Employees Who Inspire

At every Dion’s location, there’s a crew of hard-working people preparing your favorite orders. Regulars at the Cottonwood Mall location have come to know Kris Kujat, an employee dedicated to the health, safety, and comfort of our customers. Not only is his work ethic spot-on, he always has a smile on his face exemplifying what it means to be a Dion’s employee.

“When I’m at Dion’s and I see customers, I say good morning, good afternoon, and have a great day! I am able to help the team by cleaning tables in order to keep customers safe. I wear my mask every day, showing everyone by example what we should all be doing. Dion’s is a fun work environment, too. I like to talk to my General Manager about football, sports, and cool sneakers. I like to see my work-friends and Fridays are the best days. My favorite menu item is the cheese pizza or meatball sub.”

Fortunately for Dion’s, Kris came to work for the company through a partnership with Adelante, which is a nonprofit organization that supports people with mental and physical disabilities, seniors, and disadvantaged populations across New Mexico. Kris has worked hard with his job coaches at the Adelante Development Center to understand how to best function in a work environment with his disability through the services the organization provides. We are proud he uses his skills at Dion’s every day.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is designed to bring understanding to the importance of hiring a diverse workforce that includes individuals living with disabilities. In the United States, less than 20% of people with developmental disabilities of working age are participating in the work force, and the pandemic has made that number worse. At Dion’s, we know it’s important for businesses to give individuals the opportunity to work and we have hired several people through our partnership with Adelante. Kris performs his job duties well, and his Adelante job coaches regularly visit him.

Stefan Kennedy, the General Manager at Cottonwood Dion’s has been a key factor to Kris’ success and growth. “At Dion’s, one of our core Values is to ‘Win Together,’ which, in part, means that we want to provide opportunities for our employees and communities to flourish. We are proud to have Kris representing our brand and working to better our community. His regular customers and co-workers look forward to seeing him and he has shined in his role. What makes Kris exceptional is his consistency and positivity. He always shows up with great attitude – showing kindness to our customers – and our whole crew knows him! He always keeps himself busy and when he is done with normal tasks in the dining room, he comes to the kitchen to help. He always takes the initiative to do more without being asked.”

For Kris, the skills learned at Dion’s go much further than work.

“I apply what I learn from Dion’s at home keeping things clean. My room stays clean and is not messy. It is also easier to talk to people. When I’m not at Dion’s I like talking to friends on the phone, hanging out at the park, and keeping up with football and basketball.”

The next time you see Kris, be sure to ask him about the Lakers and say ‘hello!’