Foxconn, Supervisor Honored by Military Support Group

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Brent Williams has always held a deep respect for those who serve or have served in the armed forces.

That’s why the maintenance facilities supervisor at Foxconn Ohio says he was honored Thursday after being recognized by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Williams and Foxconn EV System were presented with a Patriotic Employer award – or Patriot Award – by the ESGR during a ceremony at the electric vehicle manufacturer’s plant. These awards are presented to businesses, employers and managers that support employees who serve in the U.S. military by providing flexible schedules, time off, family support and other services.

“I’ve always been pro-military and come from a strong military family,” Williams said. “It was nice that the company here has such a culture and understanding of the people.”

A former employee at Foxconn, Jerod Harvey, who was in the Ohio National Guard and was called to duty, nominated Foxconn and Williams for the award.  

“Jerod was a great employee for me when he had his Guard duty,” Williams said, and notes he always made it a point to reach out to the serviceman while he was deployed. “It was appreciative of him to put us in for this award.”

According to Harvey’s nominating petition, “Brent is very respecting and flexible when it comes for me needing time off for military reasons. He’s quick to approve the time and makes the process super easy and efficient. He respects my military career, checks on me to make sure everything is squared away.”

ESGR is an office established in 1972 by the Department of Defense that helps members of the National Guard or reserves resolve any conflict that might arise with their employers in case these men or women are deployed or called for training.

“The ESGR is an organization that tries to keep Guard and Reserve members in their civilian jobs,” said Jim Fairbanks, outreach coordinator for ESGR.

He said these men and women are often called to duty overseas, or must report for training on the weekends or an extended period of time that would likely interfere with their work schedules.

“Many Guard and Reserve members have been deployed three or four times,” Fairbanks said. “They make up almost half of the armed forces today.”

The ESGR’s objective is to address any disputes that could arise between a service member and their employer, Fairbanks said. The office employs ombudsmen to act as a mediator to resolve these issues.

“Ninety percent of the time they can resolve a dispute so it doesn’t end up with the labor department entering it, and everybody is mad at everybody,” he said.

As such, it’s important to recognize employers who must make adjustments of their own when their employees are deployed or called to train, Fairbanks said. “Businesses who hire these people take a pretty good hit, and we try to do everything we can to help support the businesses,” he said.

Those members in the National Guard or Reserves have an opportunity under an ESGR program to nominate their employer or a specific supervisor for an award recognizing their role in supporting the men and women who serve, Fairbanks said.

“We are humbled to be recognized by the ESGR and to be the recipients of this prestigious award,” Foxconn Technology Group said in a statement. “Our employees at Foxconn Ohio are one of our most valuable assets and we are proud of our supervisors for creating a workplace environment that considers the needs of dedicated Foxconn employees who also serve their country through military service.”

Pictured at top: Bill Fairbanks, outreach coordinator for ESGR, and Brent Williams, facilities maintenance supervisor at Foxconn Ohio.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.