Con-way Inc. announced today, Sept. 13, that it has won the “Freedom Award” – the highest recognition bestowed by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense organization promoting cooperation between the Guard and reserves and civilian employers.
Douglas W. Stotlar, president and chief executive officer of the San Mateo, Calif.-based company, accepted the 2007 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award at a ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 12, in Washington, D.C. Con-way was one of more than 1,000 companies nominated for the award.
The Freedom Award is given to employers who have shown exemplary support of employees who also serve in the National Guard and reserves. To be considered for the award, companies must be nominated by employees active in the Guard or reserves. Con-way’s nomination came from Michael McAllister, a Con-way Freight operations supervisor. A veteran of the Iraq conflict, McAllister is a member of the Indiana National Guard and currently is deployed with its premobilization training and assistance element.
“We take our responsibility to our employees in the Guard and reserves – and their families – very seriously,” Stotlar says. “It is our honor to work with the men and women willing to put themselves in harm’s way to defend our country’s freedoms, supporting them in every way we can. It is the least we can do in light of the sacrifices they make to protect our liberties.”
Con-way offers its employee soldiers pay differentials and uninterrupted health benefits for their families. Over the last year, the company has paid more than $200,000 in differential compensation to its deployed citizen/soldiers. The company’s human resources representatives maintain contact with families to ensure that they understand all available benefits, while employee volunteers also provide outreach to soldiers’ families, assisting them with everyday challenges such as home maintenance, auto repairs and snow removal. For employees on active duty, Con-way Freight also sends care packages full of items like soap, shampoo and magazines.
Con-way previously was awarded ESGR’s Patriot, Above and Beyond, and Pro Patria Awards, also presented to employers who provide exemplary support to their employees in the National Guard and reserves.
“The 15 outstanding companies we selected out of more than 1,000 nominees do far more for their employee soldiers than the law requires, and we applaud their exceptional support,” says Dr. L. Gordon Sumner Jr., ESGR executive director. “It’s never been more important for employers to come through for their employees serving in the National Guard and reserves.”
The Freedom Award was created in 1996 by then-Secretary of Defense William Perry. Winners are chosen on the basis of criteria including pay/benefits/leave policies, supervisor training, service member recognition, family and deployed member support, and previous ESGR awards. Previous winners include Starbucks Corp., Harley-Davidson and The Home Depot.