Ecolab Earns Top Honor From Secretary of Defense

September 02, 2020

Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to employers for support of staff serving in the National Guard and Reserve

ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Ecolab Inc. has received the 2020 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest U.S. government recognition of employers supporting staff serving in the National Guard and Reserve.

Ecolab, the global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services, is one of 15 companies to receive the award this year from more than 2,600 nominations. Just 295 employers have received the distinction since its inception in 1996 and an employer can only receive the award once.

“We understand the selfless commitment and sacrifices of our military employees and their families,” said Ecolab Chairman and CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. “We respect their service and appreciate the diversity our active and retired service members bring to our team. Ecolab is stronger for their unique perspectives, skills and contributions.”

Ecolab provides a wide range of benefits for military personnel, including pay continuation and time off while on active duty and opportunities to equate military training and experience with post-military credentials and degrees to meet qualifications for opportunities and advancement.

Nearly 40% of the U.S. military is in the National Guard and Reserve, requiring the Department of Defense to share those citizen service members with civilian employers. The Freedom Award was created under the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program to recognize employers that go far beyond the requirements of federal law to support service members.

“The citizen warriors of the National Guard and Reserve have evolved from a strategic reserve to become an integral component of the operational force,” said Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper. “Having employers who support their military service is critical to their success and the success of our National Defense Strategy.”

Guardsmen and Reservists submit nominations for the Freedom Award on behalf of their employers. Ecolab’s nomination highlighted the Military Employee Resource Group at Ecolab (MERGE), which provides awareness, support and leadership for active duty military, veterans, military families and their supporters. The nomination also commended support during and after deployment, including communication with family and backing during the most difficult times.

“As an activated and deployed soldier, I was focused on the mission, the soldiers assigned to me and my family,” said Maj. Justin Bradshaw, Minnesota Army National Guard and district representative for Ecolab, who was deployed to support Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait in 2019. “Having a supportive employer like Ecolab was key to my ability to accomplish the simultaneous missions of being a soldier, commander, husband and father. I knew Ecolab had my back.”

Bradshaw also noted that he was able to implement Ecolab values, such as its commitment to safety, into his role in the National Guard.

Learn more about Ecolab’s commitment to military service members at For more about the Freedom Award, visit

About ESGR

ESGR is a Department of Defense program that develops and promotes supportive work environments for Service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. It also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers. Learn more about ESGR at

About Ecolab

A trusted partner at nearly three million commercial customer locations, Ecolab (NYSE: ECL) is the global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services. With annual sales of $13 billion and more than 45,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions, data-driven insights and personalized service to advance food safety, maintain clean and safe environments, optimize water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies and sustainability for customers in the food, healthcare, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world.

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Lea Curtes-Swenson

Source: Ecolab Inc.