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NYSID News Blog

May 28, 2013

Farewell, Karin Thorne

Category: General — NYSID @ 5:21 pm

You may know Karin Thorne as NYSID’s Training & Information Program (TIP) coordinator, but that’s just one of several hats she’s worn during her nearly 16-year career here, a career that ends on May 31 with her retirement from the organization she’s known so well.

“As TIP coordinator, I got to meet many of the professional staff members from the NYSID agencies, and I formed lasting friendships with many of the NYSID consultants, as well as the employees at the sites where we held the TIP sessions,” Karin said. “I love the mission, ‘Turning Business Opportunities Into JOBS for New Yorkers with Disabilities.’ NYSID is a great place to work; I feel valued for the work I do, and honored by the friendships I have made.”

Karin remembers her first day at NYSID well, as it was a first day shared by several of her colleagues, all of whom remain at NYSID to this day.

“Maria LaValle, Margie Castellana, Karen DiBella and I all started our employment with NYSID on September 8, 1997,” she said. “The only other Albany employees were Larry Barker, CEO, and Ron Romano, CFO. What a day!”

Karin was hired as a contract administration clerk; the Contract Administration department handled all commodity revisions and contract renewals, working closely with NYSID sales staff, members, customers and the New York State Office of General Services (OGS).

She spent her early days working with NYSID employees in the New York City office to determine what her job would entail when all administrative duties moved upstate. NYSID was in a transition phase, opening its brand new corporate headquarters in Albany, while maintaining its New York City office as a satellite location for New York City and Long Island sales representatives.

In September 1998, Karin was promoted to senior contract specialist, supervising the Contract Administration Department; she was subsequently promoted in June 1999 to manager of Technical Assistance and Quality Management (TAQM).

“Our main duties were to collect and report on the employment data submitted by our member agencies,” she said. “Soon thereafter, NYSID initiated Quality Reviews, so I began to travel to our member agencies to verify the employment data submitted by our members and review the process of collecting the data.”

Through her work, she was able to see NYSID’s mission put into practice and felt moved by the people she met.

“I was lucky as the manager of TAQM to visit our members and see how the lives of individuals with disabilities are enriched by the work opportunities provided by the Preferred Source Program,” she said. “However, I honestly missed getting to visit the skills training centers and seeing the lives touched by the work NYSID provides.”

Around the same time Karin became manager of TAQM, member agencies began to request training; NYSID initially offered one or two sessions, and TIP eventually became a component of TAQM. “Today, we offer more than 50 sessions to our member agencies throughout New York State on a variety of business-related topics,” Karin said. “The TIP registration process is now online, and we recorded the 5,000th TIP registrant this past March!”

Karin intended to retire in July 2011 but, based upon her experience and wealth of knowledge, she was eventually coaxed into staying on as the TIP coordinator on a part-time basis. The TIP coordinator hires consultants, decides on sessions to be offered (within budget), markets sessions, prints materials, travels to facilitate sessions, and collects and reports on sessions.

NYSID has grown significantly during Karin’s nearly 16 years here, from six employees on her first day in 1997 to more than 60 today. Sales have increased from $40 million in 1997 to $195 million in 2012. Most importantly, employment of workers with disabilities through NYSID has expanded. Since FY 1999, when NYSID began to collect such data, NYSID’s disabled workforce has risen from 5,800 with an average wage of $6.91/hour to nearly 7,000 with an average wage of $13.01/hour in FY 2012.

Although Karin has attempted retirement previously, she insists she’s officially retiring on May 31.

“This time I am really ready to retire. No attempt, it is the real thing,” she said.

She considered herself lucky to have been a stay-at-home Mom while her children were in school and is excited about being home again.

But don’t worry. Karin won’t be a total stranger to NYSID by any means.

“I look forward to spending more time with family and friends, especially my NYSID friends, as I will miss seeing them the most,” she said. “It’s interesting that for nearly the past 16 years, more of my waking hours have been spent with NYSID employees than they have with my husband of almost 43 years. I hope that our marriage will survive the change!” she joked.


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