ENERGYneering Solutions, Inc. operates out of Sisters Airport. The company is comprised of 23 percent U.S. military veterans. photo provided
ENERGYneering Solutions, Inc. operates out of Sisters Airport. The company is comprised of 23 percent U.S. military veterans. photo provided
ENERGYneering Solutions, Inc. (ESI) has been awarded the HIRE Vets Gold Medallion, a national honor by the U.S. Department of Labor, which recognizes exemplary efforts to recruit, employ, and retain American military veterans. ESI is one of five companies in Oregon to receive the national recognition, and is the only one in Central Oregon.

The HIRE Vets Act was signed by President Trump in May 2017. It is the only veteran hiring award at the federal level. In a letter from the U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia wrote, “By meeting the criteria for the 2019 Gold Medallion Award, ENERGYneering Solutions demonstrated patriotism worthy of praise, and showed recognition of the value veterans bring to the workplace.”

The criteria require hiring, retention, representation, and support of veterans. First, new hires for the year must be comprised of at least 7 percent veterans. ESI new hires were 18 percent veterans. Second, the retention rate of veterans hired must be at least 75 percent over the year. ESI retained 100 percent of their veterans. Third, the company must have a minimum 7 percent veteran representation in their overall employee base. ESI veterans comprise 23 percent of their total employees. And fourth, the company must have a Veteran Resource Group, which ESI provides for their veteran employees.

ESI actively recruits veterans, which are employed in every department of the company. In particular, ESI values the discipline and hands-on skills learned in the military.

Pete Terzo, ESI’s Director of Operations, explains why ESI prefers to hire veterans.

“Veterans have to perform their jobs under some of the most stressful situations imaginable,” he said. “Military personnel are required to set priorities, accomplish missions, and meet schedules on a daily basis. With this responsibility comes added pressure and stress, but veterans are trained to handle these factors in a constructive way. This special training consists of inspiring leadership, motivating others, setting examples, delegating tasks, and giving clear and detailed directions. We call upon these assets every day in our line of work. We are very fortunate to have these veterans as employees.”

Elysia Zarate, the Health and Safety Officer for ESI, says of the veterans: “Key phrases that spring to my mind are strong work ethic and integrity. Two qualities the military strives to instill, and ESI appreciates.”

In addition to the National HIRE Vets Gold Medallion, ESI has received the National Guard Seven Seals Award from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Best of Business in Renewable Energy Award from the Oregon Small Business Commerce Association, Oregon Business 100 Best Companies to Work For Award, Sisters Country Business of the Year, and Sisters Pioneering Spirit Award.

Benny and Julie Benson, both mechanical engineers, started ENERGYneering Solutions in a spare bedroom of their home in Sisters in 2007, and have grown the company to over 50 employees. ESI is an engineering and operations firm specializing in renewable energy from biofuels. ESI has done projects in 23 states and territories, including the biomass heating at Sisters High School. Their projects collectively offset the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 1.5 million vehicles, and generate power for over 150,000 homes.