BLACKSBURG, Va., April 15, 2013 – Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense operational committee, announced today that Professors Chris Barrett, Bryan Lewis, and Stephen Eubank of Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, and Professors John Robertson and Brian Kleiner of Virginia Tech were honored with a Patriot Award in recognition of extraordinary support of their employee, First Lieutenant (Promotable) Jose M. Jimenez, serving in the United States Army Reserve. The presentation ceremony is open to the public to be held on Tuesday, April 23, 1:00pm, at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute Conference Center.

According to Thomas Stephen Jr., Virginia ESGR State representative, “the Patriot Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them, have answered their nation’s call to serve.  Barrett, Lewis, Robertson, Kleiner, and Eubank were nominated for being highly supportive of the Reserve Service by Lieutenant Jimenez, their Reserve Component employee. Supportive supervisors are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units.”

Lieutenant Jimenez is currently working on his PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering and Masters of Public Health at Virginia Tech.   He is a graduate research assistant working in dual areas co-advised by Dr. Eubank of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, and Dr. Kleiner of the Engineering Department, all within Virginia Tech.  Jimenez said, “I have received unwavering support from all my supervisors and professors.  It is very difficult to balance a civilian job, two degrees at one of the nation’s top universities, and my responsibilities as an Army Officer.  I am very grateful for their support and I hope that this type of activity encourages other departments and companies in the area to hire fellow service men and women.”

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense operational committee, seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. ESGR facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies, resolving potential conflicts between employers and their service members, and acting as the employers’ principal advocate within DoD. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce. 

For more information about ESGR Outreach Programs, or ESGR volunteer opportunities, please call 1-800-336-4590 or visit

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science, combining information technology, biology and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today’s key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, computational immunology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world’s scientific, governmental and wider communities.


Tiffany Trent

April 15, 2013