This year, the State of Alaska selected three companies for consideration in the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2021 Freedom Award. Marathon Petroleum’s Kenai refinery made the national Top 30 out of 8,000 nominees chosen by members of the military. The Department of Defense (DOD) Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) State Chair, Patty Wilbanks, presented the Kenai refinery with a Top 30 finalist award in October.
“[Marathon Petroleum] did such a great job. We were beyond excited when they made the top 100, and we got that nomination. The top 30 is so impressive,” said Wilbanks.
The DOD established the ESGR in 1972 to promote cooperation between civilian employers and employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve. In 1996, the ESGR began giving employers the Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers recognizing outstanding support of their employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.
Aaron Agosti, a Pumper III at the Kenai refinery and a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy Reserves, nominated Marathon Petroleum because of the support he’s received from the company.
“I felt really passionate about doing this, because I think it says a lot about a company on how they treat their veterans, their guard and their reservists. Marathon has been outstanding at doing that. They have supported me every step of the way, and more so, they encourage it,” said Agosti. “For me as a reservist, that really eases the burden on my civilian life here working at the refinery when you have that kind of support and backing behind you.”
Agosti also noted that refinery manager, Cameron Hunt, makes a point to honor employees who are veterans or those currently serving in the military at multiple events and activities throughout the year.
“It’s important to Marathon Petroleum, and it’s important to me, personally, that we honor and celebrate those who serve our country,” said Hunt. “We value their outstanding leadership and collaborative spirit that they bring from the military into our organization.”
- Hiring practices include military-specific recruiting and outreach.
- Veterans Employee Network for veterans, service members and supporters for employees.
- MPC will serve as a Two-Star Partner for the United Service Organizations (USO) in support of the Pathfinder Transition Program for the next three years.
- In October 2018, Marathon Petroleum Corporation acquired Andeavor. Andeavor was recognized in August 2017 with the Employer Support Freedom Award.
- Marathon Petroleum’s Salt Lake City refinery received the Above and Beyond Award in 2021, after receiving the ESGR Patriot Award in 2019 and 2020.
Merrill Sikorski, host with Kenai Radio KSRM, interviewed ESGR State Chair Patty Wilbanks and the team from the Kenai refinery. Listen: