Aspiritech Annual Report 2015


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Annual Report 2015

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"I've never had a job like this that I was paid for, where I felt like I was doing something that nobody else could be doing just as easily. I've had jobs like shredding papers and what not, but this is the first job that I've felt like I'm applying my own skills and abilities, and they're really valued." –Lauren B., 25 years old


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TABLE OF CONTENTS Bird’s Eye View Letter from Leadership Liftoff Mission and History Soaring to New Heights 2015 Highlights Reach for the Stars Stepping Up & Out Flying High Our Clients Fueling Our Engine 2015 Financial Statement Achieving Velocity Our Supporters Pilots and Crew Board of Directors, Management Team, and Advisors 3 5 7 8 10 12 14 16


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“I like the inclusiveness of the company. I feel comfortable here, which isn’t how I felt at other companies.” –Brad B., 33 years old


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BIRD’S EYE VIEW Letter from Leadership Dear Friends, We are happy to announce that Aspiritech truly took flight in 2015. For the first time ever, we exceeded half a million dollars in client sales. This tremendous growth meant we could expand our impact. We were able to provide free training to eight individuals, all of whom then joined our team as employees, bringing our total number of employees to 27. Additionally, we were able to expand into new service offerings, including hardware testing, automated software testing, and data analysis. Other 2015 highlights include: • New team members include a second full-time autism specialist, a part-time autism specialist, and a business development director. Plus, founder Brenda Weitzberg joined the team as full-time executive director in July. • A generous two-year grant from The Coleman Foundation facilitated our transition into a state-of-the-art office in Highland Park, Illinois. • The Board of Directors completed a new strategic plan in 2015, under the guidance of Aspiritech volunteer Marc Mar-Yohana. We are excited to announce that Marc has since joined our Board of Directors. Taking flight in 2015 means that Aspiritech is soaring to even greater heights in 2016. As of mid-year, business contracts are up by 125 percent over 2015, and we anticipate reaching one million dollars in sales by year’s end. Consequently, we have been able to provide more work hours to our 38 staff members with autism, as well as accept additional trainees off our ever-expanding waitlist. We are extremely grateful to our many supporters. Thanks to donor support, we responded to 100 percent of the people who turned to us for help in 2015, and we provided more than 200 people with individualized resource and referral information. While client revenue covers the salaries of our testers and managers, philanthropy enables Aspiritech to employ autism specialists and provide free vocational training, resource and information services, and social activities and workshops through our Stepping Up & Out program. Thank you for your critical support of our mission. Sincerely, Beverly Shapiro Board President Brenda Weitzberg Executive Director


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“This place gives us an opportunity for honest work, enjoyable work, that we can be proud of doing. I’ve heard—through autism conferences and shows on TV sometimes—that there are other places we are supposed to be [working as] adults on the autism spectrum, but they’re menial jobs. Like a car wash, or a window wash, or bun maker. It’s either factory work or custodial work or something that a high schooler could do. Here, we’re doing quality software testing. Which is an adult job, really, and a well-respected job.” –Brian T., 40 years old


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LIFTOFF Mission and History Aspiritech provides a path for high functioning individuals on the autism spectrum to realize their potential through gainful employment. What does this mean? It means we connect the unique talents of individuals with autism— talents such as laser-like focus, attention to detail, strong visual processing skills, superior ability to spot irregularities, superlative technical skills, and lack of boredom with highly repetitive tasks— with clients seeking this level of expertise. Our employees provide quality assurance (QA) services in regression testing, data migration, test design, compatibility testing, data analysis, user acceptance testing, automation, design consistency, hardware testing, and many more areas. But Aspiritech is more than a connector. It’s a place where employees find meaningful work. It’s a place where social quirks are embraced. It’s a place where independence flourishes and challenges are overcome. We’ve come a long way since our founding in 2008. We look forward to seeing what the coming years bring. 2008 Aspiritech incorporated 2009 The company’s pilot program, a hands-on software testing training program, launches. 2010 First test engineers hired New services o ered; autism 2011 specialist hired 2012 New industries join as clients; business development director hired 2013 Company continues to thrive. 2014 Client revenue doubles compared to prior year. 2015 Turn the page!


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“I would say that in my experience—experiences working with testing—Aspiritech has the best way of testing things I’ve ever seen, and I really recommend it.” –Gail B., 58 years old


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SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS 2015 Highlights Fiscal year 2015 was a resounding success. We moved into a new home with support from The Coleman Foundation, continued to grow in clients and employees, expanded client services, and strengthened our infrastructure by hiring Brenda Weitzberg as a full-time executive director. Exceeded half a million dollars in client sales Trained and hired eight individuals Two testers accepted competitive positions elsewhere (six individuals have transitioned to jobs in the competitive marketplace so far) Seventy individuals, including employees and community members, participated in Stepping Up & Out social activities New service o erings included hardware testing, automated software testing and data analysis Moved into a new o ce with a larger footprint and sensory-aware amenities Twenty-seven total employees Hired a full-time executive director


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Stepping Up & Out Aspiritech employs individuals who sometimes struggle in social situations. Many adults on the autism spectrum have difficulty making eye contact or reading emotional and verbal cues, which can make job interviews, “water cooler talk,” and other social interactions challenging. Our Stepping Up & Out program tackles social isolation through weekly activities, including game nights, arts and crafts, and community meals. Program assistants on the autism spectrum help plan and run each event. ACTIVITIES Game night Movie night Thanksgiving dinner Art projects Improv Halloween party Scavenger hunt Goal setting Group walks Trivia Puzzles RESULTS Improved communication Self-confidence Social bonding Enhanced personal connections Reduced isolation Friendships Emotional support Soft skills Self-efficacy


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“I think that I actually, generally, have become more social everywhere. I was reclusive before. The daily interaction in the context of work kind of cultivates being able to get out and socialize.” –Alicia M., 28 years old


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Our Clients “I’ve been part of quality assurance organizations for 25 years, and [Aspiritech] really understands quality and how to do testing the right way.”   –Jeff New, Systems Quality Manager Zebra Technologies Corp. “The accuracy and speed that the test engineers at Aspiritech have displayed has been remarkable. This group of individuals has an undeniable set of skills that makes them uniquely suited to perform software testing and QA work at a very prolific rate.” –Gene Schelfaut, Executive Director, Head of Americas Information Systems Astella Pharma US Inc. “You guys knocked it out of the park! Our experience with Aspiritech has been nothing short of amazing … We turned to Aspiritech for a small project at first and were astounded at the level of detail their testing reports provided … After the first testing reports came back and the final invoice was on point, we knew we had a winner. Now we consider Aspiritech to be an extension of our QA team and will continue to use them for all our application interface testing from this point forward.” –Chris Gould, Software Development Manager Eagle Metal Products


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In 2015, we contracted with 13 clients in industries ranging from education to pharmaceuticals to technology. Our clients tell us time and time again: Aspiritech delivers. In fact, clients ranked “quality of service” as the most important factor in their decision to use Aspiritech. Other results from our 2015 independent survey are equally impressive. CATEGORY SATISFIED/ HIGHLY SATISFIED QUALITY TIMELINESS PROFESSIONALISM COMMUNICATION COLLABORATION 100% of surveyed clients indicated they would recommend Aspiritech to others—and they do!


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2015 Financial Statement 2015 REVENUE AND EXPENSES 2015 ReveNue $809,445 OTHER INDIVIDUALS Individuals Foundations Released from restricted Software testing revenue Other $35,630 $131,243 $129,685 $512,852 $35 SOFTWARE TESTING REVENUE FOUNDATIONS RELEASED FROM RESTRICTED 2015 expeNses Program Costs Fundraising Management/general costs $641,353 $554,028 $4,892 $82,433 MANAGEMENT/ GENERAL COSTS FUNDRAISING PROGRAM COSTS 2015 suRpLus $168,092* *Surplus will be reinvested to strengthen our infrastructure in 2016 and enable continued growth.


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“I think anyone would donate to the company if they could just talk to us and find out the ways in which we’ve helped businesses and other people, professionally and personally. This job gave me an opportunity to use some of the knowledge that I gained in my college coursework, which I hadn’t been able to use up until now. And it gives me a sense of belonging to the computer community at large rather than just having a lot of knowledge without being able to use it.” –Alan S., 61 years old



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