by Heather Patchell, M.A.
On November 7 and 8, the Arizona ILG (AZilg, formerly QuadA: Arizona Affirmative Action Association) held their 16th Annual Compliance Conference. Dr. Patrick Nooren, Executive Vice President of Biddle Consulting Group, Inc., gave the preconference address where he unpacked the revised regulations related to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (related to individuals with disabilities) and Section 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans Rehabilitation Assistance Act (related to protected veterans). The scope of these important regulations has been greatly expanded and Patrick was able to outline the changes, their impact and make recommendations to the ILG group in Arizona.
On November 8, Biddle Consulting Group, Inc., was honored to sponsor a luncheon to introduce the John A Garza Lifetime Achievement Award. AZilg members were inspired by a video of Mr. Garza’s lifetime of contributions to the field of Affirmative Action, Equal Employment and Diversity, as well as with testimonials about Mr. Garza from several prominent members of the EEO community, including Marvin Jordan of the Arizona OFCCP, Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC, and Gail Painter of the Boeing Company.
Gail fondly observed, “John is, and will always be, a role model for me in the area of EEO/AA compliance. He is my mentor, leader, and a great friend! It is truly an honor to be able to recognize John for all he has done and continues to do for this unique field of expertise. He has been there for me, as well as many other EEO/AA practitioners, to mentor us and guide us to ensure we are successful. I know I speak for others when I say, ‘Thank you, my friend!’ ”
Dr. Dan Biddle, President and CEO of Biddle Consulting Group, Inc., affirmed Gail’s thoughts, “BCG is so honored to participate in this…you are truly someone whom I have regarded with the highest respect for not only ‘holding ground’ in this important field, but also gaining ground. Your encouragement, connections, and favor with our team members and BCG as a whole has done incredible things for us, and has helped to open doors.”
Several members of John’s family and friends were able to attend the luncheon. All in attendance were clear of the honor given to John when he wrapped up his address by stating, “60 years from now no one will remember, and it will not matter, what kind of car you drove, how much money you made, or how big a house you lived in! It will matter and people will remember you…if you’ve made a difference in their lives! I hope that as President of the AZilg I’ve made a difference in every EEO/AA/Diversity practitioner’s life.”
While the conference offered a lot to be learned in the field of EEO/AA and Diversity, all in attendance were poignantly aware of the commitment John A. Garza had and still has to our field. In this season of thanksgiving, we can say that we are truly grateful for having participated.