Jan and her family
February 23, 2021 – Jan Tindall, who recently retired from Reynolds & Reynolds in Celina, has received the Albert Heckler Award from the Mercer County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
The annual award recognizes individuals who provide exemplary service to people with disabilities in Mercer County. In her long career at Reynolds & Reynolds, Jan oversaw the plant’s initiative to work with people with developmental disabilities, one of the area’s first, and certainly the largest, employers to do so.
For decades, Reynolds & Reynolds has welcomed workers with many different levels of abilities. That has required imagination, planning, encouragement, discipline and attention to detail. Jan supplied all of that plus unswerving support for the associates who worked at the plant.
,Mercer DD Superintendent Shawn Thieman
“So many of our individuals went through the doors of Reynolds & Reynolds to go to work there.Jan taught them how to follow the rules and meet expectations at a workplace. With Reynolds & Reynolds, we first dipped our toe into community employment, and Jan led the way.”
The relationship between what was then Cheryl Ann and its CA Group and Reynolds & Reynolds developed because Jan had the vision and the drive to help make it happen.
Jan said –
“Around 1990, I was put in a new role, overseeing safety and the facility at our Celina plant, and that included working with people from CA Group. When we first got the opportunity (to partner with CA Group), we knew that it was the right thing for our community, to include individuals with disabilities in our workplace. And it just grew from there. Whenever there was a new job in the plant, we always thought, ‘Would this be a good job for somebody from CA Group?’”
Jan had never worked with people with developmental disabilities before they came to work at Reynolds & Reynolds. She soon found that she had the heart for it, Thieman said.
“It can’t always have been easy for her. Prior to Reynolds & Reynolds, it didn’t always happen that our people were accepted in the workplace. Jan made it feel like it was their workplace, that they were a part of it and many eventually became Reynolds & Reynolds employees. Some were able to retire from there. And while they were working, they had days off, birthday celebrations, just like everybody else.
“And they were expected to meet the bar that Jan set for them. Reynolds & Reynolds didn’t lower the bar for our individuals—there were the same expectations for them as for anyone else who worked there. Jan had a lot to do with creating that atmosphere.
“She took things to a whole new level. The relationships that she had with those individuals—they knew that they could call her at home if they had a problem getting to work, for instance, and she would figure out how to get them there even if she had to go pick them up herself. If they’d see her out in the community, they would run up to her like she was their best friend.”
Jan also became an advocate for community employment with other area businesses and organizations.
“Many times, local industries would call and ask to come see how we did i. We invited them in, and talked it over with them. Eventually, other employers started hiring people with disabilities after they saw what we were doing.”
Jan retired from Reynolds & Reynolds on December 22, after 46 years with the company. She said she is going to miss the everyday contact with her coworkers.
“When you work with people for so many years, it’s like family,” she said. “The best part about Reynolds & Reynolds is the people. We’ve got great people who work there—everybody is so friendly and cooperative. We live in a great community.”
The award was a nice exclamation point to her career, she said.
“Never in a million years would I have expected to receive that award. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I am very appreciative.My family was as excited about it as I was. They’ve always been so supportive of me, and told me they were proud of me.”
(For more information, contact Shawn Thieman at 419-586-2369.)