Pueblo organization wows Secretary Williams, other visitors

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams recently toured Pueblo Diversified Industries, a community resource for people who have disabilities and other challenges. From left to right, board member Michael Shoaf, Williams, board chairwoman Holly Hanson and David Pump, the president and CEO of PDI. (SOS photo)

Amazing. Inspiring. Exciting. Awesome. Incredible. Innovative.

Lots of vowel words were used when recent visitors described Pueblo Diversified Industries.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams toured the facility last week and came away impressed with PDI, a Colorado nonprofit and community resource for people with disabilities and other challenges.

“One of the best parts of the tour was when we saw flight crew check lists books  — they make those there . Someone else visiting the center happened to be a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot and said she, ‘Hey, I used those,'” Williams said.

“It really was an amazing and inspiring tour. They help people with diverse abilities.”

Colorado Springs TV stations interview Colorado Secretary of State on Sept. 24 during a tour of Pueblo Diversified Industries. (SOS photo)

Williams came in for his own praise, from PDI’s director of community engagement, Susan Parker.

“Oh my goodness, it was a fantastic visit,”  she said. “Wayne Williams is amazing. He is a rock star. He did TV interviews with no notes and just reeled off facts and figures.”

The next day was National Voter Registration Day and so Williams got questioned by TV reporters about Colorado election statistics and PDI.

How the secretary ended up at Pueblo Diversified Industries on Sept. 24 actually dates back to August, when Williams attended the Colorado State Fair’s legislative barbecue.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams received a thank-you note made by Pueblo Diversified Industries after his visit there.

Sara Blackhurst, the CEO and president of the southern Colorado advocacy group, Action 22,  introduced the secretary to David Pump, the CEO and president of PDI. Pump took over leadership of the group earlier this year.

“I would love to offer you a tour of Pueblo Diversified Industries because PDI is starting to bend the curve regarding government funding, small business and job creation,” Pump wrote to Williams afterward.

“We currently employ over 150 people and are looking to grow even further. PDI is a great example of private/public partnership that both takes care for a major social concern by supporting those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and contributing to the Colorado economy.”

Williams said the organization is everything Pump described and more.

Sharing his enthusiasm were  Jen Furda and Samantha “Sam” Peck, who work for Kaiser Permanente in southern Colorado. They happened to be touring Pueblo Diversified Industries at the same time as Williams. Furda has known Williams for years so when they saw each other they decided to tour PDI together.

Former Black Hawk pilot Samantha “Sam” Peck was surprised to learn that the flight books she used in the military are made by Pueblo Diversified Industries, which she toured last week. Also on the tour were, with his back to the camera, PDI president and CEO David Pump, board chairwoman Holly Hanson, Chris Johnson with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, Susan Parker with PDI, Peck and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (Screen shot from Joseph Prechtl/KKTV)

“I was blown away, absolutely blown away,” Furda said. “These people are doing yeoman’s work. They do so many amazing things. They are giving people a place to go and be loved. They are helping people develop work skills. They are incredible.”

She was particularly taken with the thank you cards the individuals make out of recycled paper. (Williams later received one from Pump that features a raised dragonfly.)

“They are gorgeous,” Furda said. “They are so amazing.”

Peck is a West Point graduate who flew a Black Hawk helicopter until she retired in 2011. She said it was “amazing” to see that Pueblo Diversified Industries makes the two type of flight books she used — one stays with the plane, the other goes with the pilot.

“That was pretty exciting,” she said.