Dennis Winkler

dennis winkler

Photo featuring from left to right Ann VanWaterschoot, award recipient Dennis Winkler, Justin Hess, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable David Onley, The Honourable Mrs. Ruth Ann Onley

2011 award recipient Dennis Winkler, chosen for his commitment to employing people who have a disability, and encouragement of others to do the same.

Dennis Winkler has provided employment opportunities to people with an intellectual disability for over 17 years.

During the 1990’s, Dennis owned the London franchise outlets for Burger King and he quickly partnered with Community Living London to hire people with a disability into each location. For over 10 years Dennis ensured that those opportunities continued and thrived through his leadership and vision. More than 10 employees have been employed at Burger King, and it is through a shared commitment, that the Burger King locations in London currently maintain employment opportunities for five people with a disability. Dennis left a legacy of inclusion for the present owners and corporation of Burger King.

As a business person, Dennis went on to manage a local bakery, where he promptly hired a person with a disability. This person has continued to be employed with Touche Bakery in a full-time capacity since 2007, and has enjoyed the success of being able to purchase a new truck, his life long dream.

Although Dennis has left this business, Touche Bakery continues to commit to a diverse workforce by recently hiring two additional people who have a disability.  Dennis has successfully left another legacy.

Currently, Dennis Winkler is the Owner of Winks Eatery in London, Ontario. Without hesitation, Dennis eagerly hired a person with a disability and welcomed them into the team.

A new legacy has begun.

Dennis Winkler has, and continues to, advocate and promote the hiring of people who have a disability to his peers and other business owners. Without hesitation, Dennis has always stepped forward to share his experiences and mentor others who are considering hiring. Dennis has been involved and featured in various marketing and branding campaigns.

Because of his passion and commitment to hiring people with a disability, Dennis actively participated in a London Chamber of Commerce business event, where he shared his story with other business owners. For the upcoming November 2011 Chamber event, Dennis has agreed to be a partner in hosting the event and providing the food and beverage catering services.

Dennis has always demonstrated a strong commitment to the cause of hiring and promoting people with a disability. He has never hesitated when asked to develop, implement, promote or mentor a fellow business colleague. Dennis is quoted as saying:

“Employers should never be nervous or afraid to hire people with a disability. My staff that were hired through Community Living London bring to the workforce a positive presence which is noticed by all of the staff.”

Dennis was a leader in the field 17 years ago, and he has worked tirelessly ever since to promote having a diverse and inclusive workforce. The lasting impact Dennis has had on the Business Community cannot be measured. Dennis is a true Champion, who deserves to be recognized for his outstanding leadership in workforce development.

Further Reading:

Creating an Inclusive Workplace – One Employee at a Time

Special Olympics FAN of the Year

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