Karen Drosehn has worked with her three-person staff at Zip ‘N Sort for the past 25 years. “But watching them work still amazes me,” she said.
One of the workers, she explained, cannot get out of her chair, so the other two individuals keep an eye on her work. “When she is finished with the stack she is working on, they get up and move a new tray of letters and envelopes closer to her so she can reach it. They are always looking out for one another, always supporting each other,” she said.
Outside the teamwork, Karen can also feel inspired by their work ethic. “One of the individuals has cerebral palsy, she can’t use one arm,” she said. “But she’s consistently one of our top producers. It’s incredible what she can do with one hand.”
Like any work crew that spends countless hours together, they don’t always serve up their best behavior. “There are days when they push each other’s buttons,” she said, laughing. “But in the end they always help each other out.”
When asked about their favorite part of the job, two of the three team members were quick to answer with the same wise-guy response most of us offer: “We get paid tomorrow!”
“They are always looking out for one another, always supporting each other.”
Karen started with BCArc 25 years ago, before the inception of Zip ‘N Sort, when the program was a “sheltered workshop” that taught employment skills. Today, it is a full-fledged $3 million mailhouse with 32 employees and more than 100 clients.
Karen’s team folds, stuffs, and mails some 10,000 Guardian Insurance bills to its customers every week. Working at a steady, brisk pace, they often finish their daily workload and then join other teams to help with their clients, such as PJ Library, which mails out 95,000 units every month.
“My team members work with everyone,” Karen said. “Whoever needs the help at the moment.” They also have friends outside their team, visit them to chat, or join them for lunch.
Zip ‘N Sort pre-sorts first class mail using the only machine of its kind between Worcester, Mass., and Albany, N.Y. A van makes daily pick-ups for clients across the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley. Clients include Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Community College, Berkshire Medical Center, Greylock Insurance, Berkshire Likfe, and many more. Experts help design mail pieces like catalogues to meet U.S. Postal Service standards and advise clients on the most efficient and least expensive postal rates.