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ORAU receives CCDC Exemplary Business Award

Award recognizes ORAU for adapting workplace environment beyond ADA standards to accommodate employee’s progressing disabilities

July 26, 2011

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition has named Oak Ridge Associated Universities as the recipient of its 2011 Exemplary Business Award. ORAU received the award in honor of employee Russell O. Swearingen as part of the 10th annual CCDC Disability Awards held July 26, 2011 in Denver, Co.

CCDC is the leading disability rights organization in Colorado and the award is given annually to those whose work has enriched or benefitted the lives of people with disabilities.

Swearingen was diagnosed in 2009 with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Swearingen worked at ORAU from 1999 until his deteriorating health required him to take extended medical leave in March 2011.

“ORAU is honored by CCDC’s recognition and are privileged to have had Russ as part of our team,” said ORAU President and CEO Andy Page. “We applaud the work of CCDC, its board and others who work tirelessly to enrich and benefit the lives of Russ and others with disabilities to see that they have access to every day opportunities that far too many of us take for granted.”

According to the CCDC, ORAU readily adapted its workplace environment to accommodate Swearingen’s progressing disabilities.

“CCDC recognizes that ORAU has gone over and above what is legally required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to create a workplace that allowed Mr. Swearingen to remain productive and preserve his dignitary in the reality of his disease progression,” said Julie Reiskin, CCDC Executive Director and National Legal Services appointed board member.

Swearingen’s family, which includes Emily vonSwearingen who serves as CCDC Director of Communications and Development, nominated ORAU for the award. Nominations are submitted every year for several awards categories and winners selected by a committee voting process.

“On behalf of my family, I want to thank ORAU and its employees for their kindness and support,” said Emily vonSwearingen. “ORAU adapted the office environment, adjusted my father’s work schedule and, when needed, provided equipment to support a work-at-home situation. Co-workers provided meals, transportation and even moved meeting locations to my father’s house when they needed to work on mutual projects.”

Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) was founded in 1990 to implement and enforce the ADA throughout Colorado. CCDC is the leading disability rights organization in Colorado and a national model of how a melding of individual and system programs ultimately benefit 500,000+ individuals across the state. CCDC programs provide advocacy to people with disabilities who have been discriminated against, enforces accessibility laws and equal rights through legal programs and litigation, creates and changes policies and legislation to benefit people with disabilities and provides training and consulting to government systems and businesses on disability related issues. CCDC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Visit for further information.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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