United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County announced Wednesday, Feb. 28, that American Transmission Co. President and CEO, Mike Rowe, will co-chair its 2018 United Way Campaign.
“I’m pleased to support the community through United Way and I’m proud of the fact that so many ATC employees support the organization. I look forward to representing ATC and helping United Way make this year’s campaign a huge success,” Rowe said.
With Rowe at the helm, it’s easy to see why ATC has a culture of giving back to the community. Employees find creative ways to make donating to the annual United Way Campaign fun and enjoy volunteering together for United Way Days of Caring.
Rowe joins community co-chairs Cristy Garcia-Thomas, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and President of Aurora Health Care Foundation; David Gay, Managing Partner at EY; and Don Layden, Partner at Quarles & Brady LLP.
For Randy Pynenberg, consultant system protection engineer, mentorship and growth have helped to define his career with American Transmission Co. Pynenberg started building his career under a mentor. Now, years later, he is a mentor and teacher to newer engineers.
“There is plenty of opportunity for growth at ATC,” said Pynenberg. “Over the years, I’ve had promotions and have been able to take on more and more responsibility in seeing a variety of projects and providing some training to some younger engineers.”
Pynenberg says he is glad that his day-to-day work makes a positive difference in people’s lives.
“The work is extremely rewarding. We’re in the business of keeping the lights on. On occasion, you’re reflecting on what you’re doing and you do get that sense of performing important work. It’s satisfying,” he said.
He says he knows his colleagues are also very passionate about their roles in helping to power businesses, farms, factories, hospitals, homes and more.
“The people here are great. Everybody is willing to help and work toward the common goal that we have here.”
Pynenberg says he appreciates ATC’s comprehensive benefits and the positive energy of his colleagues. He also says he’s proud to work for a company with a reputation as a top workplace.
“The company truly does care about its employees. The bottom line is that American Transmission Co. does take care of its people,” he said. “ATC is a company that you can start your career with and end your career with.”
If you are interested in working with Pynenberg and other engineers at ATC, check out our careers page to search open positions.
To celebrate being named as a Best Workplace for Giving Back and further American Transmission Co.’s commitment to the community, ATC planned a fun activity to assemble and donate 500 snack packs to support United Way.
The activity was included in ATC’s Office Olympics, a companywide event held every four years to help build teamwork and camaraderie. Other events included recycled paper basketball and rubber band archery.
Teams in the snack pack event were given paper bags to decorate with positive messages for recipients. Participants were timed and judged for quality and accuracy while assembling the packs. The snack packs made at each office were donated to local organizations supported by United Way.
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 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.”
This year, ATC ranks 25 on the national list, which is based on more than more than 385,000 employee surveys from companies across the U.S.
Great Place to Work® evaluated more than 50 elements of team members’ experiences on the job. These included employee pride in the organization’s community impact, belief that their work makes a difference, and feeling their work has special meaning.
ATC is proud to give back to the communities where employees live and work. Our employees are generous supporters to local United Way campaigns, Habitat for Humanity, United Performing Arts Fund and many more. Protecting the environment is very important to all of us at ATC. Our environmental stewardship includes financial support for numerous environmental programs and groups, and our Matching Gifts Program supports employee donations to arts, environmental and educational organizations.
Scroll through the gallery to see some of the ways employees showed they care about their communities in 2017.