Veterans in the Workforce Award Winners

The Veterans in the Workforce Awards recognize the progress Wisconsin businesses have made in the areas of veteran and military spouse employment, the inclusion of veteran-owned businesses in diverse supplier pipelines, and support of the military families in our communities.

Veteran Employer of the Year: Baird
Baird was awarded the 2019 Veteran Employer of the Year by the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce.

This award is given to an employer who goes above and beyond to support their veteran and military employees and their families.

Baird was nominated by US Army Staff Sergeant Nick Gomez. To quote Staff Sergeant Gomez, “My journey began in 2012 when I first met a Baird recruiter and continued in 2014 while I was interviewing from Afghanistan during my first deployment via Skype for a position with Baird. Fourteen days after returning from Afghanistan, Baird offered me a position. From there I started off in the Compliance Department and eventually transferred into Private Wealth Management to complete the firm’s two-year wealth management rotational program. Now it is October 17, 2017, and I was finally beginning my first week as a full-fledged financial advisor on my team. But then, the last thing I could have imagined happened, I received a call out of the blue from my unit that said we will be deploying in 7 months to the middle east. My mind and heart were immediately flooded with emotions and bouncing every which direction from how I will break the news to my wife and children and how will I tell my team and company that I have to leave for a year. But then, again, I was completely blown away after telling my partners, branch manager, and the firm. They not only reassured me that everything will be fine, but they followed through with actions as well.

Before leaving, they had a firm-wide send-off for me where countless associates were interviewed along with the Bairds CEO and they presented me with a video on my last day. While deployed, they hired snow removal and lawn care service for my wife, mailed her a care package, physically dropped off toys for my children during Christmas, mailed me six huge care packages, had a giant Baird flag sent to me signed by our associates, and ensured my financial compensation remained the same while on deployment. I can truly say, I was the luckiest person on my 300 plus person deployment and received the most care and thoughts for myself and my family! I will forever be grateful to the company and associates for the love received during that time period in my life.”

Veteran Resource Group of the Year: Froedtert Health
Froedtert Health was awarded the 2019 Veteran Resource Group of the Year by the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. This award celebrates an outstanding veteran employee resource of an affinity group that has helped to lift up the veteran community within and outside of their organization.

A key to veteran retention is a strong veteran resource group. In just one year, the Froedtert Health Military Business Resource Group has made significant strides in developing resources, policies, and initiatives to support and empower veterans, service members, and their families. The Military BRG has identified over 2,400 staff members with a connection to the military as current service members, veterans, or family members. They have partnered with their human resources team to attend veteran and military job fairs and created a dedicated recruitment number for Veterans to use when applying to Froedtert, giving them priority consideration during the recruitment process. To support existing staff, they offered care packages to mail to deployed staff members or family actively serving.

The BRG has provided over 120 volunteer hours to organizations that support the military including United Way, Scoop for the Troops, and the Fisher House. BRG members also volunteer their time as board members with Fischer House and Heroes for Healthcare and have volunteered in various capacities with the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. The BRG coordinated Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day observations at Froedtert campuses.

Froedtert Health has also partnered with the Army through the Joining-Forces military-civilian partnership. This program allows Active Duty Army clinicians to train at Froedtert’s Level 1 Trauma Center. This program provides training to active duty health care providers to help them provide care to our warfighters. The BRG is currently working on an affiliation agreement with the 128th Air Refueling Wing to develop more on-site experience for military medics.

Veteran Community Supporter of the Year: WPS Health Solutions
WPS Health Solutions was awarded the 2019 Veteran Community Supporter of the Year by the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. This award goes to a company that has gone out of its way to support the local veteran and military community.

One of the most meaningful ways to bridge the civilian/military divide and build a workplace culture that is welcoming and accepting of veterans is charitable service. WPS Solutions has gone above and beyond to engage with local veteran charities and service organizations in our community. Formed in 1946 by doctors who wanted to take care of returning soldiers from WWII, WPS Health Solutions through the years has remained focused on meeting the needs of veterans and their families. Even as a not-for-profit corporation, WPS Health Solutions has dedicated support for several Wisconsin Honor Flights, USO Wisconsin, Dane County Standdown, Semper Fi Fund, Sierra Delta, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Edgewood College, and others. For their commitment to supporting veterans and building an organizational culture welcoming and empowering to veterans, WPS Health Solutions is our 2019 Veteran Community Supporter of the Year.

Veteran Recruitment Campaign of the Year: Kohler
Kohler was awarded the 2019 Veteran Recruitment Campaign of the Year by the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. This organization does more than just attract veteran talent, it also has a robust veteran/military-specific onboarding, retention, and support program.

Under the direction of CEO David Kohler and Senior Vice President of Human Resource Laura Kohler, Kohler Company has developed innovative and creative initiatives to attract military-affiliated employees. Kohler has partnered with Reboot, a national organization dedicated to serving transitioning service members, to connect service members with meaningful post-military careers. In addition, the Kohler Alliance of Veterans & Supporters led the training of over 120 HR professionals to better understand military recruitment strategies and the challenges service members face entering the civilian workforce. With this internal support and strong partnerships with local DVOPs and LVERs, Kohler has developed a website and video that was the basis for a new marketing campaign that launched during Veterans week.