Aspiritech 2015 Annual Report

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"I' ve never had a job like this that I was paid for, where I felt like I was doing some thing 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

Bird’s Eye View 3 Letter from Leadership Liftoff 5 Mission and Histor y Soaring to New Heights 7 2015 Highlights Reach for the Stars 8 Stepping Up & Out Flying High 10 Our Clients Fueling Our Engine 12 2015 Financial Statement Achieving Velocity 14 Our Suppor ters Pilots and Crew 16 Board of Directors, Management Team, and Advisors TABLE OF CONTENTS
“I like the inclusiveness of the company. I feel comfor table here, which isn’t how I felt at other companies.”
–Brad B., 33 years old


Letter from Leadership

Dear Friends,

We are happy to announce that Aspir itech 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 impac t 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 ser vice offer ings, including hardware testing, automated sof t ware testing, and data analysis.

O ther 2015 highlights include:

• New team members include a second full time autism specialist, a par t time autism specialist, and a business development direc tor. Plus, founder Brenda Weitzberg joined the team as full time executive direc tor in July

• A generous two year grant from The Coleman Foundation facilitated our transition into a state of the ar t office in Highland Park , Illinois.

• The Board of Direc tors 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 Direc tors.

Tak ing flight in 2015 means that Aspiritech is soaring to even greater heights in 2016. As of mid year, business contrac ts 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 ex tremely grateful to our many suppor ters Thanks to donor suppor t, 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 voca tional training, resource and information ser vices, and social ac tivities and workshops through our Stepping Up & Out program.

Thank you for your critical suppor t of our mission.

Si l

This place gives us an oppor tunity for honest work, enjoyable work, that we can be proud of doing. I’ve heard through autism conferences and shows on T V sometimes that there are other places we are supposed to be [work ing as] a d u l t s o n t h e a u t i s m s p e c t r u m , b u t t h e y ’re m e n i a l j o b s. L i k e a c a r wa s h , o r a window wash, or bun maker. I t ’s either fac tor y work or custodial work or some thing that a high schooler could do. Here, we’re doing qualit y sof t ware testing. Which is an adult job, really, and a well-respec ted job.”


years old

T., 40


Aspiritech provides a path for high func tioning individuals on the autism spec trum to realize their potential through gainful employment.

What does this mean? I t means we connec t the unique talents of individuals with autism talents such as laser like focus, attention to detail, strong visual processing sk ills, superior ability to spot irregularities, superlative technical skills, and lack of boredom with highly repetitive tasks with clients seek ing this level of exper tise. O ur employees provide qualit y assurance (QA) ser vices in regression testing, data migration, test design, compatibility testing, data analysis, user acceptance testing, automation, design consistenc y, hardware testing, and many more areas.

But Aspir itech is more than a connec tor. I t ’s a place where employees find meaningful work. It ’s a place where social quir ks are embraced. I t ’s a place where independence flour ishes and challenges are overcome.

We’ve come a long way since our founding in 2008. We look for ward to seeing what the coming years bring.

Aspiritech incorporated

The company ’s pilot program, a hands on software testing training program, launches.

First test engineers hired

New ser vices o ered; autism specialist hired New industries join as clients; business development direc tor hired Company continues to thrive.

Client revenue doubles compared to prior year.

Turn the page!

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Mission and Histor y
“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


2015 Highlights

Fiscal year 2015 was a resounding success. We moved into a new home with suppor t from The Coleman Foundation, continued to grow in clients and employees, expanded client ser vices, and strengthened our infrastruc ture by hiring Brenda Weitzberg as a full time executive direc tor.

Two testers accepted competitive positions elsewhere (six individuals have transitioned to jobs in the competitive marketplace so far)

Exceeded half a million dollars in client sales

Trained and hired eight individuals

New ser vice o erings included hardware testing, automated software testing and data analysis

Seventy individuals, including employees and community members, par ticipated in Stepping Up & Out social ac tivities

Twenty seven total employees

Moved into a new o ce with a larger footprint and sensor y aware amenities

Hired a full time executive direc tor

Stepping Up & Out

Aspir itech employs individuals who sometimes struggle in social situations. M any adults on the autism spec trum have difficult y mak ing eye contac t or reading emotional and verbal cues, which can make job inter views, “water cooler talk , ” and other social interac tions challenging. Our Stepping Up & O ut program tack les social isolation through week ly ac tivities, including game nights, ar ts and craf ts, and communit y meals. Program assistants on the autism spec trum help plan and run each event.


Game night

Movie night

Thanksgiving dinner

Ar t projec ts

Improv Halloween par ty

Scavenger hunt

Goal setting

Group walks Trivia Puzzles


Improved communication

Self confidence

Social bonding

Enhanced personal connec tions

Reduced isolation


Emotional suppor t

Soft sk ills

Self efficac y

“I think that I ac tually, generally, have become more social ever y where. I was re c l u s i ve b e fo re. Th e d a i l y i nte ra c t i o n i n t h e co ntex t o f wo r k k i n d o f c u l t i vate s being able to get out and socialize.” Alicia M., 28 years old

Our Clients

“ I’ve b e e n p a r t o f q u a l i t y a s s u ra n ce o rg a n i z at i o n s fo r 2 5 ye a r s, a n d [Aspiritech] really understands quality and how to do testing the right way.”

Jeff New, Systems Qualit y Manager

Zebra Technologies Corp.

Th e accurac y and sp eed t h at t h e te s t e n gi n e e r s at As p i r i te c h h ave displayed has been remark able. This group of individuals has an undeniable set of sk ills that makes them uniquely suited to per for m sof t ware testing and QA work at a ver y prolific rate.”

Gene S chelfaut, Executive Director, Head of Americas Information Systems

Astella Pharma US Inc.

“ You guys knocked it out of the park! Our experience with Aspiritech has b e e n n o t h i n g s h o r t o f a m a z i n g … We t u r n e d to As p i r i te c h fo r a s m a l l projec t at first and were astounded at the level of detail their testing repor ts provided … Af ter the first testing repor ts came back and the final i nvo i ce wa s o n p o i nt, we k n e w we h a d a w i n n e r. Now we consider As piritech to be an extension of our QA team and will continue to use them for all our application inter face testing from this point for ward.”

Chris Gould, S oft ware D evelopment Manager

Eagle Metal Products

In 2015, we contrac ted with 13 clients in industries ranging from education to pharmaceuticals to technology.

Our clients tell us time and time again: Aspiritech delivers. In fac t, clients ranked “quality of ser vice” as the most impor tant fac tor in their decision to use Aspir itech. O ther results from our 2015 independent sur vey are equally impressive.

SATISFIED/ HIGHLY SATISFIED 100% of surveyed clients indicated they would recommend Aspiritech to others—and they do!




Individuals $35,630

Foundations $131,243

Released from restric ted $129,685

testing revenue $512,852


2015 e


Program Costs $554,028

Fundraising $4,892

costs $82,433



R e v e N u e
O ther
x p e N s e s
suRpLus $168,092*
*Surplus will be reinvested to strengthen our infrastructure in 2016 and enable continued growth.

“I think anyone would donate to the company if they could just talk to us and fi n d o u t t h e ways i n w h i c h we’ve h e l p e d b u s i n e s s e s a n d o t h e r p e o p l e, professionally and personally. This job gave me an oppor tunit y to use some of the k nowledge 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 k nowledge without being able to use it.”

Our Suppor ters

Aspiritech wants to ex tend its hear tfelt thanks to the following donors who suppor ted us so generously in 2015.


The Coleman Foundation


Fred J Brunner Foundation

$20,000-25,000 Anonymous Grandy Foundation Healthcare Foundation of Highland Park

$10,000 15,000 Helen Brach Foundation

$5,000 5,500

Finnegan Family Foundation Sweeney Family Foundation Hong Zhang Sun, PhD and Xien He Sun, PhD

$2,000 $2,600

Alvin H. Baum Family Foundation

The Roslyn and Joseph Perlman Foundation Trillium Foundation


Simon and Rita Berger

Dr. Rober t and Mrs. Sharon Bielsk i Michele and Don Cronin

Louise Pearson and Jack Henk in, PhD Season of Change Foundation

K ar yn B. Lutz

Tak iff Family Foundation

James and Miner va Weiss Foundation Pin He and Yung Zhang


Barberis Family

Bax ter International Foundation Barbara and David Campbell Ex trel CMS

Dr. Michael and Lisa Foreman in honor of Moshe Weitzberg Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Janet and Rober t Jacobson Dr. Henr y Masters III Jim and Marie McCallister Andy and Nanc y Mills in honor of Brad and Jackee Cohen Danielle Moushon Securitech Group, Inc. Beverly and Myron Shapiro Dr John Sobolsk i and Dr Fatieh Khojasteh Byron and Jean States Carmen and Donald Tozzo Dr Moshe and Brenda Weitzberg


Bruce Belrose and Ester Stein Marcia and Leon Bernstein

Dr. Duke and Claudia Cameron Brad and Jackee Cohen CME Foundation Marilee and Matthew Cole Cubist

Abraham and Bette Cyzner in honor of Oran Weitzberg Betty Dayron in honor of Beverly Shapiro Dr. Richard and Vic toria Elliott

Bud Glick Mar y and Rober t Killian

Arieh Konigl, PhD

Kraft Matching Gifts

Margaret McDonald

Ronald and Patricia Miller Todd and Lori Newberger

Drs. Gar y Posner and Judith Stamberg in memor y of Joe and Rose Posner

Clint Pross and Amy Ecker

Alan Rosenblatt, MD Mitch and Maria Segal in memor y of June Hur witz

Ar thur Segil

Dr Gene and Shar yn Weiss K aty and Hugh Zwick

$100 $199

Anonymous in honor of Rachelle Jer vis and Marc Mar Yohanna Jean and Bill Bacarella

Dr. John and Jean Beckerman Ronald Brix Emily Carroll Richard Clark , PhD and Laura Whiting Clark Dena and David Cooperman Dr Ira and Amy Dolnick Stuar t and Elaine Duhl Daniel and Marilyn Educate Lynn Franck

Dr. Michael and Jennifer Fretzin Oliver Fuentes Sheila and Vern Gideon Dr. Louis and Suzanne Greenwald Julie Hecktman

Merrill and Bernette Hoyt in honor of Beverly Shapiro Anne and Alan Kraus in honor of David Kraus

Steven LaKind Moshe and Toby Leibowitz Sondra and Max Lorig Rinna and Eric Maletsk y Bill and Annette McClellan Mindspark Technologies David Nehmadi

Rabbi Oler Discretionar y Fund Catherine Pacholsk i Tomak a

Ben Prozinsk i

Drs. Lawrence and Deborah Segil Don and Peggy Shearn

Elinor T. Turbov in honor of David Kraus Melissa Wish under $100

Mel and Donna Alexander Bindy Bitterman in honor of K atie Levin and her colleagues Dan and Barrie Cohen Wendy Cole in honor of Myron and Beverly Shapiro Andrea Conrad Leslie Corn Kerr y and Margaret Crosby Jeffrey Dobrinsk i Roxanne Dowdy Enaz Janet and Merrill Freed Barbara and Charles Gitk in Gail and Donald Goldstein Kelley Collen and Stuar t Grinell Jack and Ruth Gruener Dr. Doug and Sherrie K alvin Matthew Koenig Har vey and Debby Lazar in memor y of Robbie Willis Renee Lewis

Mayra Leyva Sam Lin Marc and Beth Noland Rodney and Joy Onusaitis Janice Pilarsk i Rober t and Gigi Ramis Susan Rochlis

Ann Sheridan Marilyn and Rodney Slutzk y Ronnie Sokol

Dr. Michael and Sue Stein on behalf of Tuesday Night Out Bridge Group Sue Tolpin Charlie Villarosa Dr. Moshe Zamir

We apologize for any errors or omissions that we may have inadver tently made. Please notify us of any errors or omissions at info@aspiritech org

Board of Directors, Management Team, and Advisors


Beverly Shapiro Chair

Gene Weiss, MD Vice Chair

Danielle Moushon Treasurer Barbara Berman Sharon Bielsk i Ron Brix

Brad Cohen Bud Glick

Marc Mar Yohana

Ben Prozinsk i

David Rappapor t

Ester Stein

Moshe Weitzberg, PhD


Brenda Weitzberg Executive Director

Moshe Weitzberg, PhD Director of Operations

Marc Lazar Autism Specialist

Tor y Peña Autism Specialist Brian Tozzo Lead Tester

Andrew Costello Automation Test Lead Connie Gomez Senior QA Manager

Robin K ac yn Stepping Up & Out Coordinator


Ed Asner

Brian R. King, LCSW

Bennett Leventhal, MD

Dan Mayo

Marc Noland

Louise Pearson Keita Suzuk i

Hong Zhang, PhD

“I feel like I’m ac tually doing something good on a regular basis, and I’m mak ing something of myself, and I’m helping people.”

Julia O., 27 years old “I wish I’d found a place like this many years ago. I’m just glad that I found this place to work in right now.”

Alan S., 61 years old

“I’m ver y grateful for being given a chance to show what I can do.”

Alicia M., 28 years old “O f all the jobs that I have ever worked, Aspiritech is my favorite.”

Gail B., 58 years old

Designer: Laurie Wurster Editor: Kelsey Schagemann Photographer: K atie Levin 1893 Sheridan Road, Suite 103 Highland Park , IL 60035 312-945-TEST (8378)