Michael Walker of Industries Inc., a division of Phase, was named the 2019 North 65 Chamber of Commerce Employee of the Year during the chamber’s 35th annual luncheon Nov. 20.

Walker, a 10-year employee of Industries Inc., was honored for his hard work and dedication to those served by the company, as well as his drive to help them succeed.

Other nominees for employee of the year included Neil Anderson, Scotsman-County News Review; Brenda Cowles, Isanti Physical Therapy; Angela Holter, Cambridge Medical Center; Elise Kazmerzak, Anoka-Ramsey Community College; Carla Nelson, GracePointe Crossing; Jesse Peltz, Verizon Cambridge-Cellular Experts; and Amanda Shimek, Cambridge Family Dental/Minnesota Sedation Dental.

In Walker’s nomination letter he was commended by his supervisor and recognized for his out-of-the-box thinking and desire to provide those he works with the opportunity to learn real-world skills in a safe environment.

“Mike recently celebrated 10 years of working at Industries. In that time, he has touched the lives of countless individuals, served and transformed our services to include our own internal enterprise: Heritage Barn Wood Products,” the letter read. “Mike has the patience and understanding required to assist adults with disabilities in learning a variety of real-world skills including wood burning, painting, measuring, stenciling, de-nailing, sanding, using power saws, and even tearing down old barns. In a world where a lot of adults with disabilities assume they must go into either fast food or retail for employment, Mike has created a program where creativity is welcomed and getting full of sawdust is a must.”

Not only was Walker recognized for his hard work, but also his desire to bring out the best in those he works with and to share their accomplishments with the community.

“He encourages participants to step outside their comfort zone and try something new so that they are always learning something new and are up for a challenge. He has built positive working relationships with several local businesses that we do consignment and occasional sales with, maintains advertisement on several social media platforms, and is an amazing salesman,” the letter continued.

To see the work of those creating products through Heritage Barn Wood Products, visit 601 Cleveland St. S. in Cambridge.

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