The office of the Secretary of Defense has honored Ameren by selecting the company as a semi-finalist for this year’s National Freedom Award. The award was created to publicly recognize employers who provide exceptional support to their National Guard and Reserve employees. It is the highest in a series of employer recognition awards given by the Department of Defense.
Ameren was also honored today at a “Breakfast with the Boss” event. General (ret) Tracy Beckette, state chair for Missouri Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), presented Andy Serri, president of Ameren Energy Marketing, with ESGR’s “Above and Beyond Award.”
This award recognizes employers who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements for granting leave and providing support to employees serving in the armed forces. Adam Heflin, Ameren Missouri’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, also presented the keynote address at the program, and, along with Don Koonce, work week manager II for Ameren Missouri’s Callaway Plant, is advising other employers about setting up internal military support systems for their companies.
If Ameren’s nomination proceeds to the next level, Ameren representatives will travel to Washington, D.C., for the Department of Defense’s presentation to the 15 Freedom Award winners. A national selection board will choose the winning companies in September. More than 4,000 nominations were submitted by servicemembers across the nation.
Only employees serving in the Guard or Reserve or their families can nominate a company for the Employer Support Freedom Award. Companies cannot nominate themselves.
Bruno Stopka, Ameren Missouri supervising engineer and commissioned officer in the Missouri Air National Guard, was one of several employees who nominated Ameren.
“I am grateful that Ameren places so much value in supporting military employees and their families,” says Stopka. ” This positively affects the ability to focus and complete military obligations for the duration of deployment. The company is certainly doing a great service in preserving what our nation stands for.”
For the past two years, G.I. Jobs magazine has named Ameren a top 100 military-friendly employer. In addition to its other services, Ameren has an aggressive military recruiting strategy that includes base visits, career fairs and multiple online resources. The company has also created an employee resource group to support military veteran employees.
Nearly 600 of Ameren’s 9,500 employees have served in the military; nine percent of the employees hired within the past year were veterans. In addition, Ameren was awarded a Pro Patria Award this year for providing exceptional support not only to employees but to all members of the military. Ameren Missouri’s donation of $1 million in energy credits to military families in financial need contributed to its selection for this award.
Background: The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). ESGR is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 with its mission being to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve Service by recognizing outstanding support, increase awareness of the law and resolve conflicts through mediation. Since Secretary of Defense William Perry authorized the first award in 1996, more than 100 employers have received this prestigious award. Today, 15 awards are presented each year to employers in three categories: big business, small business and the public sector.
# # #
With assets of more than $23 billion, St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation owns a diverse mix of electric generating plants strategically located in our Midwest market, with a generating capacity of more than 16,600 megawatts. Through our Missouri and Illinois subsidiaries, we serve 2.4 million electric customers and nearly 1 million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area. Our mission is to meet their energy needs in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. For more information, visit Ameren.com.