Intel recognized for support of military service veterans, families

Inside Intel’s corporate culture, employees and managers like to say that they “bleed blue,” a shout-out to Intel’s internationally recognized, bright-blue logo.

During Friday ceremonies on Intel Corp.’s Folsom campus, the Santa Clara-based semiconductor chip-making giant was recognized for its contributions to the red, white and blue.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich accepted two awards from the California branch of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which recognized Intel’s support of military members and their families. Intel oversees companywide programs to foster hiring of veterans, support U.S. National Guard and Reserve members in its benefits practices, support deployments of employees and assist active-duty service personnel and their families.

Andrew Wiktorowicz, chairman of California ESGR, helped hand out the awards. ESGR is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 to develop and maintain employer support.

The two major awards presented on Friday were:

• The Extraordinary Employer Support Award, recognizing sustained employer support of the National Guard and Reserve Service. Only prior recipients of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award or ESGR’s Pro Patria Award are eligible. Intel won the Employer Support Freedom Award in 2000. Companies can win that award only once.

• The Above and Beyond Award, presented by ESGR state committees to recognize local-level employers who have gone beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. The award recognizes companies that have provided Guard and Reserve employees with additional, non-mandated benefits such as differential or full pay to offset lost wages and extended health benefits.

Intel says that about 4,300 of its U.S.-based employees are veterans. The company said it has hired, on average, one military veteran a day over the past year. On the 6,000-employee Folsom campus of Intel, officials said, about 250 are known to be veterans.

Krzanich accepted the ESGR awards amid representatives of the major service branches, plus the National Guard and Reserve. Public officials on hand included Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove.

In brief remarks, Bera characterized Intel’s employee programs as “a bedrock to the community.”

Krzanich deviated from prepared remarks, noting amid a room of elected officials and corporate executives that veterans in the crowd “are our special guests today.” He said Intel’s practice of seeking and helping workers with military backgrounds was not intended to be a feel-good program but based on “good business reasons.”

The CEO recalled his background overseeing factory startups, a time when he said he noticed that service veterans “instantly hit the ground and led large teams.”

Showing emotion, Krzanich concluded with: “We are absolutely committed to this program.”

Intel’s Veterans Initiative works in partnership with American Corporate Partners, which assists the transition from military to civilian workplaces. The company also works with Operation Impact and Project Hired to assist severely wounded veterans interested in entering a business environment.