GeoStabilization’s working environment can often be intense. Mitigating active geohazards in remote locations – and on tight schedules – requires a unique level of commitment. Frequent travel, strong leadership skills, and a decisive mindset are needed. It can be a challenge to find candidates fitting this profile in today’s talent pool. Fortunately, there is one group of candidates that almost always fits the bill – America’s Military Veterans and is who GeoStabilization’s recruiters look to first when recruiting new employees. This Veterans day, we invite you to learn more about our practices and the Veterans that continue to make an impact as part of the GSI® team. We are honored to have them.
“We’ve seen firsthand that some of our most successful employees are often Military Veterans,” Chris Harris, GeoStabilization’s Corporate Recruiter, states. “The qualities we look for in our applicants are not easy to find and the nature of our work requires people who won’t cave under pressure. This is why we first instituted our ‘Veterans First’ hiring policy a few years back and attend military recruiting fairs as part of our outreach efforts.”
The nature of GeoStabilization’s work requires that every employee perform their specific duties in a precise and unified manner, while always keeping the safety of their teammates as their top priority. It also requires the intuitive understanding that being a good leader can also mean being a good follower.
“Our Company has a strict set of core values that all of our team members use to make any important decision,” Kathy McKie, GeoStabilization Director of People Operations, said. “I certainly use them when I make a hiring decision. We only want people who conduct themselves with honor and integrity. We often find those qualities in our Military Veteran candidates.”
According to a recent article by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Veteran unemployment is declining but still high. The article reports that Gulf War-era II veteran unemployment decreased from a high of 9 percent to 5.8 percent in 2015. GeoStabilization continues its commitment to not only employ Veterans, but also provide them with career advancement opportunities.
Colby Barrett, GeoStabilization’s President, served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps. He led both infantry and scout/sniper platoons throughout the Pacific Rim and Middle East as part of various operations including Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom, earning the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for outstanding performance. Colby believes that his time spent serving in the Marine Corps is what trained him to handle the responsibility of running a company that so often deals with emergency geohazard responses.
“Fundamentally, there is no difference between deploying a Sniper Team and sending one of our crews out to repair a landslide or to stabilize a rock slope,” Barrett said. “We’re taking a small group of highly trained individuals and asking them to complete a specialized and time-critical mission in often remote locations where they must make critical decisions on an almost hourly basis. Other than technical skill set, the selection process and deployment of both teams are identical.”
Barrett also knows the importance of earning your stripes. He started his career here as a general field laborer in 2004 and worked in increasingly challenging roles before being named President in 2008. This same career trajectory is common throughout the company and is illustrated by Walter “Walt” Turnbull, a GeoStabilization Project Engineer. Walt was a senior in high school when the September 11th attacks happened and enlisted in the Navy upon graduation. A Nuclear Machinist Mate, he attended Nuclear Power School in Goose Creek, SC after boot camp. Walt’s solid work ethic led to his designation as Engineering Laboratory Technician. Walt served the rest of his time aboard the USS Philadelphia (SSN-690) based out of Groton, CT.
After being honorably discharged, Walt elected to attend Auburn University where he earned first his BS and then his MCE in civil engineering. A graduate of GeoStabilization’s Summer Intern Program, his work ethic directly led to his employment as a project engineer upon graduation.
Walt finds many similarities between the United States Navy’s culture and what he’s experienced at GeoStabilization. “Always doing the right thing is a core value that I learned while standing watch on the boat,” Walt said. “There is a great deal of responsibility placed in your hands as a watch stander. Constant monitoring of pressures, temperatures, and fluid levels may seem mundane day to day, but ultimately the sailor on duty is responsible for the lives of all his shipmates on board. This responsibility also means protecting your family, be it the family of men you grow to care for and trust working long hard hours on a submarine, or on a construction site.”
“It is important that we know we can count on our crews and engineers in the field,” Nate Beard, Director of Eastern U.S. Operations and a former Captain in the United States Air Force, said. “That is how we offer such responsiveness as an organization. I can’t be in two places at once, so knowing that our employees understand the company’s Core Values and our mission helps us all stay on course.”
Employees like Jeff Wood, GeoStabilization’s scheduler, are exactly what Nate Beard is talking about. As a United States Marine, Jeff served with several units within the 1st Marine Division both stateside and abroad. “I was very fortunate to have served with several exceptional leaders, including one Medal of Honor recipient and several men who went on to become some of the senior leaders in the Marine Corps. GeoStabilization’s core values are very much in line with the values that are instilled into every Marine from the first day of boot camp”, Jeff said. “The drive to excel as ‘one of the few, the proud, the Marines,’ coupled with always ‘doing the right thing’ for our fellow employees and clients ensures that GeoStabilization will continue to be the leader in solving our customer’s complex geohazard challenges.”
In addition to these examples, approximately 15% of GeoStabilization’s employees are Veterans, not including the countless GeoStabilization friends and family members that have served in every branch of the armed forces.
While hiring Veterans is a great business decision, GeoStabilization’s commitment to them goes beyond hiring priorities. The company and/or their employees contribute to the following charities, among others:
GSI’s own Colby Barrett, Vasco Duke, and Walt Turnbull, along with former GSI® employee Ryan Haskins, also joined Medal of Honor winner Gary Littrell in the first annual D.U.S.T.O.F.F. charity tournament to benefit Veterans in Pinellas County, Florida (thankfully, there was no correlation between the team’s score and the amount raised for those deserving charities).
This Veterans Day, GeoStabilization wishes to thank our Military Veterans from all services (and the families that support them) for both their service to our Country and for their critical role in shaping GeoStabilization into the company it has become.