The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) has named public affairs executive Todd Schlekeway as its executive director.
Patrick Howey resigned as executive director last fall after more than 10 years with the organization. Paula Nurnberg, NATE’s operations director, has been in charge of the day-to-day activities of the organization since his departure.
Schlekeway has seven years of experience in the public affairs industry, as founder and principal of Full Court Strategies Group. His experience includes government relations, media relations, client relations, issue advocacy and event management. Prior to working in the public affairs, Schlekeway worked on the U.S. Presidential Inaugural Committee in 2004-2005 and on several U.S. Senate campaigns in South Dakota. He also served two terms in South Dakota’s state legislature
“I think my experience in public policy and public affairs communications is a good fit for NATE,” Schlekeway told AGL Bulletin.
Initially, Schlekeway plans to ramp up the association’s social media outreach and to revamp Tower Times magazine, adding more creative content.
“I want to continue to build inroads with the carriers, tower owners, general contractors and our members, of course, so the industry can come together,” Schlekeway said. “At NATE, we will relentlessly preach safety. We think there are opportunities out there to drive change in terms of creating a culture of safety.”
Schlekeway saw an opportunity in the ProPublica/PBS documentary on cell tower climber deaths to spread the association’s message of safety. He noted that NATE was already working to solve several of the problems covered by expose. For example, NATE has pushed for more consistent government regulation of multi-employer worksites and eliminating unrealistic deadlines that are a part of the 4G LTE build out.
“We have members that are walking away from jobs [with fast track deadlines], because they believe safety will be compromised,” Schlekeway said. “Number two, often times our members won’t do those projects for the money being offered, because of the layers of sub-contractors.”