The driving force behind Glenn Leon Guerrero’s life and work ethic is the strong desire to help people. It is what motivates him as the director of the Department of Public Works (DPW), a pastor at St. Paul Christian School, and a devoted husband and father. “I am interested in investing in people, systems, and making them better,” said Leon Guerrero. In his endeavors for both the private and public sectors, he starts with a bucket list. After everything has been checked off, he then feels ready to tackle the next bucket.
He has extensive experience in both sectors, being the former executive director of the Guam Election Commission, general manager for the Port Authority of Guam, administrator for the Guam Economic Development Authority, and other numerous managerial positions in the oil industry. Leon Guerrero has also ran for the Legislature and donated the money left over from his campaign to charity.
DPW has a multitude of responsibilities that include road construction, safety enforcement, government building and road maintenance, training for occupant protection speed and bussing for public and private schools. Each division has a different set of obstacles to overcome, but Leon Guerrero sees them as an opportunity to look at their resources and find a way to be more effective. For the hundreds of miles of road Guam has, DPW has only 18 people who have to do everything from standard maintenance to flood mitigation and more.
Roads are a part of our everyday lives and they accommodate our varying lifestyles. We drive our cars on them, we bike on them, and run on them. Understanding their importance, they have become Leon Guerrero’s main goal. “I want to build roads. I have a little bit of manpower that I would like to double. We can build secondary and tertiary roads. We can do the subsurface work and outsource the rest,” he said. For Leon Guerrero, outsourcing will allow DPW to maximize efficiency with the amount of funding they receive every year from the Federal Highway Administration.
Funding and manpower are just two of the challenges that Leon Guerrero faces when it comes to building roads. Some roads that need repairs or expansions are built on, or near, privately owned land. The condemnation process can take up to a year or more to complete. Despite having these challenges Leon Guerrero continues to reach forward towards big projects like completing phase two of the Tiyan Highway, repairing Ypao Road, and widening Route 3, just to name a few. “I realize I’m here for a short period of time. I’d like to leave knowing I left it better than when I came in,” he said.
Leon Guerrero said this could be done by improving the system in all of DPW’s divisions, creating something that is maintainable and sustainable. “We have the ability, and the technology is there. There are things that I believe we can do to our system and to the process that would be more efficient. I believe we can make our services more proficient, and our lives easier.”
His investment in the department is not just within its mechanics, but more so in it’s people. “How do I make my employees better and empower them so that they can continue to do what they’re working?” he asked. “When the issues are convoluted and challenging, then it needs to come to me. Building an environment for sustainability is key. It makes me comfortable to move onto other projects.” That comfort and trust in his team is a component in finding the balance between work and life.
Outside of work, Leon Guerrero’s focus is on his family, his quality of life, and his faith. He noted that his biggest life-changing experience was when his first wife passed away and he became a single father of five. “What I realized was that, prior to her death, I was so consumed with developing my career that I forgot about my family, stopped to smell the roses and appreciate life,” he revealed. He is now more focused towards engaging with his children, becoming a better husband, and investing in his hobbies and his faith.
When he’s not working, Leon Guerrero’s biggest hobby is trolling for fish. Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or baitfish, are drawn through the water. “Frank Quinata taught me how to fish,” he said. “We prepped the boat and lines at one in the morning, fished the entire day, and caught over 400 lbs. of fish. I had never done something like that before. I haven’t looked back since, and Frank and I have become great friends.” Last year, Leon Guerrero came in 2nd place at the Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association Annual Guam Marianas International Fishing Derby.
If you were to ask him what the secret is behind his success, he will tell you it is prayer. Leon Guerrero considers his biggest mentors to be religious people, and that his beliefs are what guide him. “In my walk with God, it is very real. I bring it into here (work). Normally we pray for our roads and our fatalities to be reduced. I believe that God hears our prayers and commissions angels. I believe that with all my heart,“ he explained. As a devout Christian, he has dedicated his life to sharing this belief. From praying for patients at the Guam Memorial Hospital to conducting leadership training as a pastor for St. Paul Christian School, Leon Guerrero continues his desire to help people.
Leon Guerrero sees himself as a results oriented man. It explains his drive to see his work and personal projects through to fruition. Whether it is traveling to Europe for the first time, running for the Legislature, spreading his faith, or building sustainability at the Department of Public Works, he is determined to fill his buckets.
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