Brooks Meter Devices contract makes positive impact with MRDD vendor



 Labor Secretary Elaine Chao

CANTON, Ohio – There are few things better in business when a decision turns out to have a positive impact on people as well as the bottomline.

Since 1999, Brooks Meter Devices has outsourced the assembly of the “contact jaws” for its test switches to The Workshops Inc., located at the Whipple-Dale Center of the Stark County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. For 30 years, TWI has employed MRDD individuals to provide packaging, assembling, maintenance and other services.

The Brooks Meter Devices contact jaw assembly contract was one of the projects featured during an August visit by U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao to The Workshops.

“Our enrollees really enjoy the Brooks Meter Devices work,” said Tim Coverdale, Stark County MRDD director of adult services and The Workshops. “The work is not complicated, and it gives our enrollees a great deal of self esteem.

“At The Workshops, we focus on what our enrollees can do, rather than on what they can not do. They do the jaws assembly work for Brooks Meter Devices extremely well, and that transfers into a deep sense of pride in their work.”

On average, TWI assembles 70,000 copper jaws every month. The contact jaw assembly is used on the load side (electric meter) of a test switch. The test switch’s handles can be opened and the meter’s accuracy checked without interrupting power to the customer. If the meter is bad, all handles can be opened and the meter replaced with a new one for a fast and easy repair.
“The Workshops Inc. is competitive on price, and very good in its quality control,” said Joan Burdge, purchasing manager with Brooks Meter Devices who has been involved with TWI since the contract began.

The Workshops Inc. serves 35-50 customers every month, and employs more than 1200 individuals. About 900 of those employed work at one of The Workshops’ four locations, while the rest of the enrollees are employed at customer sites throughout the community.

Brooks Utility Products Group, part of the E.J. Brooks family of companies, consists of Brooks Ekstrom, Farmington Hills, Mich.; Brooks Meter Devices, Canton, Ohio; and Brooks Security Products, Livingston, N.J. Brooks UPG provides a complete line of metering related products for the utility and electrical contracting industries. For additional information visit
NOTE TO MEDIA: To download this story and up to four images of Secretary Chao’s visit to The Workshops Inc. and her review of Brooks Meter Devices work, visit