Energizing Your Future

We salute our active military employees

In honor of Veterans Day, we salute our active military employees for their commitment to serve our country as well as American Transmission Co. It takes spirit and dedication to successfully balance military duties, civilian work, personal and family life, and we appreciate our employees who do.

Helping a squadron of 500 work together

System Control Operator Chace Parask has been in the United States military for 23 years. He spent eight years in the Army as a combat medic and cavalry scout. He currently serves in the Minnesota Air National Guard.

During his recent deployment, Parask was stationed in Qatar and put in charge of the welfare of more than 500 enlisted personnel. Part of his job was to brief each one of them in several small group formats.

“I gave them two general principles to guide them over the course of their deployment that were simple, and they could remember: One, take personal responsibility, and two, take care of your wingman. Over the course of the seven months in the Middle East every personnel problem I encountered involved one or both principles being violated. Taking ownership of our own issues and making decisions with our fellow man in mind leads to a harmonious working environment. I find that when people are happy and harmonious we achieve the greatest productivity.”

“As for my role in the military I appreciate the opportunity to serve my fellow man.” Parask said. “No matter what the political world climate is there is always a fellow soldier, sailor or airman that needs a comrade. It brings me great pleasure to serve in a capacity where I can make fellow troops’ lives better.”

Living in the desert for many months, Parask said the thing he missed most while deployed was vegetation. The people he missed most were of course his children and family.

“The thing I like best about returning to ATC is the people,” said Parask. “The appreciation, the patience and the overwhelming support have been amazing. Returning after being gone so long I was very concerned about being an asset to ATC and getting back up and running as soon as possible. ATC and the people here have made the transition back home and back at work very welcoming.”

Military role provides welcome challenges

Jake Jenkins, associate design engineer, has served in the Wisconsin Army National Guard for 10 years.

Jenkins provides intelligence oversight and support for an assault helicopter battalion. In addition, he supervises a group of intelligence professionals that monitor situations, current events, local threats and anything that could affect pilot operations. Last year, Jenkins spent seven months deployed in Iraq.

“There are many things I like about my role in the military,” said Jenkins, “I like that fact that the work itself challenging, fast paced and ever-changing. Other than that, I like serving with other Wisconsin Guardsmen who take pride in the work we do to carry out state and federal missions.”

While deployed, what Jenkins missed most was the ability to relax and take time to recharge. Upon returning to work at ATC, he was glad to see all the familiar faces and catch up with his co-workers.

Service members honor ATC bosses

Over the years, several ATC leaders have been recognized with a Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for providing a supportive work environment for their reservist employees. The ESGR is a Defense Department program dedicated to promoting cooperation and understanding between civilian employers and their National Guard and Reserve employees.

The Patriot Award is awarded to individual supervisors who not only hire reservists but demonstrate superior support to the military employee and his or her family through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.

This year, Jeff Rutkowski, system operations administrator, presented Lori Pernsteiner, EMS team leader, with a Patriot Award, and Tam Vo, engineering team leader, was presented with the award by Jake Jenkins.

In another ESGR honor for employers, two ATC employees were sent on a special air ride dubbed the “Boss Lift” in Milwaukee this summer.

Boss Lifts allow active Guard and Reserve members to send their leaders to join a special mission. This year, John Gould, project management team leader, sent Sarah Justus, director of construction, and Jeff Rutkowski sent Lori Pernsteiner.

“I was so impressed with the members of the Air Guard. Knowing that part-time members put so much effort into training to work right alongside full-time members, while still maintaining their ‘day jobs,’ is an amazing testament to their commitment and professionalism,” said Justus.

“This event was a great opportunity for our supervisors to see the behind-the-scenes efforts and the pride and commitment those in the military have, particularly those of us in the National Guard,” said Gould. “For most in the National Guard, the military is their ‘second job,’ but we don’t treat it as such – it’s a privilege to serve our state and nation and we take it very seriously.”

ATC values our employees who have served or are serving in the military for their service to our country. They make up roughly 10 percent of our workforce and are an important part of our team. ATC is proud to support these individuals in their career growth at ATC and applauds the supervisors who support their reservist employees.