September 27, 2022

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Reds honor first workmanship program grads

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This week concluded the first-ever hands-on worker training program between the Reds and the FX Facility Group.

Prior to the season, the Reds and FX Facility Group, one of the Cincinnati area’s largest minority-owned firms and a division of downtown-based D.E. Foxx and Associates, teamed up to launch the initiative. The program originated with D.E. Foxx and the Reds trying to create additional career opportunities for minorities.

“The Reds are honored to build platforms for diverse generations to thrive,” Reds vice president of people and culture Victor Livisay said. “We welcome the opportunity to support our community and facilitate career growth opportunities.”

The program brought three individuals to Great American Ball Park for a four-month paid apprenticeship in one of three fields involved in maintaining and improving the ballpark: HVAC, electric and painting. Overseen by Reds professionals, the goal was for each participant to focus on a specific trade, with the plan to get them on a management trajectory in that respective field so they could continue their careers with FX Facility after graduating with newfound knowledge and experience.

“The graduates obtained not only on-the-job training, but also an acclimation to the Reds’ unique, contagiously positive, team-oriented culture,” FX Facility chief operating officer Monica Foxx said. “FX Facility Group has found sync in partnership with the Reds from a shared embodiment of a can-do attitude, collaborative approach and solutions mentality.”

The inaugural graduating class featured Richard Ellison, Derick Chappelle and Francis Okoli working as mentees under three full-time staff members in the Reds’ ballpark operations department. Starting in late January, Ellison was assigned to electrician Daniel Korb, Chappelle was paired with painter Phil Stall, and Okoli worked alongside HVAC technician Johnny Dozier.

The three groups spent the next few months helping prepare the home of the Reds for the biggest day of the year: Opening Day. Ellison assisted Korb on a number of projects, ranging from sponsorship signs and wiring new concession stands to other electrical work that took the pair to some of the most elevated locations of the ballpark.

“I enjoyed working with Richard. It was fun to watch someone with a residential construction background get acclimated to working in a unique setting that Great American Ball Park provides,” Korb said. “We had a tight schedule leading into Opening Day, and without him, I wouldn’t have completed the electrical projects on time. He came in and blended into the culture in ballpark operations effortlessly. His absence will be felt this season.”

The graduates participated in an on-field ceremony prior to Thursday afternoon’s game against the Padres. They were joined by their mentors, along with Foxx, D.E. Foxx & Associates vice chairwoman Delores Hargrove-Young, Reds senior vice president of facilities and operations Tim O’Connell, and Reds director of ballpark maintenance Matt Keifling. Ellison, Chappelle and Okoli were each presented with a certificate of completion and a custom-engraved baseball bat.

“We are extremely proud of the feedback that FX has received regarding the success of this inaugural year and are grateful for the training our employees have gained maintaining Great American Ball Park over the past few months,” Foxx said. “We are excited about the impact we anticipate this program having on the industry and escalation of career opportunities this program and partnership will bring for our diverse communities for years to come.”

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