Recognizing What It Takes
In recognition for outstanding support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserves, employee James Pierie recently received a Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). Capt. Jason Uhlig, a field supervisor of protection operations and U.S. Army Reserve company commander, nominated Pierie, director of overhead electrical operations and Uhlig’s former supervisor, for the award.
The Patriot Award showcases employers’ efforts to support “citizen warriors” by offering flexible schedules and time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence, if needed. Employees serving in the National Guard or Reserve may nominate their supervisors based on support provided directly to the service member and his or her family. ESGR also presented National Grid with a plaque, acknowledging the company’s commitment to ESGR’s mission and its support of employee participation in the military.
“We are very proud of both Jason and James for their ongoing and unwavering support in service to our country,” said Keith McAfee, vice president, electric operations for National Grid. “Many people may not realize that the Reserve and National Guard are seldom a ‘one weekend a month, two weeks a year’ commitment, especially for a commanding officer like Jason. It takes employer support, every day, for reservists to continue to serve in the military and pursue careers at companies like National Grid.”
After serving 12 years in the Army, four on active duty including a 2012 combat tour in Afghanistan, Uhlig joined National Grid while continuing to serve in the Army Reserve. As a civil affairs officer, Uhlig devotes much of his personal time to operational development, logistics planning and physical training with his unit, Bravo Company, 401st Civil Affairs Battalion, based in Webster, New York.
“The transition process for a military veteran can be a daunting challenge, especially having recently returned from a combat tour,” said Uhlig. “The process does not take place over a matter of weeks, but over the course of years, and not only happens to the service member, but to their families, friends and community, who all play an important role in the process. James Pierie hired me knowing the oath of service I had taken and the duties it involved, even though his department is on call 24/7 due to the nature of our business. And every day since then, he and the entire National Grid team have supported me in both of my roles serving the company and our country.”
Currently, National Grid employs 426 veterans and 91 reservists. The company participates in the Troops to Energy Jobs program, partnering with five other energy companies across the country and the Center for Energy Workforce Development to bring military veterans into the energy industry workforce nationwide.
National Grid has enhanced its veteran outreach in recent years, including creating a dedicated veterans outreach specialist role within the company. National Grid also has a 200-member-strong Veterans Employee Resource Group (VERG), helping to implement the Troops to Energy Jobs program across its U.S. business.
More information on ESGR, a Department of Defense operational committee, is available at www.esgr.mil.