Power Company Does ‘Whatever It Takes’ For Military Employees
By Sara Moore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2008 Dominion Resources has a simple philosophy when it comes to supporting its employees who serve part-time in the military: “Whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.”
That philosophy has led to a companywide culture of support for the military and also earned Dominion the 2008 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Dominion, with headquarters in Richmond, Va., is one of 15 companies receiving the award, which recognizes employers who provide exceptional support to employees serving in the National Guard or Reserve.
Dominion has many programs to support its employees who are activated or deployed with the National Guard or Reserve, said Jim Eck, vice president of human resources. During an activation or deployment, Dominion provides a pay supplement and continues benefits for the employee for up to 60 months. In addition, the company has a designated “care package coordinator” who keeps in touch with the deployed employees and organizes care-package drives for the troops overseas, he said. All the updates from deployed employees are posted to an electronic employee forum that can be accessed companywide.
Dominion takes care of the families of deployed employees, keeping in touch with them and inviting them to company functions, Eck said. The company also sponsors send-off and welcome-home celebrations for deploying troops.
“These employees have served the company, and they are now asked to serve our country,” he said. “Dominion feels a partnership in serving the country, and this is the way that we can demonstrate our support for our country and these employees and their families.”
Dominion’s support for him and his family during a mobilization was what motivated Navy Cmdr. Michael Monfalcone to nominate the company for the Freedom Award. Monfalcone, executive officer of the U.S. Strategic Command Cruise Missile Support Activity, Atlantic Reserve Unit, in Norfolk, Va., was mobilized from October 2001 to August 2003 in support of Operation Noble Eagle. During that time, Dominion fully supported him and his family, he said, as the company does for all employees who serve in the military.
“Throughout the company, whenever a Guard or Reserve employee received orders to mobilize, their entire business location did everything possible to support that person and their family during the deployment,” Monfalcone, who now is deployed to Iraq, said. He added that he has seen this support in action because he works in Dominion’s human resources department, supporting labor relations initiatives.
Dominion has been recognized nationally for its support of military employees, Monfalcone noted. He has worked for Dominion for seven years, and said he plans to stay with the company when he returns from his current deployment. He noted that his 19 years of experience in the Navy have helped him develop critical leadership, team-building, communication, and problem-solving skills.
“My Navy experience has prepared me to be proactive, flexible, and adaptable and to continually seek opportunities to improve myself and my business environment,” he said.
Qualities like those are what make employees with military training and experience so valuable to Dominion, Eck said. The company actively recruits military veterans and reserve personnel, he said.
“What we find is that these candidates are focused, and are well organized to plan and deliver results,” he said. “So when we look at candidates that have demonstrated an aptitude for execution, men and women from the military rank very high based on what they have already trained to do and what they have already accomplished.”
Eck said that he and the rest of the leadership of Dominion are honored to be receiving the Freedom Award. The company plans to continue its support of military employees, he said, and will expand its long-term disability coverage to provide differential coverage for long-term disability in the event that an employee is disabled while on active duty.
“We cannot just rest on our laurels. We can continue to improve our service and support for our employees that serve in the Guard and reserve,” he said.
Dominion will receive the Freedom Award Sept. 18 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center here. The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional support from the employer community.