And the Winners Are…

We were excited to be able to gather in person at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for Braen’s 5th Annual Team Building Event! And there is no doubt that the presentation of the 2023 Vision and Values Awards was one of the highlights. Winners were nominated by their co-workers based on how they represented our company’s core values of Service, Integrity, and Respect. The Leadership Team then chose winners for each core value, plus one overall winner.

Service Award: Lucas Goncalves Almeida, Daniel Hook, and Andrew La Min were each honored for their unwavering commitment to customer service and their willingness to always go above and beyond to help their co-workers as well as Braen’s customers and vendors. “In the words of Stephen Covey, ‘What you do has far greater impact than what you say’,” Lucas said. “I try to embody these words and use them as an inspiration to be the best version of myself, both professionally and personally.” Described as someone who never says no, Dan noted that the award is a testament to Braen’s investment into their workforce. “I’m grateful to work for a place that provides so many opportunities for their employees.” Andrew exclaimed, “I am honored to receive this award and definitely did not expect it at all.”

Respect Award: Winners Dave Jennings and Adrian Feliciano embody this value by working well with others and treating people the way they themselves want to be treated. In turn, they have earned the respect of their colleagues. Dave, a 19-year company veteran, said, “I am so proud of this award. I would like to thank my co-workers for choosing me and the Braen family for having a wonderful program like this.” Acknowledged as “the definition of a true leader,” Adrian thanked everyone who participated in the program. He added, “I consider myself fortunate, and extend my heartfelt gratitude for the award presented to me. “

Integrity Award: Maria Vargas was recognized for her positive attitude, strong work ethic, motivation to learn, and for being someone others can count always on. “Thank you to the Leadership Team, the Braen Family, and all of my fellow co-workers for making my day-to-day here enjoyable! I truly appreciate the recognition, and I’m looking forward to more relationships to build and more growth in the years to come.” 

Jennifer Suriel, who was honored with the Overall Award, was described  as one of the most hard-working and knowledgeable members of the Braen team. “It will always be a memorable moment for me. To be nominated and recognized by my peers, managers, and Leadership Team is what made winning even more special. I will continue to strive to be someone who management can trust and who coworkers feel comfortable coming to for help.”

Moments That Matter

Braen’s 5th Annual Team Building Event was filled with opportunities for us to learn, collaborate, and have fun. One of the most inspiring moments was the keynote address by Brigadier General Maureen LeBoeuf. Entitled “Moments That Matter,” she spoke about her life and the tiny moments that made a big difference. She described specific experiences that gave her a different perspective on life, and on how to respond to adversity and recognize achievement. 

In her closing remarks, Brigadier General LeBoeuf expressed hope that her talk would inspire us to think about moments that mattered in our own lives, as well as moments we have made matter in the lives of others. Looking back at the last few years, there have been key moments for both the Braen team and the company. Points in time that caused the path to change for all of us. For example, being able to have a Christmas party and an in-person gathering – where we had the chance to meet people from other locations – were definitely big moments. This was especially true for employees who have never had the experience.

When asked about moments that mattered to them, here is what several members of the Braen team had to say:

Jose Perez: “I can’t pick an exact moment. I just know that working here keeps getting better each year.” 

Douglas Belina: “During my onboarding, Maria made the process very smooth and easy. This mattered because having this job helped me get a mortgage.” 

Joe Latronica: “Putting the drag slat on the new asphalt plant is definitely a moment that comes to mind. It finally felt like the project was coming together.” 

Shawn Foley: “Being up in Whitehall, I never thought I would get to meet people who work at other locations. But at the Christmas party, I was able to enjoy interacting with many other members of the team.” 

Mike Valicenti: “I really liked the Emerging Leader Program. It shows that our company is investing in its employees and recognizing those who it believes will be the next generation of leadership.” 

Juliann Johnson: “A moment that really mattered to me happened years ago. I was in Janet Braen’s office with a few other people and a pastor prayed with us. I was only a few months into working here, and I remember him telling me, “Don’t be anxious, you are where you need to be.”