Westar Energy partners with Goodwill Industries and Edgar James Apparel
Goodwill’s Edgar James Apparel is grateful to have the ongoing support of Westar Energy as – together – we help Goodwill serve its mission to provide opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities and other employment barriers.
As a strong community advocate, Westar’s partnership with Goodwill started when Jimmy Martinez, Westar’s director of regional operations in the Wichita area, accepted an invitation to serve on the board of directors.
“I really enjoy working with an organization that has a great purpose and personal meaning for me,” Martinez said. “Goodwill employs individuals with developmental disabilities and helps them contribute to our community and lead productive lives. They match those skills with area companies that have a business need for their services, creating a strong network that makes the community better.”
Martinez is one of about 150 Westar employees who serve on 200 community boards throughout the state. Westar employees logged more than 18,000 volunteer hours and donated approximately $500,000 to community organizations last year. The Westar Foundation matched those gifts and gave $2 million in philanthropic support. The company encourages employee volunteerism and also looks for ways to support local businesses, like Goodwill.
Since joining the organization through board service, Martinez has sought ways to support Goodwill’s mission. “Jimmy and the Westar employees have been absolutely wonderful to work with,” said Goodwill’s VP, Marketing and Development Molly Fox. “What began as board service turned into hours of employee volunteerism, generous financial contributions and the purchase of customized safety vests from Edgar James Apparel.”
Because Westar employees work on electrical lines, often high-voltage and above ground level, special modifications had to be made to existing safety vests, already meeting ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 Level ll, Class II standards. “We were both honored and delighted to have the opportunity to customize a safety vest for Westar, our valued Goodwill partner,” said Edgar James Apparel’s Customer Account Manager Misty Eldringhoff. Their specifications resulted in Edgar James’ Arc & Fire Resistant Modacrylic Safety Vest. This durable, high visibility vest is made with Arc & Fire Resistant Modacrylic mesh, 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material and features a reinforced lanyard opening on the back essential for safety harness use. “Edgar James is pleased knowing Westar is using the best product for their work, keeping their employees safe while in the field,” Eldringhoff added.
Marc Welsh, Westar’s director of safety and training, leads Westar’s safety team that works directly with Goodwill to manufacture the safety vests used by the company. “Employee safety remains a constant focus for us,” Welsh said. “The employees at Goodwill’s Edgar James Apparel do a great job of making our safety vests, which help us provide a very visible reminder that we value safety at all times and in all situations. I like that we can employ local people to fulfill a business need. This is a partnership where everyone wins.”