Cerebral palsy didn’t stop man from starting woodworking business

As Reported in the Coshocton Tribune

Jamie Hoy, of Coshocton, likes to be seen as a business owner, not someone with a disability.

Help from the Coshocton County Board of Developmental Disabilities and various work programs led him to open Jamie’s Custom Cutting about a year ago. He makes custom cutting boards and packaging strips for Boltaron in Newcomerstown.

Hoy, who has cerebral palsy, said the needs of the specialized PVC, PVC-alloy and CPVC performance sheet manufacturing company vary. Some months they don’t need anything from him, and other months he makes up to 1,000 pieces.

He currently sells the cutting boards through The Village Pantry in Roscoe Village and in person. He would like to explore selling them online too, he said. Hoy would like to find other
business customers and perhaps purchase more equipment that would allow him to make more items.

“I like to be able to turn a piece of wood into something that somebody wants or needs,” he said in an email. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment. I can remember helping my dad build things when I was little.”

Hoy has tools he said one would find in any wood shop. He has a SawStop table saw, a miter saw, planer, joiner and sander. He said he cuts the strips for use. If they’re rough, he’ll plane them first. For the cutting boards, he’ll glue the wood strips together, plane them, sand the edges and apply oil.

Hoy has a degree in horticulture from Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute. He has a part-time job doing landscape work for the local board of DD, but wanted permanent
work, he said.

Employment specialist Debbie Christmas, of Community Employment Services, and Sean Ragsdale, of the Bureau ofVocational Rehabilitation, worked with Hoy. He said they encouraged him to turn his woodworking hobby into a job. They were instrumental, he said, in helping him secure the work with Boltaran and the equipment he uses in his garage workshop.

Hoy, with the help of an ECO2 communication device, recently spoke at a kickoff event for the Employment First initiative at the Tusacrawas County Board of DD Office. He’s seen as an early success of the drive to find jobs for people with developmental disabilities who want to work. His advice to anyone with a disability who wants to work is to never give up looking for a job.

“If you have tried for a long time to find work, utilize the agencies that know how to help you and think outside the box in regard to what type of business you might be able to do,” he said.

Because of his cerebral palsy, Hoy had more hurtles to go through than a standard business owner. Since he can’t drive, he has to have materials dropped off and items picked up by other people. He can’t speak well and has to have others make calls for him, but communication by email has been essential for him.

Doing such work is beneficial for him physically, he said, because sitting around inactive causes his body to hurt and stiffen. He physically feels better by being at work and that translates emotionally, too, he said.

“Emotionally, I think all people feel better when they are being productive and have structure to their daily routine,” he said.

“Due to my physical disability, speech problems and small size, some people do not treat me as an adult. But when working with people as a business owner, I am treated as a regular adult.”