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NEWS | Aug. 15, 2016

ESGR’s take your Boss to work day

By Maj. Carla Raisler 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

The Kentucky ESGR program provides the opportunity for civilian employers to interact with Kentucky National Guardsmen during their annual training.

“We normally hold a single Bosslift involving the Army and Air Guard each year,” said ESGR Program Support Analyst, Mike Richie. “We try to invite bosses of Guardsmen and Reservists, key community influencers and business leaders so that we can educate all on the values Guardsmen and Reservists bring to not only the workplace, but our communities. Our intent is to develop advocates for our reserve component service members at all levels in the civilian community.”

This year, the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade flew in 27 civilian employers to observe a combined arms breach executed by members of the 206th Engineer Battalion and 198th Military Policy Battalion. Capt. Stephen Strack, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 206th Engineer Battalion, acted as the Officer in Charge and tour guide for the event.

“The Boss Lift is an incredible opportunity for employers to see the National Guard in action and what we do when we are not at work,” said Strack. “There can be a stigma around the National Guard and this opens employers’ eyes to see that we are an organization that is ready when called upon.”

Many of the employers present admitted to actively recruiting National Guardsmen and Veterans because of the discipline and leadership skills they bring with them into their civilian employment. Mike Gordon, distribution director with Dollar General and a former Marine, understands that National Guardsmen bring added value to Dollar General through the leadership skills they received through training.

“Discipline, leadership, planning is something you have a hard time getting from a college student,” said Gordon. “Soldiers understand mission, and that translates into goals on the civilian side.”

This is in keeping with Dollar General’s mission of “Serving Others” and is demonstrated by the organization being listed as a top military-friendly company year after year. Gordon was nominated by Capt. William Tyler Rice, a logistics officer with the 149th Brigade Support Battalion. Rice felt that providing his boss with the experience would give him a better understanding of what Guardsmen do today.

“He was former Marine, but didn’t have a lot of experience with National Guardsmen,” said Rice. “Perceptions have changed and it will be good for him to see exactly what his employees are doing. He’s going to get a much better idea of what the National Guard does, what their experiences are, and what kind of skill sets they have.

After watching the combined arms breach, Boss Lift participants were able to listen in on the after-action review, conducted by the platoon leaders and observer controls, and were given the opportunity to interact with the Soldiers.

“The Boss Lift provided me with a new understanding of how important the training is based on the number of Guardsmen that are actually serving in combat areas alongside full-time servicemen and women,” said Gordon.

Many Soldiers present asked how they could get their civilian employer on the next Boss Lift.

“Each year in about March we begin working with units to invite employer of Soldiers and Airmen,” said Richie. “Soldiers and Airmen can nominate their bosses through the normal chain of command. We coordinate with leaders at the Brigade and Wing level to compile lists of nominations.”

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