings real positive energy to the whole team.
Meet Joel Jensen. Meridian Meats, Port Coquitlam store ACE (Ambassador of Customer Experience). Every week, he’s at your service.
Not only is Joel an exceptional employee, he also lives with Autism. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with things like social skills, speech and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviours, as well by some unique strengths and differences.
Joel was first diagnosed with Autism at the age of 19. He attended school at Nestor Elementary, then Gleneagle Secondary. Following his graduation, Joel entered the workforce, and in August, 2017 he was hired at our Poco store, officially joining our Meridian family!
“I like keeping things clean and organized.” said Joel. “And I like helping people. Even though I may not have all the answers, I try my best to help customers out to the best of my ability.”
Meeting Joel for the first time, most of our customers would never guess that he lives with Autism. He doesn’t tell people, and he doesn’t wear any special pin or sign explaining his disorder – after all, he lives with Autism – but Autism isn’t his identity. “All my life I’ve known I’m a bit different. But I try my best to be normal. I grew up playing sports and things like that, just like everyone else.”
Since November 2017, Joel has worked more than 300 hours at Meridian Meats. He’s never been late, never missed a shift, and he’s never had a bad day. “He’s perpetually happy,” says Kevin McHugh, Joel’s manager, adding “he’s an exceptional employee. Always trying to get tasks done faster and faster each time. You won’t find a person more willing to go the extra mile to help a fellow co-worker, a friend, or customer.”
Joel’s commitment and disciplined work ethic have won him the respect and praises of everyone he works with. He works hard, always stays productive, and he has fun doing it.
Our family business is growing, and so is the size of our Meridian family of awesome staff, including others, like Joel, who live with Autism or other disabilities. Just like any family, we embrace the unique qualities, gifts and talents of every member. And we’re grateful for the privilege we have to serve alongside one another, and do our best to make your Meridian experience remarkable.
“It’s a team environment here. A happy environment. It’s awesome.” ~Joel Jenson