Remembering a Legend – Joseph Hosmer
“Equal to the best is not good enough”MOUNTAIN, LTD. Early day’s slogan
As we enter 2020, it is with great sadness we announce the loss of MOUNTAIN, LTD.’s founder and inspiration, Joseph Hosmer.
On Monday, January 6th, Joe passed away in Fredericksburg, Texas due to a brief, yet courageous battle with illness.
Those who knew Joe best would agree that he led a life well-lived and complete.
Joe’s legacy remains ever-present in MOUNTAIN headquarters in Maine. His adventures will continue to test the barriers between absolute and lore, while his expertise and overwatch of his creation will be greatly missed.
In 2019, as we celebrated 40 years of MOUNTAIN, LTD., we were fortunate enough to interview Joe for a special feature detailing the early days of MOUNTAIN. Joe and his wife, Sandra Hosmer, shared stories their experiences of creating a company that would become a trailblazer in the telecom industry. To honor Joe, we created a special extended cut of the interview to highlight his impact on this company and the people around him. Join us in celebrating the life and times of Joseph H. Hosmer, the original MOUNTAINeer.
The Joseph Hosmer Story
Joseph Hosmer founded MOUNTAIN, LTD. in 1979, registered in Portland, ME and becoming a corporation thereafter. Joe was born into the telephone industry; his father had a construction company that did utility work with two very small independent telephone customers that had 100 of miles of cable. He was a combination man at this stage in his life (with a construction background). After school, he became a jack of all trades in the industry (central office, lineman, maintenance, routine installation, delivering telephone books, etc.). As the phone business grew, his father was offered an opportunity to sell, so the company was sold to Continental Telephone Company (Contel). Joe stayed with the telephone company, a substantial shift to move to a large corporation where he transitioned into their engineering headquarters.
During this time, Joe was sent to Washington D.C. for work, which just didn’t fit with his professional goals at the time. Joe left Contel and went to work for a line construction company. Through hard work and dedication, Joe eventually became the president of that company where he started working in Panama. This is where he fell in love with estimation work and the adventures he had in the jungle. Although Joe landed the job during his time there, governmental changes in Panama forced all contracts to be canceled. With a taste of adventure in his heart, Joe decided to leave his position and fulfill his other passions; photography and mountaineering.
This is where the inspiration for MOUNTAIN, LTD. began.
As Joe started his ventures in the mountains, he received an opportunity to go to Liberia, West Africa to continue his telecom work. Joe was contracted to create a feasibility study as a way to understand the telecom needs of Liberia. He worked with stateside companies to identify the cables that would be needed to complete these projects. The president of Liberia was impressed with the proposal that Joe submitted and contracted the work, not only as a technical interpreter but as a technical trainer ,so the country could sustain independence. The company that Joe was partnering with did not provide those services, so they gave the technical training pieces to Joe to complete under his company, MOUNTAIN, LTD.
Joe returned to the U.S. to put together a team to complete the work with the first goal of creating business cards that did not display “mountaineering services and photography.” He got the project off the ground, and thus the history of MOUNTAIN, LTD. telecom engineering services began.
In 1982, U.S. Judge Greene broke up AT&T, making the company available to the free market, resulting in Joe being able to get work from Sprint for fiber layout work in Milwaukee and work in Georgia with MCI. With new contracts and a portfolio under his belt, Joe moved forward to get work from AT&T. AT&T signed contracts with Joe because of the impressive work he was doing with other telecom companies, something he was never able to land before. The business expanded quickly and within two years Joe was working with one of the bigger names in the industry, New England Telephone Company. The buzz surrounding MOUNTAIN, LTD. brought some of the work back home. Joe received work from a local company in Portland, ME where MOUNTAIN, LTD. was headquartered at the time. This was the first time in the 6-7 years since MOUNTAIN was established that they had work in a local region. So, MOUNTAIN, LTD. worked backwards in some ways, starting as an international firm, then taking that work nationally, and eventually getting regional and local work with a focus on inspectors and outside plant engineers.
The vision that Joe held for MOUNTAIN was always that he would go where the work was, whether it was in California or Maine. As many companies looked to become embedded in regional communities, Joe knew that that work could eventually dry up, so the organic method of acquiring other companies that were doing telecom work became his primary strategy. This worked well for MOUNTAIN, as it acquired V&M Communication Services in the Sacramento, CA area, who worked closely with PacBell. Projects expanded into San Francisco and MOUNTAIN continued to grow, taking on more clients from all over the United States. MOUNTAIN was always a suitable name since Joe was often pioneering projects that involved cutting-edge telecom advancements, which included laying fiber in the early 80’s. MOUNTAIN was also one of the first corporate leaders using internet communications for all employees.
During MOUNTAIN’s history, it was decided that MOUNTAIN would move into the world of publicly held companies. At this time, MOUNTAIN was acquired by a company named Diversified Communications Resources, Inc. MOUNTAIN was one of many companies that were acquired from the Dallas, TX company. It was at this time that Laura April Metivier, the current COO of MOUNTAIN, was hired for recruiting and operations due to her international and IT experience. When April started at MOUNTAIN, the company was expanding so fast, she was working in a closet-like space.
Joe worked with April during her early tenure to imbue knowledge of telecom and help formulate her education of the industry that eventually lead to her leadership role in the company. Joe’s mentorship helped craft many professionals in the industry who evolved to become leaders and innovators with national impact.
Eventually, Joe bought the company back from DCRI to maintain the standards and strategies that he envisioned for the long-term future of MOUNTAIN. His goal was ensuring the customer was going to be happy and work would be completed. His work ethic was paramount to keeping MOUNTAIN in the spotlight of its clients. Those standards carry on today from a saying Joe used to have of “Make money and have fun” to our motto today, “Work Hard, Play Hard.” As telecom moved forward and the world became more cellular in the early 2000’s, Joe felt like it was time to phase out, so he and Sandy left MOUNTAIN, leaving April to take over as COO.
Joe spent his life, from the time he was a teenager to when he stepped down from MOUNTAIN, embedded in the telecom industry. His spirit for the industry and his expertise will be greatly missed, since Joe created the culture of MOUNTAINeers back in 1979.
Beyond MOUNTAIN, Joe was an adventurer at heart. As a big game hunter, motorcyclist, traveler, and all-around explorer, Joe’s sense of curiosity and exploration took him all over the world, leaving his imprint on those around him. Today, as we remember that spirit, we honor Joe through the work we do daily to keep the foundations of MOUNTAIN that he created over 40 years ago alive.
We will remember you always, Joe. Thank you for blazing the trail for all of our current and future MOUNTAINeers.
With Love, MOUNTAIN, LTD.