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NATE Participates in Ohio’s Broadband/5G Workforce Strategy Launch

NATE Delegation at Ohio 5G/Broadband Workforce Strategy Launch Event: (l to r) Sarah Watson, project coordinator and supervisor of employee development at Olympus Communications; Mike Marlatt, field crew supervisor and crew foreman at Olympus Communications; Nicole Paulette, vice president at Elevated Services; Dakota Gray, tower technician at Elevated Services; Todd Schlekeway, NATE president and CEO); Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted; Ethan Starkey, tower technician at Elevated Services; Joey Deuer and Sheri O’Dell-Deuer of Deuer Development; and Brandon Garbrandt, maintenance supervisor crew foreman at Olympus Communications.

Ohio Officials received praise from the president and CEO of NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, Todd Schlekeway, on Sept. 8. The association executive lauded the officials in connection with the Broadband/5G Workforce Strategy Launch Event conducted in Nelsonville, Ohio, at the Tri-Coiunty Career Center. The workforce initiative, led by Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, includes contributing $30,000 to purchase equipment and tools for the launch of a new fiber-optic technician training program at Tri-County Career Center.

“NATE commends the state of Ohio and Lt. Gov. Husted for prioritizing workforce issues and investing in communications infrastructure training programs,” said Schlekeway. “By working closely with our industry, Ohio’s education system will graduate safe and productive technicians who meet the high standards and expectations of NATE member companies. These collaborative efforts will be the model for other states and enable the United States to continue to be the world leader in communications technology.”

NATE is collaborating with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation to deploy turnkey curricula that can enable Ohio career centers and community colleges to launch additional education and training programs.

Schlekeway expressed NATE’s appreciation for the collaboration between the Office of Workforce Transformation and association representatives. He said the 35 NATE member companies in Ohio stand ready to assist in the state initiative that will help address the telecom industry’s workforce shortage.

Nicole Paulette, vice president of Elevated Services in Carrollton, Ohio, who also serves as the state liaison from Ohio for NATE’s Wireless Indusry Network, extended her thanks to Lt. Gov. Husted, citing his leadership his working with NATE to create the industry-recognized training programs. Speaking at the event, she said, “It is great to see my state lead the way on one of our industry’s top priorities, providing a pipeline of safe and productive technicians who can deploy broadband to rural, unserved and underserved communities throughout Ohio. I am pleased that NATE has continually focused on these member priorities and has successfully advanced a number of initiatives that will have positive impacts for our industry.”

In addition to Schlekeway and Paulette, representatives from Ohio-based NATE member companies Deuer Development, Elevated Services and Olympus Communications participated in the event.


NATE Offers Sponsorships for ‘Vertical Freedom’ Film Premiere

NATE Vertical Freedom Movie Poster. A Telecom tower climber hangs from the top of a tower with arms spread out and a smile on his face.NATE is offering 10 sponsorships, for $15,000 each, available on a first-come, first-served basis, for its Vertical Freedom Red Carpet Gala World Premiere to be held in Conjunction with NATE Unite 2022 on Feb. 22, 2022, at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas.

Vertical Freedom is a feature-length documentary film highlighting the professional and personal lives of six communications infrastructure workers in the United States with diverse backgrounds and compelling stories, on and off the job.

Learn more about Vertical Freedom at the official movie website here.

Sponsoring companies receive acknowledgment in promotional and marketing materials displayed throughout the Vertical Freedom Red Carpet Gala World Premiere. They receive a full-page color advertisement in the NATE UNITE 2022 Show Guide and acknowledgment in a Tower Times magazine article promoting the film’s premiere. Sponsors receive acknowledgment in a NATE press release promoting the premiere and in promotions leading up to the premiere. They also receive acknowledgment as a sponsor on NATE’s social media platforms.

Additionally, sponsors receive a full-page color advertisement in Tower Times magazine in 2022; two monthly online advertisements on NATE website in 2022; one table of eight seats in a premium location; and a red carpet meet and greet with the producer, director, and film stars (eight participants max).

Vertical Freedom Sponsorship Form

NATE STAR Initiative Applications Due Aug. 31

Applications due August 31, 2021

Applications for the NATE STAR (Safety, Training, Accountability and Reliability) initiative program must be submitted to the NATE office no later than Tuesday, Aug. 31, according to NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association.

The NATE STAR Initiative 2021-2022 enrollment period began July 1. According to NATE, this is the only time of year when new participants are accepted. Current participants also must re-apply.

NATE said that the program, which started its 12th year in 2021-2022, continues to gain momentum and has enrolled a record-breaking number of participating companies in recent years.

The program’s site safety audits and program documentation requirements have served to allow participants to identify and correct hundreds of job site hazards and deficiencies. These results have allowed NATE to extrapolate valuable benchmarks and tangible data from the program, while demonstrating compelling evidence that NATE STAR member companies are leading the charge in terms of making our industry safer.

Additionally, according to NATE, now that the STAR Initiative program has an elevated presence in the marketplace, many of the wireless carriers, tower owner/vertical realtors, OEMs and turnkey/construction management firms continue to emphasize the importance of hiring STAR Initiative members due to the leadership and strong safety track record displayed by participating companies.

The STAR Initiative is often used as a key requirement factor when evaluating qualified contractors during the bidding process. Simply put, companies who participate in the STAR Initiative program are placing their respective firms in a strong business position with prominent wireless industry customers and vendors.

For further information on this free program, click here. To become a member of the NATE STAR Initiative, review the eligibility and participation requirements criteria, complete the appropriate application form, and submit it.

Source: NATE

Career Path of a First-Generation Structural Engineer

By Jyoti Ojha, P.E

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Aug. 4 issue of Women of NATE Today newsletter.

Jyoti Ojha, P.E.

Did you know that roughly 49.5 percent of the world’s population is women? According to an article published by Institute for Women’s Policy Research (2018), only 7.2 percent of women worked full-time in male-dominated occupations in the United States. Male-dominated occupations are defined as those that include 25 percent or less women. In the report, engineering is the most male-dominated profession, as women engineers comprise only 15 percent of the engineering workforce. Being a woman engineer in a male-dominated industry has been a challenge in my professional life. Coming from minority group has made it even more challenging.

My career story starts with pursuing a degree in civil and structural engineering in 2003, when my father submitted my application to appear for the entrance exam for an engineering college. Like most teenagers, I had no knowledge of what I desired to do as an adult or as an occupation. I was leaning toward possibly pursuing a career in nursing. Even though civil engineering was not my first professional choice at that time, I completed three years at a technical college in Nepal, receiving a civil engineering associate’s degree.

No one in my family was in the engineering field, and I was a first-generation college graduate. After coming to United States to further my career, I continued my education, earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Although I had the choice of changing to another field of study, I liked the challenge and wanted to succeed in structural engineering. Throughout my education and time spent in the engineering field, I noticed that there was no abundance of women in structural engineering in comparison to men. You can find more female engineers in other fields of civil engineering, such as water, wastewater, transportation and geotechnical, than in structural and construction.

It was a little difficult to obtain a full-time job in 2009 because of the economic recession. Most of my friends decided to continue with obtaining a master’s of science degree in lieu of finding full-time employment in their fields. While I was in college, I was able to gain one-and-a-half years of experience working as an intern for an engineering company, which included projects for nuclear power plants, before graduation. I was able to find employment in late 2009 in the utility and telecommunications manufacturing industry as a design engineer.

Having this intern experience, coupled with a high GPA and my dedication, played a large role in securing my first career employment. Once there, I noticed that only a few women in the drafting department and only one female engineer in the utility department: me. It really hit home that this industry was dominated by men, and I would have to work hard to prove myself.

Leaping forward in time from the first internship job to now (13 years), I have moved up in positions and have been with several companies in different capacities such as design engineer, project engineer, senior telecommunication structure engineer, structural project manager, technical director and now principal structural engineer. Everywhere I have been employed, the number of female engineers was always less than male engineers.

Looking inward at the telecommunications industry, I have seen a lot of women in customer service, business development, sales, drafting and project management, but I still see few women in technical and engineering departments. The typical challenge women engineers face, as a minority, is to be heard. Many times, their great ideas or results are not fully trusted, vetted or included. These challenges are both in the workplace and with clients. It is harder to be heard as a woman engineer and, in my opinion, there is room for improvement. I have seen many improvements within management, companies and individually, but looking more broadly, there continues to be a need for future generations of woman to overcome these challenges.

The Leadership Summit held by Women of NATE (WON) is greatly empowering women in our industry. The motivational stories published in each monthly journal is helpful for onboarding females into our industry. I look forward supporting women in our industry and possibly becoming a mentor to young women engineers who may be facing challenges in their careers. It would be my pleasure to support WON in all that it does and to learn from the experience.

Jyoti Ojha is a member of the Women of NATE Committee and a principal structural engineer at CommScope in Euless, Texas. She can be reached at [email protected].

Drones in Telecom: Tower Operations to Benefit From Standardizing Emerging Tech

Two leaders of a task group about unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as drones, invite interested individuals to inquire about joining the group to help it create the future of tower analytics based on drone-gathered data. Co-authors of a statement published in the TIA Wavelength Blog, Sam McGuire and Robert McCoy said that the catalyst behind the increased adoption of UAS projects in the tower industry has been the rapid technological enhancements enabling their deployments globally and increased competition that helps keep costs for the technology under control.

“Advancements in tower-specific flight automation are enabling the collection of comprehensive datasets in short amounts of time,” the statement reads. “These datasets can be leveraged for comprehensive visual inspections or creating 3D virtual reconstructions commonly referred to as digital twins.”

Sam McGuire

McGuire is chairman, and McCoy is vice chairman, of the group, which is known as the Drones Ad Hoc Subcommittee or Drones Task Group, established under the Telecommunications Industry Association’s Engineering Committee TR-14. Anyone interested in joining the group can email McGuire at [email protected] or McCoy at [email protected].

McGuire is senior director of strategy at 5×5 Technologies, an asset inspection, management and analysis company. In addition, McGuire is chairman of the UAS Committee at NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association. McCoy is the operations quality assurance manager at Crown Castle International, and he belongs to the NATE UAS Committee.

McGuire and McCoy wrote that teams have been experimenting with different methods to provide accurate measurements within digital representations of tower assets.

Robert McCoy

“Common methods include the use of ground control points (GCPs) or the placement of known dimensional components into the data capture area — scaling sticks and scaling markers,” the statement reads. “The method of choice will depend on various factors including budget, project timeline and accuracy requirements.”

Multiple approaches to dimensional scaling are validated against large volumes of data at centimeter-level accuracy or better, according to McGuire and McCoy. They said the concept no longer is a theory or future vision; it exists today and operates at scale.

“Combining repeatable, automated flight and an accurate dimensional understanding of digital reconstructions has enabled an entirely new era of analytics,” they wrote. “While many of the AI models continue to evolve and improve, the capabilities that already exist today are substantial.”

According to McGuire and McCoy, from a structural standpoint, systems can now identify defects and deficiencies like tower rust, bent members or missing components. They said that some of the highest impact use cases, however, are related to identifying and quantifying network equipment on a tower.

TIA Drones Ad Hoc 2021

The two task force leaders said that the TIA Drones Ad Hoc Subcommittee operates as part of the TR-14 Standards Committee, which is responsible for the ANSI/TIA-222 Standard, “Structural Standard for Antenna Supporting Structures, Antennas and Small Wind Turbine Support Structures” and the ANSI/TIA-322 Standard, “Loading, Analysis and Design Criteria Related to the Installation, Alteration and Maintenance of Communication Structures.”

Given the range of positive impacts that UAS operations are continuing to have on tower management and maintenance, they said, the capabilities of drones and analytical applications surrounding their use qualify UAS operations for inclusion in the next revision of the TIA-222 Standard.

“The TR-14 Drones Ad Hoc Subcommittee will be conducting a thorough review of the existing standard and providing the findings, and suggestions to the TR-14 leadership committee for the inclusion of drone operations,” the statement reads. “To do so, we are collaborating with all stakeholders within the existing Ad Hoc Subcommittee and inviting the participation from anyone with appropriate expertise, knowledge, or interest on the subject. The format of our collaboration will be a monthly call as well as periodic surveys and breakout sessions to explore specific subject matter in detail. We invite you to join the conversation and help us create the future of tower analytics.”

McGuire and McCoy invited individuals interested in joining the TIA Drones Ad Hoc Group to reach out to them or to TIA’s membership team at [email protected].