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ESGR in the News


ST. PAUL, Minn. – Robert Kehr of Securian Financial in St. Paul received the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriotic Employer Award recently.

Kehr was nominated by Warrant Officer Candidate (WOC) Patrick Kooiker. ESGR-Minnesota Volunteer Christie Nixon presented the award. Also in attendance at this virtual presentation were Rich Binger (Vice President, Chief Architect and Technology Infrastructure) and Mary Erickson (Administrative Assistant Specialist).

Kooiker’s lengthy history of service in the Reserve Component began in the Army Reserve in 1995, followed by more than a decade in Combat Communications in the Minnesota Air National Guard. He rejoined the Minnesota Army National Guard in 2021, returning once again to basic training. Upon completion of basic training, he became a Warrant Officer Candidate, and will soon attend 6 ½ months of training at Ft. Gordon to become a 255N, Network Engineer.

Kooiker, who has extensive education and experience in cyber and information systems (including teaching them at college level) is a Senior Infrastructure Manager for Securian Financial, a Fortune 500 wealth management and insurance company that was established in St. Paul 140 years ago. Rob Kehr, Senior Director, Infrastructure Services, has been his supervisor for the two years that Kooiker has been with the company. The positive supervisory relationship gave Patrick the freedom and confidence to discuss lengthy future Army training requirements with Rob before he rejoined the Army National Guard. Patrick also expressed appreciation for the outreach and assistance to his family during his time away, the thoughtful way Rob reintegrated him to work duties upon return, and the way they are planning for his upcoming Fort Gordon training.

Rob Kehr expressed his appreciation for the recognition, for Patrick’s work, and for the team of employees that all shared Patrick’s duties in his absence. He attributed much of what Patrick mentioned to the firm’s culture, simply that “it’s in the water at Securian.”

VP Rich Binger’s remarks and attitude were those that every military employee would find deeply supportive. Among them: “The company is actively looking for the mindset that military people bring” and “members of the military bring a sense of purpose and quality.” He also made the important point that the military employee’s families were an important part of the package that the firm was committed to.

ESGR is a Department of Defense program which seeks to foster 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 about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (800) 336-4590 or visit

Photo credit to Mary Erickson, Securian Financial.

Photo, from upper left, clockwise: Christie Nixon, ESGR Volunteer; Rob Kehr, Senior Director, Infrastructure Services and Award Recipient; Rich Binger, Vice President, Chief Architect and Technology Infrastructure; Patrick Kooiker, Senior Infrastructure Manager. Bottom right, Mary Erickson, Administrative Assistant Specialist.

Posted in: Minnesota
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