Employee Spotlight: Joel Barthel

Joel Barthel is the Operations Manager at GenComm’s McHenry, IL location. He brings a positive energy and valuable experience to his role, and we are excited to have him on the GenComm team. We sat down with Joel to learn more about his background, position, and interests.


Can you tell us about some of your past experiences?
I started my career in EMS over 30 years ago. My dad told me, “To get ahead in life, you need to make yourself valuable,” and, “You go where they need you.” So, I started as a paramedic, became a 9-1-1 dispatcher, and eventually was promoted to paramedic supervisor. I was an instructor in Advance Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advance Life Support, and Advance Trauma Life Support, and through hard work, ultimately realized my dream as a Paramedic/Flight Medic for Lifeline of OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center. I then had the opportunity to manage Lifeline, and I was never one to back down from a challenge.

I have also owned and operated my own businesses in the real estate, graphics, and outdoors industries. I am grateful for these opportunities that have given me a wealth of business leadership experience.


What brought you to this industry and specifically GenComm? What do you enjoy most about working at GenComm?
Having started my career in public service, I was blessed with the opportunity to become GenComm’s Operations Manager in McHenry. Many people may have great careers, but they never get the chance to become a differentiator. However, I truly get to have the best of both worlds: working at a fantastic job while being able to make a positive impact in the communities that GenComm serves.


What does a typical day for you as Operations Manager of the McHenry office look like?
No two days are ever the same! I am fortunate to work with some of the most knowledgeable people in the business, which is making the transition into my role go as smoothly as possible. Everyone throughout the GenComm family has made me feel welcome and is quick to share their insights. My team never complains about issues; instead, the team members seem to always be looking for, and presenting, solutions. We are definitely up to any challenge!


What do you enjoy about working and living in the McHenry and northern Illinois area?
I have lived in northern Illinois most of my life and now call Huntley my home. I have a large extended family and plenty of friends in the area.


What are you most passionate about at work?
I was always very athletic and competitive growing up, and nothing has changed: I love to win! I want to make sure that my link in the chain remains strong so as not to cause a loss, for my co-workers or the company. I am passionate about doing my part, being a great teammate, and helping others reach their full potential.


What activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
I enjoy the outdoors! My favorite activities are hunting, fishing, hiking, and just generally staying in shape. I have run in the Chicago Marathon, in a 212-mile Ragnar Ultra from Chicago to Madison, and in probably over 40 additional 5k and 10k races and half marathons. I enjoy spending time with my wife and family. And I’m a fan of University of Illinois football, plus Huntley Red Raiders football and wrestling.