Anthony Pearson, Founder and President of PPLVets, a “Business Resource Group” (BRG) of PPL Corporation, the local power and light company, spoke to the Council at its 19 June business meeting. He is Persian Gulf War (Gulf War I) Marine who served from 1989 through 1993.
Pearson explained PPL has had ten other minority and special group BRG’s since it began them about 13 to 14 years ago, but it had never had one for veterans until he approached their Human Resources department. As it turns out, Human Resources had been waiting for some veterans to step up and request the formation of one. In consequence, PPLVets was formed in July of 2012. The corporation’s support “has made him even more appreciative being an employee. Over 230 veterans (95% are veterans) have joined the group since and is sponsored by a Vice President.”
Actually, it is a smart move for a corporation because “… there is a lot of value in having and retaining vets as employees. They not gain an edge on diversity in the workplace, but the added value of those who know how to work well together and with others (those who have served in the military understand the importance of ‘we’ and a team mentality), and they also tend to be natural leaders.”
The group’s mission is “focused on the awareness, effectiveness, and well-being of PPL military veterans and their families. It seeks to honor those employees who are currently serving, or have served, and to foster an environment of understanding, patriotism, and involvement.”
But there is more to this story than diversity and a welcoming environment for PPL veterans as employees, the BRG aids corporation in strengthening important linkages to the veterans community.
To do this, PPLVets has goals and objectives which include: recruiting more veterans as employees (PPL is on a campaign to find them); partnering with external military support groups to develop networks and perform community services; influencing the curriculum of the internal leadership to achieve greater understanding of veterans as an asset; developing interrelationships with other BRG’s (it wants to work with the women’s’ network in support of families, for instance); and creating opportunities for veterans forums and educational efforts (such as one with the Tuskegee Airmen).
PPL, through PPLVets, intends to join LVMAC to become a more effective member of the veterans community – liking what it has seen thus far – but it has already launched several initiatives. It has helped in producing articles and photo galleries honoring veterans which have made the front pages of various magazines and has aided PPL Marketing in the proper way of approaching veterans.
Pearson said the group has become an active partner with the “Hero Box” program, which sends care packages to deployed service members at random. After just three months, it is supporting 8 to 11 service members with three to four boxes a month at a cost of $40 each.
It also wants to work with the Lehigh Valley Veterans History Project Roundtable in recording oral histories as it begins visiting nursing and personal care homes. It will be starting off with Country Meadows. The group has expressed an interest in bus trips to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. In the question and answer portion of the meeting, members suggested his group work Council’s long established Visitation Program and with its member, the above Roundtable, to trips to DC, since it already has such a program.
As of 20 June 2013