The crew at Ruger Airpark Industries (RAI), a division of Yavapai Exceptional Industries (YEI!), is busy! Just coming off their stint at the YCCA Home and Garden Show in May, the workers at RAI are fulfilling orders for the many hand-crafted wood products they sold over the two-day event. With an average turnaround time of two weeks, they have their work cut out for them—and more orders in the wings.
Cody Clark, Woodshop Supervisor at RAI, has been with YEI! since 2005. On any given day, Clark supervises up to 13 people who do prep work on the slabs of wood that eventually become the hand-crafted products that are so popular around town. Because every piece of wood is different, the actual prep works takes some time. “That is the largest part and most time consuming, to make sure the wood is in the condition it needs to be for building.”
Products include picnic tables, benches, duets (a bench for two), and the newly-added “campfire” model loveseat offering a slight angle, perfect for hanging out at your favorite summer spot. Raised planter boxes are the most popular item, and were added to the inventory a few years ago. The boxes come in two sizes, allowing people to do organic gardening and support their green lifestyle without having to bend over and cause further stress on their knees and backs.
And, in typical YEI fashion of giving back to the community, one special product handcrafted by the crew includes the commemorative bench to honor the Prescott 19 firefighters who lost their lives in the Yarnell fire on June 28, 2013.
YEI! Executive Director Brad Newman knows that Clark is a huge asset to the team. “Shortly after I met Cody when he was at Double R Rentals in Prescott Valley, I asked him to join the YEI! team. His energy, creativity, and sincere interest in this clients and customers inspire ALL of us. His acquired business acumen has made the RAI woodshop a winner for our guys and gals, and our valued customers.
Cody makes a considerable contribution to overall YEI! operations!” Clark has definitely found his calling “I was a heavy equipment mechanic going to school for software engineering and Cisco networking, and I started coming to YEI! as a repair guy while I was going to school. I eventually ended up taking over the wood shop.
When I first started, we carved a little wooden car for the fair, and one of the guys picked it up and said, ‘This is the best car ever!’ He was just super excited! It changes your perspective. We’re doing something that will have a positive effect on someone’s life. It’s about being hands-on, meeting people and talking to them. My world is a better place because I get to work with these people. It’s hard to have a bad day.”
With furniture orders flying out of the warehouse, there is no slowing down for Clark and his crew. The RAI facility maintains a showroom where the public can view and order items. In the meantime, visit www.yeiworks.com for more information about ordering products, or call Cody Clark directly at 445-9900 to place your order today!
Yavapai Exceptional Industries (YEI!) is a charitable organization founded in 1974 to support adults with disabilities. YEI! has been providing job training, employment, volunteer placements, and support services for these developmentally disabled adult residents of the cities and towns of the Central Highlands. Their program of “Developmental Employment” includes the award-winning “Community Contribution Corps” (community volunteer placements) and has been continually accredited at the highest level of service by the National Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) since 1978.