I adore both what PRIDE Industries stands for as well as its longtime leader, Mike Ziegler.
Mike joined PRIDE in 1983, transforming a small church basement organization from an organization with 65 employees and a tiny $250,000 annual operating budget into a full-fledged manufacturing and service company employing 5,600 full-time staff, and with over $340 million in annual revenue. Today, PRIDE is among America’s largest non-profit employers of people with disabilities.
Mike was the driving force behind PRIDE’s incredible success. Not only was he a fantastic, charismatic, hard-driving, tireless leader, not only did he pave the way toward the organization’s incredible transformation and growth, Mike also deeply loved, and believed in, each individual PRIDE serves.
Day in and day out, PRIDE proves that “everyone can work,” and that by helping them do so, we unleash their full human potential. As you walk through their main facility, a vast range of people struggling with mental and physical disabilities – from mildly disabled to clearly visible quadriplegics – are working. Everyone is happy and productive. It is a “people first” model that should expand policy makers’ vision for solving homelessness, and the power of helping people do for themselves. In parallel with the individuals they serve, they grew out of their mistakes and their successes. By no means have any achieved perfection, but they continue to grow toward their full potential.
In late 2019, Mike was diagnosed with Stage Four cancer. Unfortunately, Mike recently lost this battle.