PORT WASHINGTON, New York -- A Long Island company is making it its mission to celebrate autism acceptance all year round, and now, one of the employees of Spectrum Designs is being celebrated for creating a new flag.
And he's hoping it becomes an official symbol of acceptance across New York State.
In the world of customized apparel every fiber, color and style has meaning.
You could certainly say the same about the business model at Spectrum Designs, where no two minds think alike something they love to embrace.
More than half of Spectrum's 77 employees are on the autism spectrum.
For Josh Mirsky, a long-time employee with Asperger's syndrome, his work experience inspired him to design a flag that celebrates neurodiversity. He said he put gold on the flag to represent 1st place.
"We're tired of being like second and third class citizens," Josh said. "No, that's garbage. We are 1st place. And the diamond is value because we demand to be valued."
The company is on Main Street in the heart of Port Washington on Nassau County's north shore.
Community leaders joined the Spectrum workforce Thursday afternoon to help Josh raise his flag for the first time.
"You know that first feeling when you fall in love," Mirsky said. 'Ten times better, 10 times better."
Spectrum's founders realized years ago that business success is measured by clients in many ways.
"Their social impact, the environment and the community," said Patrick Bardsley, Spectrum Designs' CEO and co-founder. "So we offer them a chance to kind of check two boxes."
The company has come a long way since it first started in a backyard barn in Manhasset 12 years ago.
Last year, Spectrum did $5 million in sales and they're putting out tens of thousands of these items every week.
High-quality items to huge clients like the Islanders, J.P. Morgan Chase and Uber.
Their employees are the exceptions in a population with an unemployment rate as high as 85% but Mirsky has high hopes for his flag.
"Well every single movement throughout history has a flag, right," Josh said. "Pride flag for example.You had the flag and progress comes after."
Like the progress at Spectrum where it is anything but business as usual.