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Business Sense

The Foundation for Success

Anyone who has ever owned a home or business knows the value of reliable, skilled contractors who understand their clients' needs and get the job done without headache or hassle. In addition to technical skills, a strong client-contractor relationship is critical to the success of projects, whatever their scope.

One such contractor is Michael Saulter, a carpenter and landscaper who manages home improvements for people in and around Olney, Maryland. Saulter, who has a learning disability, went into his line of work because he always enjoyed working with his hands from a young age.

What Saulter likes most about his daily work is client interaction and the sense of accomplishment he feels when he stands back and admires a finished project. But the most valuable thing Saulter has built over his 20-year career is not something that can be seen or touched―it's a loyal following of customers who call on him time and again for his reliability and quality craftsmanship.

Saulter's learning disability wasn't a factor when deciding what career path to pursue, but over time he has had to develop different strategies for ensuring he fully understands his customers? needs, he said. For this reason, he advises young people with learning disabilities interested in his field to focus on their education first, in order to build a strong foundation for all aspects of the job.

"Better comprehension and communication skills when I was younger would have helped me in overcoming some challenges I've faced along the way," Saulter said. Through the years, he has worked hard to improve these skills as well as people's homes and yards. Given his devoted fan base, it's clear he has succeeded on both fronts.

To see Saulter at work - and several other talented individuals with disabilities - view the "I Can" public service announcement on the Campaign for Disability Employment's What Can YOU Do? Web site. While on the site, be sure to visit the employer page to express your commitment to a flexible and inclusive workplace.

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