Neil Samahon Dedicated to Serving Community
Neil Samahon has always worked for small businesses. He is a supporter of the entrepreneurial spirit and he understands the challenges small businesses face, especially as they continue to recover from the COVID pandemic. This make him an ideal NFIB member and proud to step up as our latest Leadership Council Chair. His appreciation that small business is the economic engine of this country is key.
Before Samahon became CEO of Opportunity Enterprises, he spent 25 years working for a small business. As CEO of Metro Recycling, a metal and paper recycling company, he worked closely with the owner of the company and grew ever more appreciative of the personal sacrifices made on behalf of the growth of the company and investment in employees.
Neil Samahon with employee David Barnes.
“I feel that working in small business gives one an increased appreciation for the significance that you have in the lives of those who work for you. I always felt a level of pride as I saw employees grow individually and watched families grow as well knowing that it was directly correlated to how well the business operated,” said Neil Samahon.
“When I was introduced to the NFIB, I quickly recognized the important role it played in supporting the interests of small businesses. Both the state and federal representation and advocacy were critical for so many and on such a variety of issues. Being active also gives one valuable access to information and I found the association to be quite beneficial.”
Samahon says that becoming a member of the Leadership Council was one way to gain even more access to legislators; however, he feels that the greatest value was hearing from other small business owners and leaders from a diverse makeup of industries and company sizes.
Opportunity Enterprises employees Jacob Butler and Richard Howard and Joe Quilizza with small business owner Neil Samahon.
Opportunity Enterprises is an organization that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing a variety of services. In 1967, it originally began by providing work opportunities for older students with disabilities to further develop integral skills. Over the years, Opportunity Enterprises grew to include residential, educational, and expanded vocational opportunities.
Growing from just a handful of employees in 1967 to 360 employees today, Opportunity Enterprises finds itself one of the largest employers in Porter County, Indiana, illustrating that entrepreneurial acumen exists in a wide variety of industries and sizes.
“Just like so many other small businesses, hiring workers is our most significant challenge. The availability of staff has diminished to such a small number making it difficult to find the desired level of staff,” said Samahon.
Being in the business of providing care for individuals with disabilities, some for twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, Opportunity Enterprises has to continue providing services regardless of whatever challenges are thrown their way, including COVID. This being the case, Samahon says he values his employees even more. He says the passion and commitment they have to serve exceed the crisis at hand.
Navigating the challenges of exposed or symptomatic staff or clients has caused Samahon’s small business to pay an exorbitant amount of overtime to serve all the hours required to give the quality of care they desire.
Samahon takes pride in being in the business of people. People serving people. He says his employees are critically important to those they serve and the success of Opportunity Enterprises is owed to the women and men who give so much of themselves to care for, mentor, and serve individuals with disabilities. Opportunity Enterprises is providing a unique solution to other small businesses who are also struggling to fill open positions due to the labor shortage that many Indiana entrepreneurs face right now. Their vocational training and on-the-job support of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities is opening small business doors to a workforce with great potential.
You can read more about NFIB’s latest survey concerning the tight labor market here. The data shows that more than half our small business owners have job openings they can’t fill. The number one problem is inflation.