Growing Possibilities – Roses For Autism teamed up with Pinchbeck’s Rose Farm in Guilford to provide employment opportunities surrounding the cultivating, and selling of roses for people on the autism spectrum.
Founded in 2009 by Ability Beyond Disability, Roses for Autism [2011 CT Business of the Year and 2011 Floral Rookie of the Year] blends the Pinchbeck Rose Farm legacy with a new transitional career training program for people on the autism spectrum.
The Business Situation
“Our vision is to create a replicable model for employing adults with autism,” said Jim Fanning, President and CEO of Ability Beyond Disability. Roses for Autism received a State of Connecticut grant to expand its 2,500 sq-ft. facility. Pat Munger Construction Company, Inc. was selected as general contractor for a new training center, along with expanded retail and office space.
The work started in December so concrete work would need to be completed in cold weather.
Since each autistic person on staff has some degree of uneasiness with new situations, management needs to continually prepare them for unexpected changes on a daily basis.
Two high flower demand holidays would occur during the construction period, so it was essential to keep things going in an uninterrupted fashion and allow people to do their jobs.
“The challenge was to meet the Town of Guilford’s historical aesthetic requirements, create a low maintenance exterior, construct a roof line that blended with the existing structure, and to complete the project within an aggressive four month window.” (Project Manager, Roy Lamberton)
The Town of Guilford’s historically aesthetic requirements were achieved through a 1600 sq-ft. wood frame handicap accessible addition with low maintenance exterior and roof line that blended with the existing structure. The bathroom was expanded and upgraded. High R-factor spray on Icynene insulation was applied to the underside of the roof and walls of the entire facility.
According to Roses for Autism Operations Manager, Lori Gregan, “Flexibility in scheduling was so important that during weekly meetings I was pleased to hand out gold stars that were placed on Munger hard hats because schedules were always achieved in a manner that was transparent to our staff”.
Munger Construction completed a 1600 SF, wood framed, handicap accessible addition to the existing facility. This new space allows the program to improve operations and increase rose production by expanding the retail facility, creating greater packing room space, improving the efficiency of the greenhouse, and providing a classroom environment for individuals who participate in the organization’s career training program.
The renovations were completed two weeks ahead of an aggressive schedule while allowing Roses for Autism to conduct its business in an uninterrupted fashion. “This investment allows the farm to increase rose production and to improve operations through an expanded retail facility, greater packing room space and improved greenhouse efficiency”, said Julie Hipp, board member, ASRC.
Munger Construction Helps Roses For Autism Grow More Than Roses
Adults and young adults on the autism spectrum gain valuable work experience in an integrated environment where they grow, cut, package and ship nationwide 16 varieties of roses and other types of flowers year-round.
Teamwork Essential for Success
As general contractor, Munger managed a team of subcontractors who “stepped up and did a nice job”, said Roy Lamberton, Munger Project Manager. “It was a great partnership between Munger and the Pinchbeck family, Roses for Autism, Ability Beyond Disability, and state officials. Munger recommended on-the-fly ideas and helped me to visualize the end result”, said Gregan.
• Munger collaborated with Noyes Vogt Architects
to ensure that the low slope roof framing would
accommodate the new HVAC system
• Munger employees completed concrete foundation
and flat work, exterior siding and interior trim
• Cosgrove Construction – Site work
• Advanced Framing – Framing and windows
• GR Wade – HVAC
• Marino Mechanical – Plumbing
• DFG – Electrical
• Dee’s Roofing – Low slope roofing
• R. A. Torre – Painting
• Empire Drywall – Drywall
“I have a new family and friends. Munger was great at coordinating all the players who became truly part of our team on a daily basis for four months. It was a great
experience.” – Lori Gregan, Roses for Autism Operations Manager
“Munger built our new training center along with expanded retail and office space. Our challenge was to meet the Town of Guilford’s historical aesthetic requirements, create a low maintenance exterior, construct a roof line that blended with the existing structure and to complete the project within an aggressive window. I have a new family and friends. Munger was great at coordinating all the players who became truly part of our team on a daily basis for four months. It was a great experience”.
Lori Gregan, Operations Manager, Roses for Autism