Our History

In 1980, with two employees, Charlie and Weezie Baker opened a small direct mail and outsourcing business in their garage to begin to fill the void for high-functioning disabled people in the workforce.

The business soon found an abundant market for its services which led to the establishment of a second Baker work site in Philadelphia in 1988 which would employ ex-offenders and recovering substance abusers who also typically have difficulty getting jobs.

Several moves and many expansions later, this modest nonprofit enterprise has grown to include a work site in both Malvern and Philadelphia where approximately 100 and 75 individuals respectively are using this second chance to rebuild their lives.

Our Mission

  • To employ those with the most difficulty holding jobs
  • To teach the work ethic through real work experience
  • To act as a transition step toward gaining and maintaining outside employment
  • To help our workers reach their highest level of achievement

Our workers come from four specific groups of vulnerable adults:

  1. People with physical or emotional disabilities resulting from epilepsy, head trauma or other diagnoses
  2. Recovering substance abusers
  3. Individuals on parole or probation
  4. The homeless

Real Work for Real Wages

Our approach is a departure from the typical “sheltered workshop” concept. Unlike sheltered workshops, we pay each employee the legal minimum wage, or more.

Our program is designed to respond to our workers’ special needs while encouraging them to work hard and move on to better things. Through employment at Baker Industries, we foster in our employees the feelings of pride and accomplishment that can only come from being included in, rather than excluded from, the regular work force.

We believe that there is no better way of accomplishing this goal than to expose our workers to experiences that mimic real world situations, allowing them to gain the knowledge and skills they will need to lead independent and productive lives.

Meet Our Team

John H. ‘Turk’ Thacher, Jr.
John H. ‘Turk’ Thacher, Jr.President
Turk Thacher is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Graduate Division. He has had extensive small business and nonprofit experience, and has performed corporate governance and development work. Turk joined Baker Industries in 2002.
Mike Ritchie
Mike RitchieDirector of Finance
Mike has a BS degree in Accounting from LaSalle University. He has had extensive accounting, administrative, and management experience for a variety of organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit. Mike joined Baker in 2013.
Beth Tiewater
Beth TiewaterDirector of Projects and Resources
After pursuing a career in classical music, Beth moved into marketing professional services in San Francisco. Her responsibilities at Baker include programming for participants, donor events, individual and corporate fundraising, and assisting our workers in all aspects of transition as they build new and better lives.
Doug Fauver
Doug FauverOperations Manager
Doug has a degree in Industrial Engineering Technology and broad knowledge of, and experience in manufacturing and project management, including Lean and Six-Sigma concepts, ISO9001, AS9100, and MIL standards. Doug puts his leadership and training skills to work every day as he prepares our program participants for success at Baker, and beyond.
Kim Starkweather
Kim StarkweatherPlant Manager
Kim joined Baker in 2001, with a background in production and customer service. Kim oversees day-to-day production at our Malvern facility.
Jackie Johnston
Jackie JohnstonCommunications and Outreach Manager
Jackie is responsible for our Alumni Program, which tracks participants after they leave Baker. She also executes our social media on a variety of web-based platforms, as well as Baker’s website and print materials. Jackie just recently became a Certified Recovery Specialist in an effort to better serve our participants who struggle with sobriety.
Sergio Lebron
Sergio LebronCustomer Service Coordinator
Sergio came to Baker Industries in October 2002, while in a residential treatment facility in Philadelphia. Sergio started on the assembly line, became a supervisor, and then advanced to shipping & receiving. Recognizing his value to Baker, Sergio was asked to join the staff. Today, Sergio holds the position of Customer Service Coordinator.