Union Pacific Dispatching Director Earns Military-Friendly Patriot Award

Jason Elliot receives Patriot Award from the National Guard | LR

Union Pacific’s Jason Elliott was recognized with a Patriot Award for supporting his new team member during her military deployment. From left: Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Representatives Ron Boro and Gary Valasek; Union Pacific Director Jason Elliott and Train Dispatcher Michele Lucas; Lt. Col. Ryan Watson, 155th Civil Engineer Squadron commander; Chief Master Sgt. Scott Tontegode, 155th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) chief; and Col. Christopher Hesse, 155th ARW commander.

Union Pacific Director Jason Elliott was recently honored with an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award for exemplifying the railroad’s military-friendly workplace practices. The U.S. Department of Defense award recognizes workplace supervisors for their outstanding support of an employee service member and their family.

Jason Elliot receives Patriot Award from Staff Sergeant Lucas | LR

Jason Elliott, director-Dispatching Practices and Workforce, HDC, left, receives the Patriot Award from Michele Lucas, train dispatcher, HDC, and master sergeant, Nebraska Air National Guard.

Elliott was nominated by Train Dispatcher Michele Lucas. In addition to her full-time career with the railroad, Lucas trains and mentors fellow troops as a master sergeant in the Nebraska Air National Guard.

“The Friday before my new hire orientation, I was given dates to deploy,” Lucas said. “On my first day, I handed Jason my deployment information – he was supportive and walked me through everything.”  

Elliott oversees the hiring and training of new train dispatchers at Union Pacific’s Harriman Dispatching Center in Omaha, Nebraska. He encouraged Lucas to qualify with the railroad, deploy and complete any additional training when she returned.

“She was nervous since she was new to the company,” Elliott said. “I told her it wasn’t an issue, that a lot of people who work here are in the military reserves and do well in this role.”

Union Pacific has a long history of employing veterans, dating back to the 1860s when the railroad recruited and employed Civil War veterans. Today, approximately 18% of Union Pacific’s workforce has military experience or are still actively serving in the Guard or Reserves.

Following her six-month deployment, Lucas returned to Union Pacific and completed rules testing and on-the-job training. She participated in several peer-to-peer sessions to finalize her required learnings and now works as a train dispatcher. 

“Union Pacific has been supportive of my military time,” she said. “I love it here and enjoy being around everyone.”

In 2022, Union Pacific’s Brett Hiscock was also recognized with a Patriot Award.

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