Knoxville metal shop Steel Plate Fabricators is one of 15 employers nationwide to win the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the defense department announced. Eastman Chemical, a Kingsport, Tenn.-based maker of specialty chemicals, also won this year’s award.
The award is the highest civilian recognition presented by the defense department and is given to employers who demonstrate exceptional support for employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.
“I am very humbled by it. “I’m a little bit overwhelmed,” Steel Plate President Mike Russell said Wednesday. It’s quite an honor and we’re proud to have won the award. We have a great team here.”
Nine East Tennessee employers have been nominated for the Department of Defense 2013 Freedom Award. The award is the department’s highest recognition presented annually to employers for their support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. Statewide, 39 employers were nominated for the award by their employees, according to Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency. Nationally, 2,899 employers were nominated for the award. East Tennessee nominees include Steel Plate Fabricators, Knoxville; Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, Alcoa; Chattanooga Police Department; Girls Preparatory School, Chattanooga; Physicians Care, Chattanooga: Nuclear Fuel Services, Erwin; Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport; Tennessee State Parks, Maryville; and Kysor Panel Systems, Piney Flats.