EVM is a 501c (3) non -profit organization
with a mission to employ differently abled adults.
Extraordinary Ventures started in 2010 in North Carolina; embarking on a mission to employ differently abled adults. The mission has remained true and spread to locations in New York (2015) and Michigan (2014). Each location operates unique "Ventures" that match individual employee needs.
Extraordinary Ventures Michigan started with a laundry service on the campus of Oakland University. It has since grown and relocated to our current Oxford (Legacy 925) location.
National data indicates that the majority of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed (Institute for Community Inclusion, 2012).
At this time, EVM employs five individuals with autism, two managers and a director. EVM also has an executive board of community leaders, many of whom have a personal connection to autism. Our mission aims to make an impact on these statistics. Employing individuals with autism or any disability is good for business and society as a whole.
Employees of EVM are highly successful with jobs that require repetition and organization.
EVM serves a diverse range of customers with a variety of goods and services.
Employees of EVM take pride in their work and are achieving meaningful employment through these ventures.
Hi! I’m Grant Cotter and I am 28 years old. My previous employment experience includes working at Beaumont Hospital at a part of the PROJECT SEARCH Program. I learned how to clean bathrooms and was very meticulous at it. When Extraordinary Ventures Michigan opened in September 2014, I was hired! Working at EVM provides me with an opportunity to feel like I am part of a team. My favorite job at EVM is Small Parts Assembly. I am learning the process of small parts from start to finish. I read the instruction sheet to match product numbers and set up the jobs each week. I am becoming an expert! If I could choose any job in the world, I would choose to do small parts assembly!
When I’m not at work, I really enjoy watching movies, playing video games and spending time with my family. I also love to dance; my favorite kind of music is music from the 70’s! Something interesting about me its that I can imitate other people’s voices and conversations perfectly!
Hello, my name is Drew McDonald and I and 27 years old. I have been working at Extraordinary Ventures Michigan since it opened in 2014. However, EVM was not my first job; I used to work at Pine Knob Ski Rentals. At EVM, my favorite job is folding clothes. Another job I’m really good at is wiping and cleaning counters.
EVM has helped me to follow a consistent daily schedule, to learn about money and how to be a responsible saver. When I am not at work, I enjoy swimming, playing basketball, and going bowling. I’m also a pretty good down hill skier!!
I also love music! Some of my favorite artists are Eddie Money, Yes, Ringo Star and Neil Young. I even like going to concerts! I bet you didn't know that I love the three stooges too!
If I could visit anywhere, I would go to Mackinaw Island; where I am the happiest version of myself :)
Ciao! I’m Chris Plummer and I am 27 years old. My first job was at OU Cares doing paper shredding for about $7.00 an hour. I was unsupported at this job and I think it could’ve ended differently. I started working at Extraordinary Ventures Michigan in September 2014. At EVM, my first job was laundry. After a while, I started to learn how to grow and harvest microgreens. I like harvesting indoors much better than harvesting outdoors, where we used to work because we don’t have to worry about weather or slugs!!
At EVM, I get $ 8.90 an hour. I recently bought myself a car! I’m learning to save my money so that I can someday buy my own place to live. I’m also saving so I can go on some trips. I would love to go to Chicago and visit the Star Wars Museum and someday I’d like to visit Florida!
During my free time, I enjoy going to concerts, car shows, and air shows with my friends. When you meet me you’ll notice that I’m a really polite guy!
Hello! My name is Samuel, but people call me Sam. I am 22 years old and Extraordinary Ventures Michigan is my first job! I started at EVM on October 7, 2016. My favorite job during my shift at EVM includes working in the indoor garden on planting and harvesting microgreens. I am also really good at completing small parts assembly tasks.
Aside from working, my interests include being a total history buff, particularly military history. I take dates and holidays very seriously; for example: Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Pearl Harbor and others. I even know the Gettysburg Address by heart! Another thing I am very serious about is the way people treat others. I am a very thoughtful person and will stick up for others if I think someone is being mistreated. I often think of others and have been known to purchase books, or gifts for people I care about. One of my favorite ways to help others is through a program called Blessings in a Backpack.
I also belong to a bowling league, I love Sherlock Holmes, and going to the theater. My favorite play has been The Diary of Anne Frank. I’m beginning to learn woodworking skills and I am really loving it! If I would have any job in the world, I would be a military strategist who is great at solving mysteries.
Hello! I’m Michael Zhong and I am 27 years old. I started working at Extraordinary Ventures Michigan in the summer of 2016 as a volunteer. After a few weeks, my small parts assembly skills allowed me to be officially hired! I am also really good at math; so keeping track of the final product numbers is my specialty. Working at EVM has been helpful to me because it keeps me busy and helps me stay on schedule.
When I’m not at work, I LOVE video games and watching YouTube clips. Listen for my laughter because I am generally watching something hilarious! I also enjoy listening to music, especially when I am working or am riding in the car. My favorite radio channel is WNIC; all my favorite songs are on that channel!
Some of my happiest memories include my recent trip to China. I really hope I get to go back someday!
Don has been the Director of Extraordinary Ventures Michigan since August 2015. Don has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Georgetown University. Don played in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, and the Washington Wizards during the 8 years following graduation. He retired from the NBA in 2003.
Don is a driven individual who has a passion for helping others and his surrounding communities. He has worked with individuals with special needs since 2010; with students aged 18-26 at the Troy Center for Transition in the Troy School District and with adults at Community Living Services. He has owned and partnered with several other businesses.
Don participates in many charity functions and hosts local events representing the NBA Pistons Alumni. He currently coaches basketball and many youth training programs including programs he has developed; for example, The Oddball Olympics. Above all; Don is a husband to his wife Erika and a father to his two daughters; Thia and Willa.
Jillian Conrad has worked for Extraordinary Ventures Michigan since July 2015. She is the Manager at EVM and also oversees the EVM Organic Farm and EVM Sensory Tools Ventures. Jillian is a former teacher of students with Autism. She has received her Bachelor’s from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Special Education in 2006. She received her Master’s Degree in Autism from Oakland University in 2014. Jillian is passionate about helping others and improving the quality of life for individuals with Autism. In her free time, Jillian enjoys crafting, gardening and working on the old schoolhouse she lives in.
Michelle Miller is the newest member of the EVM Team. She is our site manager and job coach at the Legacy Center. Michelle is a former substitute teacher. In 2009, she received her Bachelor’s from Oakland University majoring in Elementary Education. She received her Master’s Degree in Autism from Oakland University in 2015. Michelle enjoys helping individuals with Autism achieve success with endeavors. In her free time, Michelle enjoys watching Detroit sports, crafting, and watching movies.
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