Joe Bartholomew, who formerly worked as a Planning Manager at GTA, smiles at the camera. He is wearing a blue polo shirt.

GTA Familia: Past and Present

| 10 min read |

By now, we are all a little too familiar that life is a crazy ride full of surprises and changes both personally and professionally. Meaning the time devoted by each employee to their employer is even more important and valued as it can be too short lived due to unseen or changing circumstances. Time and time again, we have seen how each of our employees can make big impacts on our GTA Familia and business through the course of one year, or 30+ years.

Each employee’s life journey is different and at GTA we are grateful and proud to be included as a stop along the way. In this case, we are sharing the story of one of our most recent employees, Joe Bartholomew, who has now started a new chapter Stateside. We have had the pleasure of working with Joe for the past (close to) five years. During those years he took on many different roles and challenges head-on and made a lasting impression on the business and those around him through his hard work, commitment to GTA and volunteer efforts, and his unforgettable quick wit.

Before Joe left, he graciously shared his work life journey of how he found the opportunity to further his career while on Guam at GTA, including how our leaders made an impact in his development, and the overall positive shifts he felt in the GTA culture within just a few years.

Joe’s story starts here.

JOE, Planning Manager

“Employees can now be completely open and honest and speak their mind with their leadership teams, and even the CEO. Not only is it accepted, but it is encouraged! This is unlike anything I have ever seen before in the corporate world.”

I moved to Guam in March of 2015 to be closer to and get to know my wife’s family. Upon arrival, I met my brother-in-law to which I asked if he knew of the biggest telecommunication company on island as I would need to seek employment. Being that I already had 15 years in the industry at the time it only made sense to seek out another telecommunications company. He explained to me that GTA was the biggest and the best company on island, so I applied.

Four to five months passed with no leads or callbacks from employers, so I decided to re-apply with GTA. This time, I received a response! After multiple in-person interviews with various leaders (Five to be exact), GTA and I came to the agreement that I would work as the Pre-Construction, Planning and Permitting Manager for our Outside Plant (OSP) construction team reporting to John Mendiola. I finally started on September 28th 2015.

I reported to John for two years, up until his retirement. During this time I learned from scratch how Gov Guam worked regarding the permitting process. I relied on two direct reports that guided and aided me to understand the process better, which was totally different from any other municipality that I had ever dealt with. I also had to understand and adjust to GTA’s processes regarding the pre-construction and planning portion, but once I did I was off and running!

After John retired, I reported to Walter Rozanski where I gained additional responsibility to analyze and manage the CAPEX budget. Since I overanalyze almost everything in life (just ask my wife) this was a task that I was willing and excited to take on. Additionally, in 2018 I absorbed the locating team and then in 2019 I acquired the heavy equipment operators; bringing my direct reports total to ten.

This was another exciting time for me as my overall passion is leading people and watching them grow. At the beginning of 2019, our Executive Vice President, George Hill overhauled the construction group’s job titles and growth opportunities, at this time my title became OSP-Planning Manager. This made a huge positive impact for the team as now the Supervisors and team members had specific titles and promotional gateways to grow within the company.

In late 2019, George Hill decided that he wanted me to further my growth for GTA and within the industry to which he planned to move me to the engineering team to learn their processes as well as learn how to complete designs on AutoCAD. This move took place on February 10th of 2020. I now report to Norma Taitague, Director OSP Engineering and still hold the Planning Manager title. During this time, I continued to listen, observe, and learn from my leadership, as well as my team, and looked forward to what I would learn next.

Over the past four and a half years with GTA, I have witnessed VP, Executive, CEO and ownership changes and it has shown me what it means to work for a great company. A couple of weeks ago I was explaining to my dad on the phone how great of a company GTA is to work for compared to previous employers I had worked for in the past. The company’s current leadership team has shown time and time again that GTA’s employees really do come first.

Employees can now be completely open and honest and speak their mind with their leadership teams, and even the CEO. Not only is it accepted, but it is encouraged! This is unlike anything I have ever seen before in the corporate world. 

The employees have now seen several raises, and the company has also invested time and money into their leadership teams via on-site and off-site trainings ensuring our growth as leaders and a company.

Whenever I run into someone that is looking for work or even looking for a better opportunity than their current employer, I always direct them to apply at GTA. Overall, GTA is a great, family-oriented place to work and I look forward to what they offer their employees in the future.”

Even after their GTA chapter ends, we continue to recognize employees like Joe for the impact they made not just in their role but as part of our GTA familia. We hope all employees continue to share their experiences and stories to potential or interested candidates to help strengthen our employee talent brand and keep our business strong and ever evolving. Being a member of the GTA Familia is a lifelong position and does not stop once you are no longer “employed” with GTA. We take pride in the employee relationships built and celebrate each other in all the many new and various challenges life offers us.

Joe, we appreciate you, and wish you all the best! We’re rooting for you to keep on moving forward and making incredible things happen in your journey. Our heartfelt goodbye is just as warm as our welcome to have you join our team and GTA Family.

If you'd like to read more employee work life stories, head over to our employee blog page, where you can find a collection of the best of them. And if you're interested in joining the GTA team, take a look at our current openings.

To find out more about their journey, connect with them on LinkedIn.