Leighland Gutierrez is an optimist. Even today in the time of COVID-19, his outlook for himself, his company, and the people he works with is that “this is our time to shine and do our jobs to the best of our abilities.” He says, “Destiny is by choice and not by chance, so let’s make good decisions now to positively impact our lives for years to come!”
As Head of Operations for Courtesy Electric, Leighland believes his employees are priority one. “The work we do is only as good as they are and it’s important to ensure our people feel safe, appreciated, well-trained, and are recognized for the great work they do,” he says. “Our talented leadership team has a wealth of experience managing a workforce through both the good and the tough times.”
The family-owned contracting firm prides itself on always serving Denver and Colorado with the skills for the tough jobs, ability to scale up for the big jobs, and great customer service resulting in a high degree of customer satisfaction and have done so through Quality, Integrity & Dependability since 1976. “Our people and the experience our customers have are intrinsically linked,” says Leighland. “Even at a time of hardship like this, sticking to our values and work principles regardless of the changes in our business environment will ultimately allow us to adapt and thrive.”
Leighland joined Courtesy Electric Co (CEC) in 2016 to run all non-field operations, people ops and human resources, residential sales, marketing, PR process documentation, and vendor management. He earned his bachelors in Arts & Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2005. After graduation, he went to work for Key Equipment Finance Inc. as major accounts manager. After that, he joined Level (3) Communications as a network surveillance technician and served as major accounts manager, manager of technical operations, and senior manager of professional & managed services. In 2013, he joined Zayo Group as director of client service management and then served there as director of Community Engagement before leaving to join CEC.
For IECRM, Leighland serves on the Board of Directors as well as Chair of the organization’s new Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
How are you doing business in this current crisis climate?
“Keeping employees safe is the most important thing we are doing. Supporting them with the needed PPE and materials to perform their essential functions is at the top of the list. We recently donated our N95 masks reserved for employees to a local medical office. We have also employed a few volunteers to make soft/cloth masks for our field employees. If we require purchasing materials or additional masks for employees, we are sourcing them locally to support local businesses. This also funnels down to supporting smaller local businesses — for example, tow truck companies. We recently needed to tow some fleet vehicles in for repair or recovery and our fleet manager uses local companies that know him on a first-name basis and we have used for many years. They were very appreciative for the business as they mentioned that they had to recently lay off a few of their drivers due to lack of business towing vehicles.”
In addition to taking the necessary measures to help stop the virus, we hear there are many who are taking time to reflect on the values and lessons learned during this time. What can you share with us?
“Shaking hands is not only a greeting or salutation but a way to solidify an agreement in some cases. We have refrained from shaking hands with one another or our vendors. I personally have taken time to think about all of the changes that have taken place and how we are adapting to the evolving environment in which we must thrive. We are looking to thrive, not just to survive. Trying to keep crews producing the same amount of work with fewer individuals in a given area due to social distancing has been a big learning experience.”
How important is new technology to you during the pandemic?
“We are all adjusting to the new normal. Usage of video conferencing has become the biggest change for us as a company that primarily used in-person meetings. Utilization of Slack, Zoom, or Google Hangouts has been a method for many of us to keep in contact throughout the workday.”
What are your most successful work habits?
“I am a creature of habit. For the first two weeks, before the stay-at-home orders were in place, I actually worked from home to avoid exposure or even spread. Since then I have been coming into the office each day or in the field, if need be, to certain job sites. I find that staying home can also tax your mental health, so it is good to get out and get into the office or a job site, safely of course. Making lists to accomplish each day has helped me stay focused and accomplish multiple tasks during an often hectic and distracting day.”
You are very involved in IECRM. How do you effectively use your IECRM membership? Why is that important?
“IECRM has proven to be a valuable resource for contractor members time and time again. The current weekly video calls are extremely helpful to our business and HR management team to stay up on the changing laws and compliance challenges we need to keep an eye on. Knowledge is power for many in these uncertain times. Accurate knowledge sharing is something that we look forward to each week when joining in on each call. These calls often spur additional discussion between managers and leaders within our office.”
Who is your hero or greatest role model?
“I have two. My father has always been a teacher – for me, and so many others. Much of what he tried to teach me, I did not pay attention to until after 36 years on this earth. I have come to appreciate the values and morals instilled in me while growing up and have had many “Ah-Ha” moments in my 30’s, where things started to make sense. My Dad was a teacher, law enforcement officer, and then an officer in the US Army for 26 years. After retiring from active duty he ended up easing into his first retirement by working for the State of California as Deputy Secretary of Minority Veterans Affairs and then working for DHS before finally actually retiring. The lessons he taught me that I have taken to heart: (1) do or fix things yourself, (2) stand up for others who cannot stand up for themselves, (3) maintain a disciplined work ethic and, (4) selfless sacrifice for your family.
My Uncle Steve — on my Mother’s side of the family — has always been in my corner ever since I could remember growing up. He has helped influence me in positive ways that I cannot possibly list. He has been a great resource to rely upon for business decisions and life decisions in general. He has provided me help and support in times when no one else could and for that, I am forever grateful. I have been able to experience so much and do so many things that I have in my life because of him. He has also always provided a sounding board for me when making major decisions whether it be career changes or advice on approaching tough situations.”