Patriot Group International
Outstanding Corporate Citizen of the Year (Mid-Size Business) Nominee
Why do you believe CSR strategy is important for a company?
Our CEO was an Army Ranger and Special Forces Soldier. Our COO served in the Marine Corps. Our president spent 20 years in the Army. As veterans, a mentality of service is ingrained within us, and this is a philosophy we continue at PGI. Service is about character and selflessness. Our CSR strategy is a way our team—90 percent of who are veterans—continues to carry out the tenets of putting others before ourselves. It’s important to our company because it gives us a shared mission beyond our everyday business dealings. Through our culture of CSR, we’re continuing to build the environment of integrity, ethics and responsibility within our company. We know that together, we’re making a positive difference every day. We believe sharing a vision of good is one every company can benefit from.
Do you believe that the CSR work you participate in should be affiliated with the work you/your
company does? For example, should an Oil company’s CSR be in cleaning up oil spills?
This is a difficult one—yes and no. Our CSR philosophy includes thanking those who have served, honoring the service members who gave their lives for our country, showing appreciation for the ones who are still serving, and helping transitioning veterans find the professional opportunities they deserve. We work with veterans and are veterans, so supporting veteran causes is close to our hearts. We work with government contracting, and our CFO is working on a mentorship program for women in government contracting.
However, we don’t believe a company should be limited when it comes to CSR. From education to humanitarian outreach, environmental causes and more, there are so many worthy causes to support. We only believe that by working together, and giving when we can, we can truly create a domino effect of positivity.
What makes your company stand out compared to other companies participating in CSR?
We’ve been there. Many of our causes relate directly to veterans assimilating back into the workforce, ones who were injured and need extra help, service members who have lost their lives and more. Many of us served abroad. We’ve seen the refugee crises, firsthand. We’ve dealt with the loss—we’ve lost friends and family members who were serving. We’ve been exposed to the injuries. We know what it’s like to transition from combat boots to business suits. We support many CSR initiatives—from collecting toys for children to supporting various nonprofits. However, many of the causes we support are ones we’ve lived. And that makes a real difference.
Do you believe contributing back to the community allows your company to have a deeper connection with its clients/customers?
Absolutely. We always strive to partner with companies that have the same ethical standards and humanitarian mindset that we do. CSR is part of who we are as a company. Sharing this mentality is something that allows us to build stronger relationships—we have a shared goal of creating nothing but positive outcomes through our work. Part of our CSR includes supporting small and disadvantaged businesses—as a matter of fact, in 2016, 100 percent of PGI subcontractors were small businesses. We subcontracted more than 100 small and disadvantaged businesses. Building these relationships in turn continues to build our network right here in the community where it really matters.
What advice would you give to companies trying to participate in CSR?
Every little bit counts. It’s not about who donates the most money. It’s about getting out there—getting to know who you’re helping. Learning the stories. Knowing you’re making a real difference. While we believe corporate donations are critically important and we do give back to the causes we care about, some of our most meaningful work has been achieved by getting into the community. Our Virginia team members dedicated time during a frosty, windy Saturday to help place wreaths on close to 245,000 Arlington National Cemetery graves. We get together as a company and choose how we can honor our active duty personnel on RED (Remember Everyone Deployed) Fridays. We fly wounded veterans. We collect toys, knowing each one will bring joy to a child. Nothing can beat the power of getting up and DOING something for the good of the community – for the smile of a child – for the gratitude of a veteran.