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Tag Archives: NATE UNITE

NATE UNITE 2019 Booth Discount Deadline Approaching

The discount deadline for booth space at NATE UNITE 2019 is approaching. Exhibitors who secure their space prior to July 1, 2018 receive a 10 percent discount on their space.

Each year NATE UNITE continues to grow in size and scope, and is the premier event of the year for participating firms. NATE UNITE 2018 had record attendance and the Trade Show Committee is working to make NATE UNITE 2019 just as exciting! Don’t miss out! The NATE membership consists of CEO’s and key decision makers from all facets of the tower industry; participation will gain your company tremendous exposure. Exhibitors benefit from a focused audience and the opportunity to interact with key decision makers from all facets of the tower industry.

CLICK HERE to secure your booth space online!

For more information on exhibiting, please contact NATE Event Coordinator Shari Wirkus via telephone at (605) 882-5865 or (888) 882-5865 U.S. or email shari@natehome.com.

NATE UNITE 2018 Administrative|Business Track Speaker Lineup Unveiled

NATE UNITE 2018 is renowned as the annual event specifically focused on companies and individuals involved with, or interested in, broadcast and telecommunications tower erection, service and maintenance. Recognized as a vital forum for those who design, engineer, construct, service and maintain broadcast and communications structures, NATE UNITE 2018 facilitates the exchange of ideas and experiences; the ability to actively participate in a variety of educational sessions and optional courses; and provides a tremendous opportunity to revitalize and strengthen your company’s commitment to safety, while networking with peers, colleagues, technical experts and friends, all in one facility.

The Administrative|Business Track of educational sessions will offer attendees in-depth discussions on how effectively manage and mentor employees in order to achieve a successful culture of safety within their company. Individuals attending the educational sessions will have the opportunity to receive a certificate of participation.

The following educational session/speaker lineup has been confirmed for the Administrative|Business Track:

Educational Session 4: Strategies for Implementing Effective Company Employee Substance Abuse Programs
Monday, February 19 | 2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.​
Presenter: Judy Swartley, Red Planet Substance Abuse Testing, Inc.

Educational Session 6: Avoiding Costly Insurance Mistakes
Tuesday, February 20 | 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Presenter: Matt Moseley, Nationwide

Educational Session 9: Subcontractor Approval and Management
Tuesday, February 20 | 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.​
Presenters: Royce Burnett and Chandra Reimond, Avetta

Educational Session 12: Sharing Secrets for Success
Wednesday, February 21 | 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Presenters: Pat Cipov, Cipov Enterprises, Inc.; Betty Ann Coleman, SBS Properties; Bruce Eades, USA Telecom Insurance Services

Educational Session 13: Women in the Tower Industry
Wednesday, February 21 | 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Moderator: Andrea (Andy) Lee, Lee Antenna & Line Service, Inc.
Panelists: Heather Gastelum, T-Mobile; Danielle Meyers, MillerCo, Inc.; Jeanne Piercey, Pier Structural Engineering Corp.

Educational Session 17: National Wireless Safety Alliance
Wednesday, February 21 | 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Moderator: J.Sharpe Smith, AGL Media Group
Panelists: Benjamin Afton, Black & Veatch, Kevin Schmidt, Sioux Falls Tower & Communications, Brian Wiedower, Sprint Corporation

Participants are also able to maximize their time at NATE UNITE 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee by receiving additional training all in one location. At this year’s NATE event, the optional courses being offered include: Advanced Rigging Concepts, Design, Installation, Testing and Maintenance of Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), Lighting, and UAS Part 107 Test Prep. All courses have a limited number of participants and registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To register for NATE UNITE, view the full Schedule-of-Events or for further information on optional courses, visit www.natehome.com.

NWSA Takes Deliberate, Disciplined Approach to Climber Certification

By J. Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor

No one should forget the years 2013 and 2014 when the tower industry had 25 climbers die on the job. One group that never will is the National Wireless Safety Alliance, (NWSA), a 501 c-6 non-profit organization, which turned three years old this month, having been incorporated Feb. 2, 2015.

The group was formed to perform “assessments of knowledge and skills and provide verifiable worker certification,” according to its mission statement.  As a result of these certifications, the organization hopes to reduce workplace risk and improve the quality of the work performed on towers and communications network infrastructure.

Educational Session 17 at NATE UNITE will address the origins of NWSA, its processes and potential to save lives in the future at 10:30 am, Feb. 21, in Nashville.

In the first two years of its existence, NWSA spent time organizing committees and the developing the Telecommunications Tower Technician (TTT) 1 and 2 certifications. In the last year, hundreds of industry professionals have taken the written and practical exams, and the NWSA has been busy developing the Telecommunications Tower Foreman certificate.

Contractor safety is big part of Brian Wiedower’s job at Sprint. He is on the NWSA Board of Governors, “We put a big focus on partnering with contractors that have a good track record,” he said. “These certifications are very good for us because they tell us that a vendor has their employees certified in an agreed upon format so we know what we are getting. That means reduced risk for us.”

Kevin Schmidt, a tower technician for Sioux Falls Tower and Communications and also member of the Board of Governors, said certification would be a plus for a potential hire, but the company is happy to train and have NWSA certify its new employees, because “it’s the right thing to do.”

“Our involvement in the NWSA is to try to keep the tower industry as safe as possible,” Schmidt said. “Our goal is to keep every one of the employees that climbs these towers on a daily basis as safe as possible.”

Beyond carriers and tower service companies, the NWSA maintains a Board of Governors that spans broadcasters, educational institutions, consultants, equipment distributors, engineers, government agencies, insurance companies, small, medium and large contractors, the legal community, OEMs, and utilities.

“A very broad cross section is necessary for our Board of Governors,” NWSA President Duane MacEntee said. “When you think about the needs of our industry for qualified workers to do their jobs, this broad-based industry body will steer NWSA to meet the needs for future workforce development.”

The certification tests are developed through a task force, which is even broader than the Board of Governors in many respects. It is a painstaking process. The task force for the development of the Telecommunications Tower Foreman credential currently underway consists of 30 to 40 subject matter experts (SMEs) that meet every six to seven weeks in Dallas. These SMEs define the specifications are the ones that do the work, do the training or have received training. The process takes 18 months on the average.

“This is the first time this industry has put a stake in the ground and said it wants an independent certification that is portable and nationally recognized for whatever level of workforce that is needed,” MacEntee said. “We want to be disciplined and deliberate. It is a fast-paced industry that we are a part of and we have to get it right.”

The tests that are given to the tower climbers must be developed in an independent manner and NWSA will itself go through an independent accreditation process with ANSI in the next 18 months.

“We support the efforts people getting proper training and employers that pursue valid training pathways, such as TIRAP for example, but we have to remain at somewhat of an arms-length from those groups so that we are unbiased and independent,” MacEntee said. “It maintains the integrity of the certification, which must be developed in the way that there is no favor given to any certain pathway of training.”

NWSA seeks to set a universal standard for competence in an industry where there is a certificate for everything and many of them are from sources that have a vested interest in having people holding those certificates.

“We are totally independent. We don’t do any training or endorse any certain training path,” MacEntee said. “We take what the industry tells us are the specifications for that qualification and we design a statistically valid testing instrument that allows us to produce an independent certification examination process.”

The initiative to have certified climbers was not mandated by government. It is a grassroots effort. As a matter of course, a big goal of NWSA’s is to have the carriers require tower contractors to use certified climbers when completing work on their antennas and other equipment. MacEntee hopes that carrier contracts in 2019 will require tower service companies to use NWSA-certified climbers.

J. Sharpe Smith
Senior Editor/eDigest
J. Sharpe Smith joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 27 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence. Sharpe Smith may be contacted at: ssmith@aglmediagroup.com.

Despite Hurdles, UAS to Take Off in Next 5 Years – NATE UNITE Panelists

March 7, 2017

By J. Sharpe Smith

Senior Editor, AGL eDigest

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or “drones” face challenges from regulators and the need to educate the tower industry, which is unfamiliar with use cases, but within five years the technology should take off, according to a panel at NATE UNITE 2017, held last week in Fort Worth, Texas.

During the panel, “Unmanned Aerial Systems: The Next Frontier,” Gretchen West of the Commercial Drone Alliance said UAS has been slowed in the tower industry by the Trump Administration’s government-wide regulatory reform initiative. The FAA’s Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107) needs modifications to allow growth for the drone industry, she noted.

“We are in a stumbling block position with the FAA and other government agencies,” West said. “At the end of the day, the drone industry is not going to stop because the FAA is stuck. That is going to force the federal government to act, because otherwise they are going to lose complete control over this industry.”

While a big improvement on previous rules, Part 107 still needs to be improved to unleash the potential of UAS, according to Greg Emerick of Sentera.

“The confidence to know that there is a legal and safe way to operate a drone is going to be a huge driver, he said. “Part 107 has helped with this but there are still areas that need clarification from a regulatory standpoint. Can an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operate over people who have given their consent? How close can they be to the UAV?” Current rules call for operation of UAVs on a visual line-of-sight basis only, which the tower industry finds too restrictive, he added.

The potential of UAS for carriers, tower companies and tower service companies, has yet to be understood by many companies, Emerick said. Sentera has provided companies with complete visual inspections of towers to confirm in the inventory of equipment, as well as the capture of thermal imagery and RF coverage data.

“Using the UAVs, data is collected, managed and analyzed,” Emerick said. “We have gone through the process and now they are evaluating the value of it and how it fits in with their processes.”

While every company is different, UAS will bring value in some way. It might be by simply reducing the number of climbs performed by using the drone to ensure the tower is safe to climb.

“Some might approach the use of drones from an engineering standpoint and do 3D modeling. The pictures taken by a drone can also be used to ensure regulatory compliance and establishing an inventory of space on the tower to market,” Emerick said. “Everyone is waiting to be told exactly what UAVs will do for them and how it will make money for them. We are just getting to that point now.”

Robert McCoy of Crown Castle said the driving force behind drone use at his company is the increased safety that it provides through reducing tower climbs, as well as providing new services to the carriers.