Working in Clark County Aaron Paulson compliance specialist with BPA

first_imgAaron Paulson isn’t just a guy crunching numbers behind tall cubical walls.The 41-year-old Hearthwood resident is one of 1,124 employees at the Bonneville Power Administration’s Ross Complex at 5411 Northeast Highway 99 helping to make positive changes there, and much of the fuel for his work comes from one heck of a backstory.The BPA, an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy that markets wholesale electric power from the Northwest, has joined many companies working to promote efforts toward diversity and inclusion. It installed a department specifically devoted to that topic recently, which Paulson quickly took an interest in — especially around disability awareness. He was born in Bombay, India, in 1977, when polio was common. He contracted the disease, which is transmitted through feces, when he was only 6 months old.Polio has since been eradicated in India, but Paulson, who spent time in an orphanage in India before being adopted as a 1-year-old by parents in Northeast Portland, still lives with the effects. Paulson moves with the aid of forearm crutches after the disease damaged nerves in his legs. But he doesn’t let it stop him.Extremely active outside of work, he’s a talented swimmer. He received a gold medal on the USA swim team in the 1996 Paralympic games in Atlanta, Ga. He has also has competed in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992; Sydney, Australia, in 2000; Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 2002; Athens, Greece, in 2004; Minneapolis, Minn., in 2005; and Beijing, China, in 2008. Paralympic games, an opportunity for those with disabilities to compete, are held shortly after the Olympic games.“I think, sometimes it’s very hard for people to broach that topic (disabilities), because it’s that — ‘Oh, I don’t want to offend you,’ or, ‘How would I ask that question?’ ” Paulson said. “It’s like, kids would come up to me and ask, ‘What’s wrong with you, why do you wear crutches?’ Parents would be grabbing them, but I’d be like, ‘No, no, no, let’s have this conversation.’last_img

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