Port of Portland selected as Oregon National Guard Employer of the Year
By Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing
/ Published February 25, 2014
PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore. -- Air National Guard Col. Rick Wedan, the commander of the 142nd Fighter Wing, welcomed leaders and other staff members from the Port of Portland, Thursday, to recognize the Port of Portland for being selected as the Oregon Air National Guard's 2013 Employer of the Year.
"This is a great turn out and an extraordinary honor to have you with us today Mr. Wyatt, and others from the Port (of Portland) here for this occasion," said Wedan.
The Port of Portland was chosen based on a several factors to include; "providing support to National Guard members through financial support and incentives, patriotic partnerships, and internal communications and business accommodations," the award read.
"The Port of Portland is very supportive of its employees, some of which are Oregon Air National Guard members," said Wedan.
Several of those members were in attendance for the event, including: Col. Mark Crosby who is the Port of Portland's Chief of Public Safety and the Director of the State Partnership program, Lt. Col. Donna Prigmore who is the Customer service manager for the Port of Portland and the Commander of the 142nd Force Support Squadron, Maj. Kori Nobel who is the Port of Portland's Emergency Program Manager as well as the Assistant Director of Operations for the 116th Air Control Squadron. As a drill status fireman with the 142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron, Master Sgt. Preston Scott is also a full time Lieutenant with the Port of Portland Fire Department, and Staff Sgt. Dan Gates is an inspection and training assistant with the Port of Portland Fire Department as well, and is a member of the 142nd Fighter Wing Medical Group.
"When we first began planning this event several weeks ago, it was to present you [Port of Portland] with the 142nd Fighter Wing Employer of the Year award, but as the weeks passed during our coordination process, overall state winners were selected, and you won that award as well," said Wedan.
In accepting the award for the Port of Portland, Bill Wyatt, Executive Director of the Port of Portland, elaborated on the unique connection with the Oregon National Guard, "We have such a symbolic relationship with the guard, and to be the Employer of the Year probably means more to us than it would to many, many other employers."
"You can see us every day, we can see you every day and we can hear you every day and we like that," he said, amid laughter from the audience attending the ceremony.
In January of 2013, the Port of Portland signed a 50-year lease with the Oregon National Guard.
We wanted to do this right, it took us 15 years to get to 50 years, said Wyatt.
Some of the other Port of Portland's accomplishments are; rent-free space for the new USO facility at the Portland International Airport, development of a military appreciation program for military travelers, and the partnership with Alaska Airlines for the implementation of a Fallen Soldier Program which honors and respects all fallen service members whose remains arrive or pass through Portland International Airport.
The Port of Portland handled 14.3 million passengers in 2012, and has nonstop service to the top 25 markets in the U.S., with nonstop international service to Tokyo, Amsterdam, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. The Port of Portland has both domestic and international nonstop cargo service.
The Oregon Air National Guard Employer of the Year Award program began in 2002, as a way for Oregon Airmen to recognize the support of their full-time employers.
While thanking those in attendance, Wyatt closed his remarks once again acknowledging the Oregon National Guard, "This really means a lot to us and is a great honor for all of us at the Port."