Take Your Boss To Work Day

Wisconsin distributor sees firsthand the quality and professionalism of National Guard and Reserve members.

ESGR Boss Lift Program

Machinery & Welder Corporation’s Joe Campbell joined a group of employers visiting Naval Station Norfolk to get an up-close look at the work of Guard and Reserve members.

Recently, employers throughout Wisconsin embarked on a mission they would not soon forget. The Wisconsin Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) invited 54 employers to participate in the annual Boss Lift event at the naval base in Norfolk, Virginia, home of the U.S. Navy’s 2nd Fleet and the largest naval base in the world. Among the employers was Joe Campbell, president of Machinery & Welder Corporation in West Allis, Wisconsin.

Joseph Campbell

Joe Campbell, Machinery & Welder Corporation

The Boss Lift program is a three day excursion aimed at familiarizing employers of Guard and Reserve members with the work their citizen soldiers do when participating in their military duties. The trip began with an airlift from the Wisconsin Air National Guard 128th Air Refueling Wing, departing from Milwaukee and Volk Field, where employers boarded KC-135 Stratotankers and had the opportunity to observe in-flight refueling of F-16 Falcons en route to Norfolk. Campbell noted the strong professionalism and team spirit of the flight crew. “I was impressed with their skills, maturity and dedication,” he says.

Upon arrival at the base’s airfield, employers were greeted by the U.S. Navy support team, which hosted the group while on the ground at Norfolk. Everyone was welcomed and briefed on the Wisconsin National Guard and Navy Reserve. For Campbell, who recently hired four veterans, the briefings reaffirmed the quality of his employees and the other men and women who serve.

The experience helped the employers gain a better understanding of what their citizen soldiers do when they are away from their civilian occupations for military duty.

When touring the USS New York and the USS Mahan, the group was guided by service members assigned to the ships. While the ships’ capabilities and weaponry were impressive, it was the crew members’ enthusiasm and pride for their shipmates and ship that were most remarkable.

Other elements of the trip included preparing MREs (Meals Ready to Eat—military cuisine of the field), and having the hands-on opportunity to inspect equipment used by the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. For many employers, the Boss Lift far exceeded their expectations. Says Campbell, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and made me very,
very proud.”

According to Dick Vallin, Wisconsin’s ESGR chairman, the Boss Lift program is the strongest vehicle ESGR has to demonstrate to employers the high caliber of the men and women in the Guard and Reserve forces. “Our employers are generally supportive of these people and their commitment to service, often without a clear understanding of what their duty may entail,” he says. “Our guests returned to Wisconsin completely enlightened on a day in the life of a service member.”

Put America’s Best To Work For You
GAWDA members know from experience that military personnel bring unique skills to the workplace. Interested in hiring a veteran?  Want to know how to handle on-duty time for National Guard employees? All this and more, even how to get a military contract, can be read in Welding & Gases Today ONLINE. Here are examples of two articles that may be helpful.

On The Homefront
When Members of the Reserves and National Guard are called into active duty, employers face such questions as how to replace the employee’s production, whether or not to pay the employee during their absence, and how to reintegrate them upon their return. GAWDA members who have faced these challenges shared their experiences in “On The Homefront.”

Recruiting Skilled Workers from the Armed Forces
Like members of the Guard and Reserve, many military veterans are involved in the daily work of the gases and welding industry, both on the supplier and manufacturer sides. As service men and women return from active duty, they bring a willingness to work and a sense of discipline, as well as training that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the private sector. “Put America’s Best To Work For You” offers several resources for recruiting members of the armed forces.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Haley Hensen Haley Hensen represents the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, located on the Web at www.esgr.mil.