Waitsfield Telecom CEO Gregg Haskin dies, 54

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Waitsfield Telecom CEO Gregg Haskin dies, 54

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 3:05pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine Gregg L Haskin, 54, President/CEO of Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Berlin on Wednesday, June 6. Arrangements are being made with the Perkins-Parker Funeral Home in Waterbury and a service will be held June 14 (see full obituary below). Kurt Gruendling, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, told VBM that he received the call early Wednesday morning that Haskin had died in his sleep. The cause of death is pending, he said. 

Gruendling said Haskin's older brother Eric, 58, (Vice President of Network Operations) will now lead the family-owned company. 

"That allows us to maintain the family legacy," he said. The company was incorporated in 1904 and run as a family business ever since.

Gregg L Haskin, 54, President/CEO of Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom. Courtesy WCVT

Gruendling described Gregg Haskin as a man "with a big heart and a mentor to me."

"I'm going to miss working with him," he said. "Gregg will be greatly missed by everyone in the WCVT family."

As a business, Gruendling said they had a succession plan, "which you hope never to use." Operations will continue as is, he said.

"We have a great group of employees. Everyone's stepping up" Gruendling said. "We shouldn't miss a beat." www.wcvt.com

Funeral services will be held from the Waitsfield United Church of Christ on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 11 a.m. with a reception to follow at Waitsfield Telecom. Interment will take place in the Waitsfield Village Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial gifts would be appreciated to the Mad River Valley Ambulance Service, PO Box 305, Waitsfield VT 05673, or to Good Karma Rescue, 75 Brigham Lane, Essex Jct. VT 05452 (www.goodkarmarescue.com). Assisting the family is the Perkins-Parker Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Waterbury. To send online condolences, please visit www.perkinsparker.com or the funeral home Facebook page.

Family Business

From the WCVT website: As the youngest child of Dana and Eleanor Haskin, the telephone industry was part of Gregg’s upbringing. He worked at Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom during school breaks and vacations in the areas of Central Office, Fleet Maintenance, Installation & Repair, Line Construction and Engineering. Gregg attended Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts prior to returning to the Accounting Department in 1986. He assumed the position of Chief Financial Officer in May of 1999, and took over as President/CEO in May of 2005.

Gregg has served as President of the Knapp Airport Association and as a Board member of the Vermont Aviation Advisory Council. Gregg was very active in the Boy Scouts and obtained the rank of Eagle Scout the highest rank in scouting. He lived with his wife Roberta in Berlin.

Gregg Haskin Named President & Chief Executive Officer, May 2005

From Vermont Business Magazine: "Third Generation of Family Ownership Assumes Reins Waitsfield, VT" 

A new generation takes the reins at Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom this week with the promotion of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Gregg Haskin to the position of President & Chief Executive Officer. After 50 years of managing the family owned company, Dana and Eleanor Haskin will step down from daily operations, but will remain active on the Board of Directors.

The legacy left by my parents and grandparents will guide me into this exciting new chapter of my life, said Gregg Haskin. I grew up around this very unique business, witnessing it flourish tremendously. Im confident that the group of hard-working staff weve assembled over the years includes the exact balance of skills needed to head into the technically demanding future our business faces. The commitment to our customers remains at the center of all we do, how we operate, and what were all about. I look forward to working with everyone to guide the Company along this challenging path, doing whatever it takes to meet our customers needs. This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I intend to make the most of it.

Owning and operating a rural Independent telephone company has been such a wonderful experience for my family. Its a bittersweet moment, I am happy to have watched Gregg grow into the position, noted Eleanor Haskin. As Dana and I have grown older, we have realized that its time to step aside and let the next generation lead the Company into the future. We have assembled a strong Leadership Team and a very talented employee base to work side-by-side with Gregg and guide this Company through the next one hundred years. This strategy will ensure the goal of continued family ownership for the future.

Gregg has been with the Company part-time since 1980, and full-time since 1986 working in the accounting department where he has served as manager and Vice President, taking over as the Companys CFO since 1999. Gregg will immediately assume the role of President & Chief Executive Officer. The Haskins other children are also active in the Company. Eric Haskin works as a Field Engineer and sits on the Companys Senior Leadership Team. Scott works as an Installation and Maintenance Technician. Their daughter Susan served as Customer Service Manager until her passing in July 2003, after a long struggle with breast cancer.

Eleanor was born into the telephone industry, and at an early age she helped her mother and father repair the lines. Her father Alton Farr ran the Company in its infancy in 1907, and her mother Eunice Farr took over after his untimely death in 1940. Dana and Eleanor took over management of the Company in 1958. During her career, Eleanors involvement in the industry reached far beyond Vermont. She served three terms as President of the Telephone Association of New England (TANE) and 12 years as a Director. She was the first female President of both TANE and the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO). She also served on the Board of Directors for the Rural Telephone Bank, and served six years on the Board of Directors for the National Exchange Carriers Association, and was on the U.S Intelco Board of Directors. Eleanor graduated from the University of Rochester Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, New York. Eleanor was President of WCVT from 1998 2005 and will assume the role of Board Chairman immediately.

Dana Haskin was an officer in the United States Air Force and served in the Korean War. He served in the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) as a navigator and radar intercept offer flying F-89s. He remained with VTANG until 1984, retiring at rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Dana attended the University of Vermont school of Engineering on the GI Bill. Throughout his career, Dana was also active in the telephone industry holding a variety of positions including serving as President of the Telephone Association of New England. He served as WCVT President from 1965-1998 and remains Chairman Emeritus of the Companys Board of Directors.

Obituary Notice

Gregg L. Haskin, 54, of Berlin, VT died unexpectedly on June 6, 2018 at his home in Berlin.  Gregg was born May 15, 1964 in Montpelier to the late Eleanor (Farr) and Dana L. Haskin, Jr.  Gregg was a 1982 graduate of Harwood Union High School.  While in high school he discovered an interest in accounting and went on to attend Bentley College in Waltham, MA.  All through high school and college Gregg worked at the family business, Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, alongside his parents, brother and sister, assisting installers, line crew, splicers or helping at the central office.  Early in 1999 he became Controller of the company and eventually Chief Financial Officer. He often called his co-workers at the company his “telephone family”.

Gregg had many hobbies and interests.  He attained the rank of Eagle Scout in Troop 100 of Waitsfield, obtained his private pilot license, enjoyed golf, volunteering for animal rescue groups, going to camp, family events, his beloved Patriots and traveling, especially to Las Vegas.  However his true passion was cars.  What started out as “mud bogging” evolved into a professional racing career and Gregg and his vehicle “Risky Business” made numerous appearances in televised races on TNN and ESPN.  More recently he discovered drag racing and was in the process of building a top sportsman car to race at NHRA events.  Gregg spent many happy hours with his pals in his garage shop.

On September 8, 1996 he married his wife Roberta.  At first they resided at the Haskin camp in East Warren and moved to Berlin in 1997.  Gregg and Roberta had a common love of animals that resulted in many cats and dogs becoming their fur babies over the years.  They enjoyed their home, having friends and family to their camp, regular trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and traveling. 

Gregg is survived by his wife, Roberta, brother Eric (Anna) of Waitsfield, brother Scott of Florida, nieces and nephews; Kianna Haskin, Samantha Simms, Shannon Simms, Derrick Haskin, Michael Simms and Jacob Simms, uncle Father Jay Haskin and aunt Ann Haskin Ways, as well as his extended family of brothers and sisters–in-laws, nieces and nephews and many, many friends. Gregg was predeceased by his sister, Susan Haskin Simms, on July 14, 2003. He will be missed by his loyal companions Cheddar, Biscuit, Brie and Manny.

Funeral services will be held from the Waitsfield United Church of Christ on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 11 a.m. with a reception to follow at Waitsfield Telecom. Interment will take place in the Waitsfield Village Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial gifts would be appreciated to the Mad River Valley Ambulance Service, PO Box 305, Waitsfield VT 05673, or to Good Karma Rescue, 75 Brigham Lane, Essex Jct. VT 05452 (www.goodkarmarescue.com). Assisting the family is the Perkins-Parker Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Waterbury. To send online condolences, please visit www.perkinsparker.com or the funeral home Facebook page.

SERVICES


Funeral Service

Thursday, June 14, 2018

11:00 AM

Waitsfield United Church Of Christ 

4335 Main Street 

Waitsfield, Vermont 05673

Sources: www.perkinsparker.com. WCVT. Vermont Business Magazine