Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) presented ZAPATA with the Exceptional Employer Award for the company’s ongoing support and commitment to their staff who serve in the U.S. National Guard and Reserve. ZAPATA received notice of the award in late 2020, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, a “virtual” ceremony took place online through an audio/video conference.

ZAPATA, a prior recipient of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award and the Pro Patria Award, qualified for the Exceptional Employer Award after having demonstrated compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and continued support for National Guard and Reserve employees.

Mr. Edward Hamilton, Vice Chair, North Carolina Committee, Southeast Region, National Board of Directors of the ESGR, officiated today’s event and presented the award to ZAPATA’s President, Mary Richards, and Manuel Zapata, PE, Chairman and CEO.

Mr. Hamilton stated, “ESGR promotes awards as a key element in furthering employer support, while strengthening the relationships between service members and their civilian employers. These awards honor the sacrifices and contributions made by employers like ZAPATA. Year after year, ZAPATA has been a model employer of members of the National Guard and Reserve. The Department of Defense and ESGR appreciate your amazing support. You are a valued partner in our national defense.”

ZAPATA’s continued success as a best-in-class architecture, engineering, and construction management firm is the result of its professionals who understand the military environment—whether they are Veterans, National Guard and Reserve service members, or trained professionals who have gained insight and knowledge through on-the-job experience.

ZAPATA recognizes and supports the requirements of those who serve—and the needs of their families while they’re deployed. Mr. Zapata said, “The company commends its men and women who serve in the U.S. National Guard and Reserve. When these individuals are deployed, we are deployed with them in spirit as a team. We look after their families and their well-being and provide them assistance, as needed. We work together to have a job waiting for them when they return home, which is very important. ZAPATA is proud to receive the Exceptional Employer Award and we are committed to the ESGR’s mission.”


ZAPATA® is a full-service architecture, engineering, and construction management firm. Our diverse team of professionals collaborates with clients to provide sustainable and resilient solutions to complex challenges. We are a trusted partner with proven experience to provide comprehensive facility, infrastructure, and security design services. At ZAPATA, we earn our clients’ Trust by conducting our business with Integrity and providing Quality services every day.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense program, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment. ESGR has served our country for more than 45 years, fostering a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. For more information on ESGR, visit https://esgr.mil/