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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts Congratulates Werner Enterprises on Being Honored as a Superior Employer of the National Guard, U.S. Reservists

Media Contacts:  

Eric Maher, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1974

Capt. Doug Carlson, Nebraska National Guard, 402-309-8395



LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts congratulated Werner Enterprises, an Omaha-based global transportation and logistics company, on being awarded the 2018 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award by U.S. Department of Defense Secretary James N. Mattis.  The award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support to their employees who serve in the National Guard and U.S. Reserves.


“Congratulations to the entire Werner Enterprises team on earning this prestigious national award,” said Governor Ricketts.  “This award recognizes the outstanding support Werner provides to their teammates, many of whom are also members of the National Guard and U.S. Reserves.”


In earning the award, Werner was lauded for its numerous examples of support, including the hiring of 10,000 military members and veterans, and nearly 850 military and veteran spouses in the last five years.  The company was also recognized for initiating an apprenticeship program to create a direct-employment pathway for those currently serving, veterans, and their spouses.  It provides driving experience and fast-track schooling.  Additionally, all veterans and service member drivers receive a symbol of their service to place on their truck to showcase their service.


“While family support of a National Guard member serving their state and nation is perhaps one of the most critical elements in our readiness, civilian employers and their support is another foundational element.  Each are important to our success,” said Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, Nebraska adjutant general.  “Employers across the state are flexible, supportive, and understanding of the demands and sacrifices placed upon our National Guard members and their families.  This award shows Werner is leading the way, setting benchmarks and we can’t thank them enough.”


The award was established in 1996 to draw attention to the support provided by employers who go above and beyond to support employees who choose to serve.  Werner was one of only 15 companies in the nation recognized this year out of more than 2,000 nominated employers.


“Our company is committed to supporting all veterans, veteran spouses, and those who currently serve in the National Guard and Reserve,” said Werner Enterprises President and Chief Executive Officer Derek Leathers.  “We are proud to have the opportunity to support those who have dedicated themselves to serving our country."


The nomination process is open to all Guard and Reserve personnel or a family member acting on their behalf and applications are submitted online to Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (also known as ESGR).  A national selection board comprised of senior Defense officials and business leaders select the award recipients.


Others receiving recognition in 2018 include: Amazon (Seattle, Washington); AME Swiss Machining LLC (Ligonier, Indiana); ArgenTech Solutions, Inc. (Newmarket, New Hampshire); Big Sky Advisors (St. Louis, Missouri); Crystal Group Inc. (Hiawatha, Iowa); Duke Energy (Charlotte, North Carolina); Dunlap Police Department (Dunlap, Tennessee), FMI Corporation (Raleigh, North Carolina); Greencastle Associates Consulting, LLC (Malvern, Pennsylvania); Minnesota Department of Transportation (St. Paul, Minnesota); Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania); South Charleston Police Department (South Charleston, West Virginia); Texas Department of Insurance (Austin, Texas); and the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office (Salisbury, Maryland).


For more information about the Freedom Award and this year's Freedom Award recipients, visit  To learn more about ESGR, visit