NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – For Eric Poulin, his strong work ethic, kind spirit and willingness to show others the ropes have made him invaluable to his teammates at Exchange’s Dan Daniel Distribution Center, where he’s worked since 2000.
His inspiring tenacity has earned him the Outstanding Department of Defense Employee with a Disability Award. Poulin will be honored at a ceremony at the Pentagon Washington, D.C., in October.
“Eric is truly a role model,” said Dan Daniel Distribution Center Manager Scott Montgomery. “His outstanding work ethic and positive attitude have proven invaluable to the Exchange mission of family serving family.”
During a ceremony at the distribution center last month, Poulin, 47, received star treatment from Executive Vice President/Chief Logistics Officer Karen Stack, President/Chief Merchandising Officer Ana Middleton and other senior leaders. All his coworkers gathered near a podium, clapping and cheering for him during a standing ovation.
Poulin, who has mild cerebral palsy, works in warehouse receiving in cross dock and transshipping, one of the distribution center’s most complex areas. He’s known for his accurate work, and he’s regularly asked to train other associates—something he looks forward to.
“I know how to train people while I’m on the job,” the Newport News native said, adding that helping others learn is his favorite part of working for the Exchange.
Because of his strong work ethic, Poulin steps in wherever he’s needed, sometimes working seven days a week.
“I will work in other areas to help them out,” he said. “Sometimes I load trucks. I do picking. I sort merchandise. I do all kinds of things, whatever they want me to do.”
His parents, Gary and Jane Poulin, laid the groundwork for his success, always believing in him.
“Eric has such perseverance to do a good job,” his mother said. “He’s just a good, kind person and a hard worker.”
Stack called Poulin an inspiration to the Exchange family.
“We are proud that Eric works in Logistics for the Exchange,” Stack said. “It’s not what you can’t do, it’s what you can do. The glass is always half full with Eric. He proves that hard work gets you far in life.”
Connection to Family Serving Family
When Poulin isn’t working, he stays active in the Hampton Roads community through Special Olympics and CLUBWAKA, a sports organization. He also enjoys coaching kids soccer, working with athletes from preschoolers to
Poulin’s brother-in-law serves in the Marine Corps, giving Poulin a connection to the Exchange’s core value of “Family Serving Family.” That connection is evident through Poulin’s dedication to the Exchange and his commitment to troops and their families.
“He is the ideal associate that everyone would want on their team,” said his supervisor, Chris Taylor. “He is very dedicated and always willing to assist in any area, eager to tackle challenges without hesitation and displays outstanding quality of work. He understands the importance of how critical his position is to our company.”
The Exchange is dedicated to a diverse, inclusive workforce. Exchange managers partner with Human Resources to recruit, retain and advance people with targeted disabilities.
Non-competitive hiring for entry-level positions, providing reasonable accommodations, active community outreach and retaining interns from the Workforce Recruitment Program are tools Exchange managers use to hire people with disabilities.