From the Arctic Ocean to the South Pole, Bob Tellez makes customers feel at home
Whether it was his first Polar Plunge in the Arctic Ocean, or feeling the uncommon sun on his face at the South Pole, Bob Tellez’s talents, ambitions and adventuresome spirit give new meaning to the word bi-polar.
In his 25 years of working for NANA Development Corporation companies, Tellez has managed facilities from remote camps in Alaska’s North Slope to McMurdo Station in Antarctica. His global journey started back in 1985 at New York’s JFK Airport where he was managing food and beverage services for Marriott in the International Air Terminal. Terrorist activities by Muammar Gaddaffi had led to a slowdown of airline passenger traffic. Tellez likes to stay busy, so he kept his eye out for a new opportunity.
The following year, he transferred to NANA Marriott, which meant moving from a city of 7.2 million people to a workstation of fewer than 2,000. His job: running remote site camp services at Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s northernmost coast, where temperatures can reach 50 below zero. This new prospect started what Tellez calls, “A wonderful career and the opportunity to develop relationships with so many special people.”
Red Dog Mine
After about three years serving pipeline workers and roughnecks, his next challenge was serving geologists and miners at Red Dog Mine in northwest Alaska. As the workforce at the mine expanded, the facilities Tellez managed did not. It was still a camp. He laughs, “It was pretty interesting, unusual challenges, especially during the winter. We had cooks working in bunny boots.” Tellez was asked to return to Prudhoe Bay, where he made BP and Arco workers comfortable at their camps. All in all, he spent a total of 12 years on the Slope.
For most people a stint working in such extreme conditions would be enough of a career adventure, but Tellez was just getting his second wind. In 1999, he made the leap from the Arctic to the research stations in Antarctica where NANA Services had become a subcontractor to Raytheon Polar Services. While most people were caught up in the Y2K scare, he was more concerned about how to manage camp services in a place where nothing can get in or out for half the year.
“This is not just a different locale. This is a place where you are stuck on a rock of ice and snow with no way in or out for six months,” Tellez said. “You become responsible for quality-of-life services. In remote camps the interaction with people and helping them relax and have fun is challenging and rewarding.”
After several seasons at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, Tellez came back up North, though not as far as Alaska’s North Slope. For the past few years he has worked in the NMS Lodging Division at hotels in Seward, Kotzebue and Anchorage. Today, Tellez is working “on-call” at the Courtyard Hotel near the Anchorage airport while contemplating his next challenge.
NANA Vice President of External Affairs Joe Mathis says, “NANA is a better company because people like Bob Tellez invest their career helping our shareholders grow and providing personal, meaningful customer service.”
He continued, “My guess, he’ll soon be working someplace exotic on the planet, helping people enjoy their time at work.”
Today when Tellez talks about his employer, his eyes light up. “NANA has been like a family,” he explains.