Rob Stuckey Spotlight

Rob Stuckey is the General Manager of Atlantis Services, an Astra Service Partners company. Rob initially joined the Astra family as an Installation Manager at Calvert Controls, an Astra partner.

Rob Stuckey Spotlight

How did you first get into field services?

Growing up, my whole life was about baseball: it was the family sport, and every year I played on multiple teams, so I thought I was going to play college ball. I would go to a Division I school and then the major leagues. That was my dream.

As I got through high school, I realized my academic results weren’t on the level of a scholarship, and by the time I graduated, nothing was in the works for me. All my friends had committed to their colleges, and I started thinking, What am I going to do? I guess you need a college degree to be somebody.

I began working in different trades. I did everything from carpentry to cutting grass to selling pizzas on the phone. I got into construction and electrical work, and I really enjoyed it, so I started looking into apprenticeships.

One of my friends at the time called to ask if I would come over to his house to help him rake some leaves. I met his dad that day, a man named Chip who owned a mechanical contracting business.

Chip asked me what I was up to, so I told him that I was waiting to hear back on an apprenticeship. And he said, “Well, I just got this job in with a nearby college. I could use an extra set of hands. Would you be interested?”

I learned a lot while helping Chip out, but I also liked working with him because I felt like I was truly a part of something. It was ironic because I was at a college doing all this manual labor when I had originally thought I would be the one going to school, but the work made me feel really fulfilled.

And at that point, I didn’t even know what a steamfitter was. I can’t imagine how many other people graduate high school with the exact same thought process, not knowing there’s a trade out there that can provide them with a great living.

A lot of my friends who went to college were doing very well for themselves. When they graduated, they had these titles that made me assume they must be doing some pretty significant work.

Working with Chip was completely different: there were no job titles. Nobody was beneath anybody, but everyone had autonomy and accountability. Chip didn’t care if you were a helper; you could still be running a crew. I had my own truck, and I was directing grown men who were twice my age. Chip just made me a part of everything. That’s when I realized I didn’t need a degree to be somebody. I didn’t need a title to be a leader.

When I graduated from the apprenticeship program – that was a big moment for me. I felt so accomplished. I had just finished a five-year program with no debt to pay back.

Now, the roles were reversing between myself and my friends who had gone to college. One of my friends who graduated college actually ended up going to a trade school because he couldn’t find a job. I started to look at my own path and realize, This is a career. This is a big deal.

When did you first start working at Calvert?

After several years, Chip exited his business and his son took over. At the same time, one of my friends told me about a man named Jake Waite who had bought a service-based business in town called Calvert Controls. Jake wanted to form an Install Division at Calvert.

At the same time, I was realizing that the technicians around me who had been working in the field for 20 years had health problems or injuries from work. I decided I wanted to get more into using my brain than my body.

When I got to Calvert, the Install Division began to take off, largely because Jake hired the right people for the team. The way I see it is my team doesn’t work for me; I work for them. My job is to make their jobs in the field easier. We kept growing until we got larger, even than the Service Division.

Then came Orion. When I first heard about the partnership, I was scared. I was confused. And I even felt a bit betrayed. I thought, Things are going great. Why?

Alberto (Astra CEO) told us he was coming to Calvert to meet everyone. So, I emailed him, introduced myself, and asked if he wanted to grab dinner while he was in town.

His degree and his background honestly made me a little nervous, but he’s very, very family-driven, and I could tell that he was such a genuine person when we met.


How did Calvert grow through the Astra partnership?

The beginning of the partnership was tough for me. We were using terms I’d never heard of, and I found myself Googling half of what Alberto was saying at the end of each day.

But it was also fun. It was this whole other world. Alberto is a visionary, and he painted a picture for us right out the gate about where we were headed and how we were going to get there – how we were going to have 100 technicians and 100 vans on the road. Once we started executing on this vision, we saw how everything worked.

Soon enough, Alberto began building out the team, and he needed an operations director.  

I didn’t know what came with the title – we had never even had an org chart at Calvert – but I knew I wanted it. I bought a suit for the interview; I remember Jake and Alberto both looked blown away when they saw me walk in. And I got the job!

It was one of the most stressful jobs I have ever had. I didn’t even understand the full role because it was all new to me. But I kept showing up every day. I was learning a lot. I just didn’t have a lot of answers yet.

About a year into the role, I took a vacation by myself to the mountains in Tennessee. I brought a bunch of post-its with me and started applying all the skills I had learned – the process mapping, the one-page planning – to my personal life. I realized I hadn’t been taking care of myself. I had been so worried about pleasing everybody else that I was losing sight of what mattered most. I had to remember that my title wasn’t what made me a leader. You can be a leader anywhere in a business.

I came back from that vacation feeling better than ever. The day I came back, Jake asked me to meet for lunch and asked if I wanted to be Calvert’s sales director. I felt ignited: I love connecting with people and realized it could be a great fit.

I was in completely new territory again, learning all about strategies and pipelines. The funny thing is that once I stepped into sales, the operations side of the business became crystal clear to me. Sales on the other hand – truly managing people – was a whole new challenge.

While I was the sales director, I got to experience the LDP (Orion Leadership Development Program). That was a game changer for me. I remember Alberto telling me that the program was going to make me uncomfortable and that I was going to be around people who really stretched my leadership style. So I left my ego at the door and put in a lot of work. And I came out of the program a better communicator with more awareness of the leader I am. I came out of it trying to listen more, knowing that I can ask for help when I need it. I came out of it looking at some of my personal relationships and realizing that I could have had better outcomes in certain cases had I been a better communicator. I was lit on fire.

Through that program, I was able to meet so many great leaders. I attended the LDP with Marianne Bell (Calvert Controls President) and met others like Scott Fuksa (Jackson Mechanical Service President) and Dan Resendes (Astra Safety Leader) who have really become my support system.

After that I became Calvert’s Field Operations Director, and in that role, I dove into how we could build better processes for our technicians. Now that I was out of the sales division, that section of the business looked so clear to me as well. I started to really understand the company as a whole and the parts that went into it.

How did the promotion to your new role as General Manager of Atlantis occur?

In August of 2023, I got another phone call from the Astra team asking if I would be interested in entertaining a leadership opportunity. I don’t think they even told me where it would be based, but I said yes. When opportunities arise, I’m all-in.

After that conversation came a pretty lengthy interview process. I felt scared and anxious as I went through it, but now that I reflect on it, those emotions were a signal that I was moving in the right direction. It was the same thing I felt when we first heard about the Astra partnership at Calvert. We made it official, and I moved to Dallas to become the General Manager of Atlantis.

I have a 20-year-old son who stayed in Maryland because he’s currently in his own union apprenticeship program. I’m very protective of him, but I don’t want him to have anything handed to him because of my title. So at 20, he’s now taking care of the house, and he’s growing so much. That first week apart was tough, but I know it’s stretching him out in a good way.

When the partnership kicked off between Astra and Atlantis, and I came down here to meet the team, I felt like I had all the right tools in my toolbox to make the transition great. The Astra support network and my past experiences at Calvert have been so helpful in navigating this.

And the team here is made up of phenomenal, hard-working people with big hearts. They just need someone to trust, and that doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve been very transparent and upfront about the changes we’ll be implementing to help grow the business. We built our vision and values together, and I’m waiting to hear the final verdict on if I’ll be adopted into the Atlantis family!

At the end of the day, for me, it’s about not the money. After you see the check drop, what do you really have at a job? Are you getting trained? Are you leaving impressions on people? I had a couple apprentices under me who recently invited me to their weddings, and at each of these events, I was introduced to their wives, their parents, and even their grandparents. Those kids still call me to catch up. I love that. That’s the impression I want to make. That’s the legacy I want to have as a leader.

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