Genesis Nominated for Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award


Genesis Nominated for Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award

Posted on 2008-06-17 by Craig H. Anderson

Genesis has been nominated for a 2008 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, which recognizes exceptional support from the employer community for members of our military and is the highest such honor given by the government.

Featured in article in the Tallahassee Democrat regarding this nomination are Saul Garcia and Mark Llewellyn, Jr.. Saul Garcia is a survey field crew member who has been with us since July of 2007. Mark Llewellyn, Jr. is a an Engineering Design Technician who has been with Genesis for 4-years.

Please join us in thanking Saul and Mark and all the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces for their service.

The Tallahassee Democrat online article:

   Tallahassee Democrat - Guard-friendly firms honored, May 29th

From the article:

May 29, 2008

Guard-friendly firms honored

Employers given award for supporting reservists

By Dave Hodges

To hear Rick Walker tell it, the work of an Army Reserve member could take you anywhere and for him, it has.

As a member of a training support unit, he has worked at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and at Fort Stewart, Ga. He was in Iraq prior to that. "Basically, I have been here, there and all over the place this past year," he said.

Walker is a sergeant in the Army Reserve, where he works as a warrant officer, reflecting his specialized technical skill in light-wheel vehicle mechanics. In civilian life, he is a field inspector for the Division of Standards in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, responsible for checking the fuel-dispensing operations at gasoline retailers and wholesale bulk terminals in Northeast Florida.

"As a normal Reservist you're only doing one weekend a month and two weeks a year," said Walker, who lives in Bryceville in Nassau County with his wife, Kathryn, also an Army Reserve member. "That basically makes everything easier for everybody."

Kathryn Walker works for the Navy as a financial management analyst at the submarine base in Kings Bay, Ga. The Standards Division hired Rick in February 2007, but the Army notified him shortly thereafter that he would be leaving for another training assignment.

"He hadn't been with us very long and he was very excited about the job," said division Director Paul Driggers. "Then he was called up and had to leave."

"The department certainly supports our employees who get called up for Reserve duty," Driggers added. The jobs are kept open for the individual upon their return and the agency does all it can to support the worker and the family during that deployment period.

"You can't beat the flexibility," Walker said of his state job. "Essentially I work out of my house. That's my office, so the state trusts me enough to maintain that trust."

Walker finished up his last military assignment the week of May 19 and returned to his civilian job. In the meantime, he recommended the FDACS for a 2008 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, which recognizes exceptional support from the employer community and is the highest such honor given by the government.

Other local nominees are the Florida Division of Forestry, Florida State University, Leon County Schools, Morgan Stanley and Genesis Group.

The awards program is part of Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense organization in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.

ESGR was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve and Guard members and their civilian employers and to assist in resolving conflicts that may arise from an employee's military commitment.

"ESGR is one of those tools to help, especially these great American patriots that are leaving their jobs, leaving their families, and going and doing what their nation's asking of them," said Tallahassee resident and retired Army colonel Phillip Speake. He is the chairman of the Florida Committee of ESGR and directs the 125 Florida volunteers who assist the program. "The families that are left behind, those are the real heroes and heroines."

The nation's Reserve component, or the total of all National Guard members and Reserve forces in all branches of the military, accounts for about 48 percent of the country's available military personnel. Under the current National Defense Strategy, Reserve members will spend more of their time away from the workplace defending the nation, supporting operations and participating in training to maintain their readiness.

In Florida, there are more than 32,000 Guard and Reserve members - some already mobilized and others, like Saul Garcia and Mark Llewellyn Jr. of Tallahassee, ready to ship out at any time. Both members of the Marine Corps Reserve's 4th Division Anti-Terrorism Battalion, E Company, the two most recently served in Djibouti, Africa.

"The chances of us having to go again are very, very likely," said Cpl. Garcia, whose civilian job in Tallahassee is a survey team member for engineering firm Genesis Group, another Freedom Award nominee for 2008.

While they're away, a frequent discussion among the Marines is their plans upon returning to the U.S. "We don't have to worry about a job or anything when we get back," Garcia said.

Genesis has stepped up when workers have to ship out, he added. "They were willing to help me out with anything that I needed." That has included working around the training schedule and adjusting to handle the firm's workload when Garcia and Llewellyn may only have a week's notice on their next military assignment.

"Having a job that you can rely on and make a career of, that's the important thing," he added.

Helping companies and their workers was the intent of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act signed into law in 1994. USERRA encourages noncareer service in the military by eliminating or minimizing the disadvantages to an individual's civilian career that can result from periodic military service.

The law seeks to minimize the disruption to the lives of those in military service, as well as their employers, coworkers and communities. It provides for the prompt reemployment of military personnel upon the completion of their service, and it prohibits discrimination against individuals because of their service in the military.