SYC: Hiawatha company recognized for being great employer for service members

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HIAWATHA, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A Hiawatha company has received an award from Secretary of Defense James Mattis. It all stems from how they treat members of the military reserves and National Guard.

Chad Hutchinson is the Director of Engineering at Crystal Group Inc. in Hiawatha. The company builds computers designed for rugged environments, like the ones troops overseas may encounter when serving their country.

“Most folks like to say they run fast at companies, we sprint,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson has been working for the Crystal Group for seven years.

And each year he says he’s been among those whose nominated the company for a Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, an honor bestowed on groups that go above and beyond to support their employees serving in the national guard or the military reserves. It’s work Hutchinson says he was happy to do. He himself is, after all, a reservist in the Navy.

”Crystal goes far above and beyond what the law requires,” said Hutchinson.

Among the efforts made by the company includes sending their workers care packages.

“I’m glad that we can do all that we do for the service people,” said company President, Scott Kongable.

The company is known to include in those packages high-end gifts, like iPods and computers so recipients can stay in touch with family during their service.

“There’s a lot of thought that goes into it on what that person needs,” said Kongable.

Kongable says he feels a lot of pride in the wake of the company winning the award and he says they will continue to support the service members in their ranks.

The award was started in 1996. Only around 250 have been given out in years past. There were 15 recipients this year.