Ron Cole, a former reserve police officer for the city of San Jose, California, is a big believer in supporting the men and women who serve our country. That is one of the key reasons he joined Pratt & Whitney West Palm Beach two years ago.
"It is important to me to work for a company that promotes a culture of supporting veterans, Guardsmen and Reservists," said Cole, manager of Government Security Compliance. "We need to champion those who serve our nation in whichever way we can."
Last summer, when Cole was looking to fill the position of manager of Information Systems Security, he interviewed several people, including U.S. Navy Reservist Chief Petty Officer Gabriel "Gabe" Cornejo, who was completing a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
"Ron went above and beyond to schedule and coordinate interviews while I was traveling home through Afghanistan, Qatar, Germany and the U.S. – accounting for time differences of up to 14 hours," said Cornejo, a Navy Reservist since 2010. Prior to becoming a Navy Reservist, Cornejo completed five years of active duty in the Navy.
"Throughout the interview and hiring process, and my time here at Pratt & Whitney West Palm Beach, Ron has been incredibly accommodating of my Navy Reserve duties," Cornejo added. "I am grateful to work for a company that values military service and for a boss who is understanding of my Navy Reserve commitments, which includes short-notice drills and annual training in support of United States Southern Command in Miami, Florida, and Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi."
To show his appreciation, Cornejo nominated Cole for the Department of Defense's (DoD) Patriot Award, which recognizes individual supervisors and managers who contribute to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America's National Guard and Reserve Force. "Ron is well-deserving of this award," Cornejo said. The Patriot Award is part of the DoD's Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program.
Cornejo and Lenny Miller, vice chair, State of Florida Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, presented Cole with the Patriot Award, which consists of a framed certificate, in a small ceremony held earlier this month at Pratt & Whitney West Palm Beach.
"It is heartwarming to be recognized by your employees," Cole said. "I am honored to receive this award and to have Gabriel on my team. He is an exceptional employee. Gabriel is bright, talented and has an incredibly strong work ethic. I never need to worry about his work getting done when he has reserve commitments to fulfill. He always gets the job done – with excellence."
"I love putting on my uniform and serving my country," Cornejo said. "Working for a boss that has my back makes coming to work so much more enjoyable."
Lenny Miller, vice chair, State of Florida Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, left, and Gabriel Cornejo, right, manager of Information Systems Security at Pratt & Whitney West Palm Beach, present Ron Cole, manager of Government Security Compliance, with the Department of Defense's Patriot Award for his support of Cornejo's U.S. Navy Reserve service.