Plate Fabricators in Knoxville, Tenn., is one of 15 recipients
of the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom
Award, chosen from 2,900 nominations sent in by guardsmen and
reservists, according to the Department of Defense.
It is the highest
recognition given to employers by the DoD for exceptional
support of guard and reserve employees. "Im humbled and
overwhelmed to be one of the few selected. Its an
incredible award," Steel Plate Fabricators president Mike
Russell told AMM. "We have had several reservists
employed throughout the company over the years," in sales,
production and other functions, ranging from a Vietnam veteran
to one who is currently deployed on active duty.
"We give them
assurance their jobs are secure after they serve their country.
We welcome them back with open arms," Russell said.
The company also gives
guardsmen and reservists additional time off before deployment,
and again upon their return to connect with their families and
get reacclimated to civilian life. "If you have a happy
employee, you have a productive employee," Russell said.
The company stays
connected to its deployed workers by e-mail and Facebook, and
by sending care packages. "We also talk to their families to
check on them."
Russell said hes
always been "partial" to hiring military personnel. "They are
self motivated, disciplined and take instruction well. They are
a valuable resource to the country and the company," he said.
"We are family owned and tightly knit with 25 employees. When
one teammate is deployed, we really miss them."
Fabricators produces custom components for mining, refining and
utilities, among other industries.