Malave-Ruiz of Oswego Industries Given NISH Products Award

Submitted by Oswego Industries

" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="size-medium wp-image-48671" title="NCWC2 021" src="" alt="Jill Johnson of NISH presents the East Region Products Award to Maria Malave-Ruiz, whose young daughter was able to watch her mother being honored." width="300" height="322" srcset=" 300w, 150w, 460w, 1000w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />
Jill Johnson of NISH presents the East Region Products Award to Maria Malave-Ruiz, whose young daughter was able to watch her mother being honored.

FULTON, NY – Maria Malave-Ruiz, Production Operations Manager at Oswego Industries, Inc., was awarded the East Region NISH Products Award at the recent NCWC (National Council of Work Centers) Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. Malave-Ruiz’s efforts in Oswego Industries, Inc.’s military coveralls project, an AbilityOne contract made possible by NISH, particularly impressed the judges.

Oswego Industries, Inc. was awarded an AbilityOne contract to produce 10,000 coveralls for the U.S. Defense Supply Center, Philadelphia (DSCP), for use by all branches of military service. With the first shipment due just four months into this challenging contract, some were doubtful about Oswego Industries, Inc.’s ability to meet those deadlines with quality products.

Having been on staff just 18 months, Malave-Ruiz quickly educated herself on the requirements of the new product and began planning. Rather than follow the procedures used by the last agency to hold the contract, she broke down the project to create a new process better suited to Oswego Industries, Inc. employees. Working with department staff to create a feasible schedule, she encouraged them to recognize their successes and voice concerns as the project developed.

It is not unusual, when dealing with complicated products of this nature, to undergo a lengthy process before a new vendor is ready to begin actual production: approval of samples, satisfactory site visits, and more. In Oswego Industries’ case, the coverall sample was approved on the first try, and DSCP representatives signed off on their first site visit – a combination nearly unheard of. The division was able to make the first shipment ahead of schedule; and just seven months into the contract, was producing coveralls at a quantity of 840 or more in a month.

“This award belongs to the entire Oswego Industries team,” says Malave-Ruiz. “I’m proud and honored to have been part of the success we’ve had with the coveralls contract – but it would not have happened without the hard work of the rest of the production team and everyone involved. I’m honored to accept the award on behalf of everyone who makes this, and our other contracts, happen on a daily basis.”

The National Council of Work Centers (NCWC) is an independent network of executives representing nonprofit agencies that manufacture products or provide services under the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Program. The NCWC Executive Committee consists of four elected officers and representatives of agencies from each of six NISH regions. Established in 1974, NISH is one of two national, nonprofit agencies designated by the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled (a federal government agency) to support nonprofit agencies participating in the AbilityOne Program which provides employment opportunities for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities by procuring federal contracts for goods and services. Headquartered in Vienna, Va., NISH supports a network of more than 1,300 nonprofits as well as federal customers by providing the legislative and regulatory assistance, communications and public relations materials, information technology support, engineering and technical assistance, and extensive professional training needed for successful contract management.

Oswego Industries, Inc. has built a reputation over the past 40 years for dependable and reliable service to its customers. Located in Fulton, New York, the organization offers a wide variety of textiles, manufacturing, warehousing, assembly, custodial, and shipping services to industry, medical, and government partners across the country. As a private, not-for-profit Community Rehabilitation Program, Oswego Industries, Inc. has been providing programs and services to adults with disabilities since 1968: including pre-vocational and vocational training, and sustained employment to enable individuals to grow with dignity and achieve their highest level of independence and self-fulfillment. Oswego Industries, Inc. was named winner of the Chamber of Commerce Not-For-Profit of the Year Award for 2009. For more information, visit the organization’s website at