Today OTELCO announced that after a 32-year tenure, Craig Brannon has retired from the company. Brannon, a resident of Walnut Grove, AL, most recently held the position of Director of Alabama Region Outside Plant Operations at OTELCO. Brannon joined the company in 1985 as a field technician and continually advanced, with responsibilities ranging from daily operations of outside plant facilities to engineering to management.
Brannon will be succeeded by Josh Smith, a resident of Oneonta, AL, who has also dedicated his career to OTELCO, joining the company in 2002 as an install and repair technician. Smith has continually advanced in the company, first as a technician, then to dispatch, and ultimately Plant Manager for the Oneonta and Walnut Grove locations. His responsibilities have included construction, install and repair, DSL, fiber optics, Tl Install, CATV and engineering. Smith assumed Brannon’s role effective March 5, 2018. One of Smith’s core initiatives in the new role will be to advance OTELCO’s commitment to building out more fiber in Alabama.
“Craig’s service to the company has been exemplary in every capacity in which he has served,” commented OTELCO CEO and President, Rob Souza. “While we will miss Craig, I know that Josh, having been mentored by Craig, is the perfect person to assume the position and help drive many of OTELCO’s exciting endeavors in the coming months and years.”
“I feel it has been a privilege and a blessing to spend the majority of my career working for an excellent company such as OTELCO,” Brannon said. “Through my time with the company I have seen many changes in the industry and I am proud to have been a part of being able to lead and direct the company in some of the new ideas and innovations that have been developed.
Hopefully during my tenure, we have laid a firm foundation for OTELCO to build on in the future.”
“I am truly excited for this opportunity particularly during a time of profound innovation and unprecedented opportunity,” Smith said. “OTELCO is a remarkable company made up of inspired employees dedicated to providing excellent service to our customers. Craig has provided invaluable leadership and contributed tremendously to the success of the company. It has been an honor to work directly with Craig over the years and I wish him the best on his well-earned retirement.”
The OTELCO family of communications companies is steeped in rich history and boasts a 13.7-year average employee tenure. In Alabama, and particularly in the Oneonta and Walnut Grove area, that number is much higher, where several staffers have dedicated their entire career to the company with 30 or more years of service.
Interestingly, Souza himself boasts 30+ years with the company and nearly 40 years in the industry. He too began his career in the trenches as a lineman.