Bently Nevada up for Freedom Award |

Bently Nevada up for Freedom Award

Staff Reports
Brig. Gen. Michael Hanifan accepts command of the Army Guard from Maj. Gen. Francis “Frank” P. Gonzales in September 2013 during the change of command ceremony in Stead.
Shannon Litz |

Minden’s Bently Nevada is one of two Nevada companies named semifinalists for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest honor the U.S. Defense Department bestows to employers for providing outstanding support to the nation’s Guard and Reserve.

Battlefield Vegas, an interactive entertainment attraction in Las Vegas, along with the State of Nevada, are being considered for the next phase of the award process. Nominations for the 2018 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award were submitted by members of the Guard and Reserve employed by the nominees.

Bently Nevada, a division of General Electric’s Baker Hughes, offers employees up to 20 days of military leave for annual training, above what the law requires, and has other company policies that benefit service members.

Nevadan Brig. Gen. Michael Hanifan, an engineer with GE Bently Nevada, served as the highest ranking officer in the Guard in 2013.

Thousands of companies from throughout the nation vie annually for the award, which will be presented to 15 recipients in August by the Secretary of Defense.

“Nevada’s nominees have gone far above and beyond what’s legally required to ensure the service members they employ have a supportive work environment,” said Mary Johnson, Nevada state chair of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, the nationwide volunteer organization that coordinates the awards program.

Battlefield Vegas is a veteran owned and operated business with a workforce made up primarily of veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve. At the military-style complex, visitors can fire U.S. and foreign weapons.

Management offers flexible scheduling to accommodate employees’ military drills so they can still get their 40 hours of work per week, and Battlefield Vegas provides support to spouses when service members are deployed.

Since taking office in 2011, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has been committed to making Nevada the nation’s most military-friendly state. He has enacted executive orders and supported legislative measures to meet the unique financial, personal and professional needs of Nevadans serving in the Guard and Reserve, as well as the state’s military veterans.

Nevada has had eight Freedom Award recipients since the program began in 1996, the last being Renown Health in 2017.