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Employee referrals build strong workforce at ATC

Joe Barritt

Tim Leonard

Not many colleagues can say they raced a concrete canoe together in college. But ATC’s Joe Barritt and Tim Leonard can.

Joe is now a transmission line engineer with ATC, and Tim is an associate scheduler with ATC’s project controls office. The two met while they were pursuing their bachelor’s degrees in engineering from UW‑Milwaukee. As students, they were both active in the American Society of Civil Engineers, which holds an annual concrete canoe race near the University of Notre Dame’s campus in South Bend, Ind.

Roughly seven years after graduating, now they’re in the same boat again – not as students this time, but instead as colleagues. And it’s no coincidence.

Joe and Tim are just two of the many employees who work at ATC thanks to the referral of a friend, family member or professional contact.

Joe started at ATC in 2011 after another friend who worked at ATC recommended that he apply. Then, six years later, Joe encouraged Tim to submit his application for an open scheduler position.

At the time, Tim was on the job hunt looking for opportunities for career growth with an organization that provided flexibility for him to be there for his two‑year‑old son.

“I knew Tim was looking for something,” said Barritt. “We’d been talking for years before about ATC and why I enjoy working here – the culture, the fact that we have excellent work‑life balance. I wouldn’t have suggested he apply unless I was confident he would like it here and that he would be a good fit.”

After submitting his application and interviewing, Tim was hired in March 2017.

“It’s even better than what I thought it would be,” said Tim. “I can’t say enough good things about the work‑life balance. I have the resources to be successful in my position, along with the flexibility to be with my family.”

In fact, 25 percent of new hires at ATC from January through June 2017 were referred by a current ATC employee. Nick Robinson, ATC safety manager, is part of that 25 percent.

Nick Robinson

Kathi Robinson

Nick was searching for positions that would allow him continued growth in his career in safety. His mother, Kathi Robinson, special projects administrator, had been with ATC since 2005. She encouraged Nick to apply.

“I knew we had some openings in the safety department,” said Kathi. “Because I’ve worked here for so many years, I have a good sense of the kinds of people who excel here – people with plenty of drive and people who give 100 percent. I knew that was Nick.”

Nick applied to a number of organizations. But he decided on ATC because he recognized that safety is a top priority throughout the organization.

“Safety is somewhat unique in that it can be very rewarding or very frustrating. It comes down to the organization, structure and leadership. It’s very evident how deeply ingrained safety is to ATC’s culture. I interviewed at dozens of organizations, and ATC’s commitment to safety truly stood out to me.”

Nick said that after he started at ATC, that commitment to safety became even more evident.

“I would be walking around and employees I hadn’t even met yet would come up to me, shake my hand, and tell me how glad they were that I was there. That really resonated with me,” he said.

Though they’re colleagues, Nick and Kathi work in different departments at different offices. They don’t report to the same leaders, and they say they hardly ever see each other at work.

“We have our own niches at ATC, and that’s how it should be,” said Kathi.

Both Nick and Tim say they’ve been learning more about ATC as an organization and about the utility industry as a whole since their first days. They both say they’re looking forward to growing in their roles, developing their skills and contributing to ATC long‑term.

“Being in the atmosphere of the project lifecycle, I am learning about many different aspects of ATC. I know there are opportunities for growth here, and it’s good to know that as I progress, I’ll be able to move around to those different roles,” said Tim.

“This has been a great move for me,” said Nick. “We are fully staffed and operational, and we’re hitting the ground running. My role in safety has always been to make the organization more successful, and we’re doing that here.”