Courtney Moore, a 13-year Army serviceman who is now a Reservist, has nominated Cormetech for the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. It is the Department of Defense’s highest recognition honoring employers that support employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve.
It’s Moore’s way of taking Cormetech’s faith in his abilities and paying it forward with a resounding “thank you” that could be heard around America if the Cleveland manufacturer is selected for the prestigious award.
But it won’t be easy.
According to a press statement provided by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), which is a Department of Defense office, some 2,864 nominations have been received from Guardsmen and Reservists from across the nation, including all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In Moore’s view, it’s not about the numbers. It’s about the commitment, and the fact that Cormetech currently employs another 20 veterans in its Old Tasso Road plant that manufactures catalyst for the power generation, petrochemical and industrial processing markets worldwide that helps them to meet state and federal air pollution regulations.
“I was having a problem finding a job,” Moore told the Cleveland Daily Banner. “I had filled out applications at several places online and kept being rejected. What I really wanted was a face-to-face interview with someone, and Cormetech did that.”
The one-on-one gave “potential” (Moore) a chance to meet “opportunity” (Cormetech).
It didn’t take company leaders long to realize his value.
“Military veterans are disciplined; they are great at problem-solving and troubleshooting, and are comfortable with being around and working with equipment,” said Denise M. Rice, director of Cleveland Operations & Development for the local manufacturer whose local plant opened in 1999.
Of Moore, and the other military veterans on Cormetech’s payroll, Rice stressed, “Cormetech gets the benefit of his work skills and experience.”
And Moore, as well as his co-workers who share common ground as American servicemen, get the benefit of using work skills acquired through the military and groomed by a respected employer whose belief in community is as strong as its commitment to workforce, employee safety and product quality.
“They all support me in my effort to continue as a Reservist,” Moore said.
In Moore’s Army career, he was stationed in several posts across the country and overseas. His last came as a member of the Military Police at Fort Knox, Ky.
Hiring veterans, especially those who remain active as Guardsmen or Reservists, requires a partnership between employee and employer. As a “Citizen Warrior,” Moore must split his time between Cormetech and his military duties. That means flexibility and cooperation are keys in maintaining a strong relationships.
“Courtney works out his schedule each month with his supevisor and a co-worker who fills in during his shift,” Rice explained.
Hiring veterans with Moore’s skills, training and work ethic is worth the extra scheduling required to accommodate their ongoing military commitments, Rice believes.
“We (Cormetech) do what any other responsible company should be doing for our veteran soldiers,” she stressed.
Later this spring, ESGR will pare down the massive field of Freedom Award nominations to a much smaller group of semifinalists, according to a March 25, 2014, press release datelined out of Arlington, Va. From that list, as many as 15 award recipients will be named this summer and honored at the Pentagon in September at the 19th annual Freedom Award ceremony.
The press statement points to the importance to national security of partnerships between “Citizen Warriors” and employers, like that of Cormetech and Moore.
“Even with troop drawdowns, service members are frequently called to duty to protect our nation’s security and support humanitarian relief missions,” the Arlington-based statement cites. “Service members rely on the support of civilian employers who provide reassurance and stability for these ‘Citizen Warriors’ and their loved ones.”
The statement adds, “The Freedom Award honors those employers who not only safeguard the positions of their military employees while they perform military duty or are deployed, but establish exceptional and generous initiatives that accommodate and care for employees and their families.”
ESGR National Chair Paul E. Mock praised the role of American companies that work closely with employees who are splitting their time between workplace and military.
“These employers exemplify the true spirit of patriotism,” Mock said in the Arlington release. “By supporting their National Guard and Reserve employees, the 2014 Freedom Award nominees demonstrate what it means to serve our nation’s ‘Citizen Warriors.’”
In speaking of his nomination of Cormetech for this year’s Freedom Award, Moore pointed to another benefit of working for an established employer that values veterans.
“One of the most enjoyable things I get to do here is take pride in placing that ‘Made in the USA’ sticker on each and every module that is shipped,” Moore, who is a shipping and receiving associate, stated.
Cormetech is one of 57 companies in Tennessee, and the only Cleveland business, to be nominated for the 2014 Freedom Award. The complete list of nominees can be found at www.FreedomAward.mil.
Cormetech is headquartered in Durham, N.C. Its Cleveland plant operates 24/7.
About ESGR and the Freedom Award:
According to its website, the Freedom Award was implemented in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR “... to recognize exceptional support from the employer community.” Since its launch, 190 employers have received the Freedom Award.
The website explains, “ESGR develops and maintains employer support for Guard and Reserve service. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws and resolves conflict between service members and employers. Paramount to ESGR’s mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.”