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D.J. Scholl, owner of Investment Capital Corporation in Orleans, with employee Jane McMahon, who has a physical disability. Mr. Scholl has been named an Exemplary Employer for 1997 by the Governor's Commission on Employment of People with Disabilities. Photo by Debi Boucher Stetson

By Debi Boucher Stetson

ORLEANS – Daniel Scholl has mixed feelings about the award he is receiving from the Governor's Commission on Employment of People with Disabilities. While the Eastham resident said he is pleased and honored to be named an Exemplary Employer for 1997– one of just 14 employers statewide to receive the award– he wishes there was more local competition for it.

   "It's really kind of a sad situation, because 1 only have one employee (with a disability), and they pick me? What does that tell you?" He said he believes strongly that more employers should do whatever they can to hire people with handicaps.
   "It takes very little on the part of the employer to obtain a high quality employee who is not going to change jobs or go somewhere else, because you've made accommodations to suit them," he said.

   Mr. Scholl, known as D.J., is the owner of Investment Capital Corporation in Orleans, part of a national mortgage company that handles a portfolio of mortgages across the country. He employs one full-time and two part-time staffers, plus consultants; his full-time employee, Jane McMahon, has a progressive neuromuscular disability which makes it difficult for her to walk distances or climb steps.

   The firm occupies space in a building in Oracle Square behind Emack & Bolio's on Route 6A in Orleans, and although Mr. Scholl, who launched the business in 1990, does not own the building, he spent money installing a handicapped access ramp for Ms. McMahon, who has worked for him for two years. Formerly a schoolteacher and the owner of a children's bookstore, she said she had to learn new skills in order to be able to work with her disability.

   Mr. Scholl said his company will be expanding its business in the next six or seven months to include originating local mortgages. With that expansion, he expects to hire another employee, and he intends to seek out someone who is physically challenged to fill the slot.

   Mr. Scholl, who lives in Eastham with his wife and two children, said his attitude is influenced by the fact that his daughter, 6-year-old Nora, is disabled and uses a wheelchair. That, he said, has made him more sensitive.

   The award will be presented by Gov. Paul Cellucci in a ceremony at the Statehouse on Friday, Oct. 17, 1997.

   Mr. Scholl was nominated for the award by the Public Access Committee of Eastham. His wife, Grady, serves on that committee, but committee chairman David Kern said she was not at the meeting at which the nomination was made. "We did it behind her back," he said. Mr. Kern said he knew Mr. Scholl had actually relocated his business once to help his employee, and knew he had a ramp specially built for her.

   "His whole attitude is this is something he wants to do that's right," Mr. Kern said, adding that Mr. Scholl sets a good example for other employers. "In Eastham, we're working with everyone in the chamber of commerce to make everything accessible," he said. "Our job is to just keep it before the public. "Most businesses, he said, are receptive. "I think everyone wants to do the right thing, don't you?"

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