Tom Bestafka is shown with his family – wife, Lynn; son, Thomas, Jr. (“T.J.”); and daughter, Isabella – in June 2022 when he retired from the Navy and today as Haskell’s Federal Director of Strategic Accounts.

November 13, 2023

Navigating 50 States, 50 Nations: A Naval Officer’s Journey to Haskell

Meet Tom Bestafka, Director of Strategic Accounts - Federal, and join us as we celebrate his journey from the Navy to strategic leadership at Haskell.


Tom Bestafka, Director of Strategic Accounts for Haskell’s Federal Market, has been to 50 states and 50 countries, largely thanks to his U.S. Navy career.

“My brother and I went to visit New Hampshire and Vermont, which knocked off 50 states before I turned 50,” Bestafka said. “During the month of my birthday, my family took me to Punta Cana, which was my 50th country before I turned 50. None of that would have been possible without the Navy.”

Inspired by his high school mentor and the 1986 film “Top Gun,” Bestafka was driven to find his place in the Navy. He was awarded a Naval ROTC Scholarship and attended Carnegie Mellon University, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

Bestafka had numerous roles in the Navy, first as a Surface Warfare Officer on tours in Yokosuka, Japan, and to the Persian Gulf. Next, he became a recruiter in New York City for two years. He obtained his master’s in civil engineering, served three years in the Pentagon and later served with the Seabees in Ventura County, California, including a deployment to Afghanistan.

“The Seabee motto is, ‘With willing hearts and skillful hands, the difficult we do at once, the impossible takes a bit longer.’ I was very proud to be a part of that,” he said.

Bestafka was first exposed to Haskell in Coronado, California, where the company designed and built the award-winning P-918 Special Operations Forces Close Quarters Combat facility for Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest while he was serving as the force civil engineer for Naval Special Warfare Command. He didn’t work directly on Haskell’s job but has since returned to tour the site with colleagues from the area.

His final Navy billet was in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Executive Officer. Having admired Haskell from afar, he connected with a Workforce Development team member at an event for Military Engineers. He joined Haskell soon after he retired from the Navy in 2022 and currently serves as the Director of Strategic Accounts in the Federal market.

“Two of the lessons I took away from my time in the Navy were prioritizing people and accountability,” he said. “I exercise what I call compassionate accountability, never attacking a person or a group of people but instead attacking the problem: identifying deficiencies and shortcomings and working together to find common solutions.”

While his travels have slowed since retiring from the Navy, Bestafka still has a list he is ready to cross off.

“Next on my list is tackling National Parks,” he said. “I’ve always loved them and am currently targeting Big Bend in Texas, Teddy Roosevelt in North Dakota, and Acadia in Maine.”

Honoring Our Veterans
Haskell proudly employs veterans of the United States Armed Forces and currently employs more than 100 team members who previously served our country. To commemorate Veterans Day, is spotlighting one of them daily this week. Additionally, Haskell annually presents each veteran on our team with a special thank-you gift.

As Haskell grows across the United States, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region to meet the needs of new and existing clients, veterans continue to play an ever-increasing role. Those who have served our nation understand mission, structure, results and accountability. They are a perfect fit with Haskell’s core values of Team, Excellence, Service and Trust.

Are you interested in transitioning from the military to a career with a vibrant, growing company that provides nearly unlimited opportunities? Contact us to learn more.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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