Perpetual Technologies Tapped for Award
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2009 Defense officials have chosen Perpetual Technologies Inc. to receive the department's employer-support award for providing exceptional financial and emotional support to its employees who deploy as National Guard or Reserve members.
PTI will receive the Freedom Award along with 14 other companies in a ceremony here next month. The Freedom Award, instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, recognizes exceptional support from the employer community.
“PTI has been very supportive of my military career over the years, and has fully supported my annual training as well as other National Guard conferences,” said Chris Zeis, a PTI employee who is now serving in Afghanistan’s Khost province as a sergeant first class in the Army National Guard.
Zeis, who nominated the Indianapolis-based PTI for the Freedom Award, said when he learned of his upcoming deployment, PTI leadership simply said: “We will take care of you.”
“Without their support and financial commitment, I might not have taken this deployment and would have retired from the National Guard altogether,” he said.
Ten percent of the veteran-owned company’s payroll consists of current or former Guard and Reserve members. For these employees, PTI, which provides management and consulting services, offers differential pay between employees’ military pay and PTI’s salary during deployments.
In the past, PTI has paid a differential of up to $40,000, said Ted Utley, PTI’s human resources manager. The differential pay is available for each of the dozen or so National Guard or Reserve members on staff if they are called up to active duty.
“We’ve got to take care of the person and make their life as minimally interrupted as possible. We can’t stop the fact that he’s in Afghanistan, or Iraq or Kosovo for a year,” Utley said. “But we can make it so the long-term financial impact is minimized.
“Plus, it’s better than free coffee!” Utley said of the salary accommodation. “Some things are bigger than just profits -- like defending our nation.”
Additionally, the company regularly ships care packages to deployed employees and invites their family members to company functions throughout the year. The company sends birthday cards to family members of deployed employees that include a $5 bill for children and a $25 gift certificate for spouses.
“When someone’s deployed, we include the families in our newsletters [and send them] to their home address, invite them to company cookouts we have once or twice a month,” Utley said. “We encourage the families to show up, bring the kids, and hang out with us.”
Utley said PTI modeled its family outreach efforts on similar programs already within the military. “We kind of just borrowed from their handbook, which says, ‘Don’t forget the people back home.’”
But the support of their military-civilian staff members does not stop with the mission. Upon returning from mobilization, PTI recognizes military members at public events and prominently displays yellow ribbons throughout the company’s facilities.
The company contributes to the military in other ways too, including annual support of the Indiana National Guard Relief Fund and sponsorship of a military charitable golf outing in Indianapolis.
The Freedom Award recognizes U.S. employers that rise above the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. PTI previously received the ESGR Pro Patria Award for its support of National Guard and Reserve employees.
Zeis said he was excited when he learned that his nomination had culminated in PTI receiving the Freedom Award.
“This award and the caliber of support it requires clearly illustrates the character and the identity of a company,” he said. “I do look very forward to rejoining the PTI team when I get home.”