David, Wolf Trap’s star employee

Featured Member

OSG member David Finland has worked the last seven years as a Park Ranger at Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts. His duties include parking cars, working directly with visitors, and acting as a radio dispatcher.

For David, working at Wolf Trap is the ideal job because it combines his love of the outdoors and history. He feels his biggest achievements so far have been learning how to navigate tough situations with guests, keeping them happy and maintaining his cool. For anyone who has ever worked in customer service, you’ll appreciate how difficult these situations can sometimes be, but David handles them extremely well. 

When we spoke with David’s supervisor Eric Byrne, he said, David has always maintained a positive, happy attitude and has always looked forward to coming to work here at Wolf Trap.  His outlook is infectious and rubs off on other rangers, which has a two-fold effect. First it improves the team’s morale when work gets difficult, and second, it helps to make Dave an important part of the team. Every summer we bring together park rangers from many parts of the country and our season’s success depends on our ability to make a cohesive and responsive team.  Dave is a big part of this, and he actively assists me in training the new members of our team.”

 

Unfortunately, many companies often have reservations about hiring adults who are neurodiverse or who have a developmental disability (DD), through lack of knowledge or understanding. For those companies that are prepared to provide some additional support and training (for all employees, not just those with a DD), they quickly realize the positive impact these individuals can have on the team dynamic and output. 

Chief Ranger Jan Lemons commented, “David is missed when he’s not at Wolf Trap. He brings so much to our work group.  We appreciate all of his contributions to the team, the park and the National Park Service. I would hire him again and again for any position I needed filled.”

We applaud NPS for recognizing that adults who are neurodiverse/have a developmental disability are as able, committed and competent as those who are neurotypical. And we especially congratulate David Finland, for his inspiring hard work.

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