As America prepared to celebrate both the creation of the U.S. Army and mark Flag Day, Walter Lynch, chief operating officer, signed a Statement of Support for American Water employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Joining Lynch were several employees, veterans, and Don Tretola, chair of the New Jersey Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Committee. The event was held at the company’s Voorhees, NJ headquarters on the eve of Flag Day and the Army’s 242nd birthday.
The Statement of Support signed by American Water pledges:
• We fully recognize, honor and comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA).
• We will provide our managers and supervisors with the tools they need to effectively manage those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
• We appreciate the values, leadership and unique skills Service members bring to the workforce and will encourage opportunities to hire Guardsmen, Reservists transitioning Service members and
• We will continually recognize and support our country’s Service members and their families in peace, in crisis, and in war.
American Water Supply Chain manager and Army reservist Michael Rich shared his perspective on what it means to the Guard and Reserve to receive such a visible sign of support from his employer.
Rich, a U.S. Army Reservist, moved from Arizona to New Jersey when he joined the company in March 2017. About a month into his new position, he was assigned to duty in Belize on a humanitarian mission.. He was worried about how his supervisor and the company would react to his two-week leave, but upon his return he was assured his service was appreciated and his job was safe.
“I came back to the company and I was greeted with open arms by my boss,” said Rich. “The company took care of me in terms of benefits and pay to make sure I was kept whole. And the COO of the company, Walter Lynch, put me on his calendar and wanted to meet me. It’s that important to this company. To me, that’s what makes a great company.” In January, 2017, American Water upgraded its leave policy to extend benefits to those called to duty and their families.
Lynch, whose father served as a reservist, is a graduate of West Point and understands how a military background benefits employees and the company. Signing the statement was particularly special for him.
“About six percent of our employees are military veterans, so we have firsthand knowledge of the tremendous value they bring to our organization,” Walter said. “Much of the skill and training they received in the military can be easily applied to jobs in the water and wastewater industry, such as engineering, IT and operations.”
Tretola lauded American Water’s commitment to its employees: “By meeting the Statement of Support criteria, American Water stands proudly with their Guard and Reserve employees who continue to answer our nation’s call to defend our way of life. Their personal sacrifices are essential to the strength of our nation.
Source: American Water