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Tag Archives: National Association of Tower Erectors

NATE to Host South Regional Meeting

(Watertown, SD) – The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) announced today that they will be hosting a South Regional Meeting on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at the Texas Star Golf Course Conference Center in Euless, Texas. The South Regional Meeting will be the second regional event hosted by the Association over the course of the last nine months and will offer tremendous networking and professional development opportunities for meeting attendees.

The agenda for the NATE South Regional Meeting will feature a National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) presentation by Phil Larsen (HAZON Solutions LLC); a Future of Mobility session by William Moten (TESSCO Technologies); a Tower Modifications and Inspections panel presented by Don Doty (FDH-Velocitel, Inc.), Gregg Fehrmann (American Tower Corporation), Gordon Lyman (eSystem Training Solutions), Pat Moore (FDH-Velocitel, Inc.) and James Ruedlinger (Crown Castle); and a keynote address entitled Protecting the Safety and Health of Communication Tower Workers by Stephen Boyd (Dallas Area Director, OSHA). Additionally, NATE will host a reception at the conclusion of the event to maximize networking opportunities for meeting attendees. The complete NATE South Regional Meeting event brochure is available for viewing on the Association’s website.

“Through the offering of our NATE Regional Meetings series, we are continuing our goal to support and build upon NATE within all the geographic regions in order to retain and recruit members,” stated Member Services Committee member Tommy Lewis from Hayden Tower Service, Inc. in Topeka, Kansas. “With the variety of hot-button topics to be presented by these industry professionals, I guarantee value for anyone who attends the NATE South Regional Meeting,” Lewis added.

As part of the announcement, NATE also unveiled premier sponsorship packages that are available for companies interested in sponsoring the NATE South Regional Meeting. Sponsorship packages ranging from $250 to $2,000 are available for companies interested in expanding their brand recognition and exposure. The sponsorship packages are expected to be in high demand and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities are encouraged to view the Regional Meeting Sponsorship Opportunities form.

The cost to attend the NATE South Regional Meeting is $50 per attendee. Interested attendees are encouraged to register for the NATE South Regional Meeting today by completing the registration form available on the Association’s website. All completed registration forms and payment should be emailed to nate@natehome.com or mailed to the NATE office (8 Second Street SE; Watertown, SD 57201) by the registration deadline of Friday, May 27, 2016.

For more information on NATE and the South Regional Meeting, visit www.natehome.com.

Industry Debates Tower Crews’ Readiness for TV Repack

By J. Sharpe Smith

J. Sharpe Smith


March 15, 2016  —  In the incentive spectrum auction slated for later this year, broadcasters will give up some or all of their spectrum in the 600 MHz band for a share of the proceeds when it is auctioned off. The post-auction transition of the broadcasters off those frequencies, known as the TV repack, is inviting many questions.

Tower crews are the linchpin to the success of TV repack. But are there enough of them to complete the job on time? The industry continues to debate how long it will take broadcasters to move to new spectrum or off the air entirely. And the number of available, well-trained tower crews is a key factor in making that happen.


Berry speaking at NATE UNITE 2016

Steve Berry, CEO, Competitive Carriers Association, told an audience at February’s annual conference of the National Association of Tower Erectors, NATE UNITE 2016, that a tight deadline was needed by the carriers in order to begin recouping money paid for the spectrum as quickly as possible. The FCC has set the deadline at 39 months.

“Having a deadline, like the 39 months, as set by the statute, benefits both sides involved in the incentive auction. Increasing the certainty when carriers can put spectrum to use — increases its value, ultimately leading to a bigger ‘incentive’ that can be paid to the broadcasters,” Berry said.

Berry said he understood NATE’s concerns about the safety of climbers, which will be under increased pressure to meet deadlines during the transition. “To be clear, the FCC has established reasonable alternatives for unique circumstances to address safety concerns,” he said. “I for one appreciate NATE’s concerns and would never suggest an unsafe transition activity.”

The National Association of Broadcasters funded a Digital Tech Consulting study, which projects the transition would take more than the 39 months and would cost between $1.98 billion and $2.94 billion, much more than the $1.75 billion authorized by Congress. The NAB challenged the FCC’s incentive auction in the District of Columbia Circuit Court and lost.

“The two most significant bottlenecks in the process will be the small number of qualified crews for implementing tower modifications and installing antennas and transmission lines, and an anticipated shortage of antennas,” according to DTC.

The study asserted that while 30 tower crews were active during the digital TV transition, only 13 qualified crews are active today with tower companies forecasting 16 crews in the near future to do repack work.

“These companies tell us that they are working now to identify as many qualified crews as possible, but have had little success in identifying additional possible crews due to the dearth of qualified foremen and trained workers,” DTC wrote.

With 16 qualified crews, 130 antenna installations can be changed out per year, DTC estimates. If it takes four months to get the repack started, that leaves 33 months during which no more than 360 antennas would be changed out. As a result, if the repack affects between 800 and 1,200 deployments, the study said that tower and antenna installations would take between 6.5 and 9.5 years to complete.

Berry respectfully disagreed with NAB/DTC, noting that spectrum auction expert Peter Cramton had been retained by CCA to develop a methodology that would measure tunable antennas, stations that can be repacked on the same channel, stations with in-range broadband antennas and stations with antennas less 350 feet.

“Looking at these factors, and other engineering submissions —it is realistic there will be up to 41 crews available to complete the work on tall antennas within the transition timeframe,” Berry said.

T-Mobile Study Evaluates Time, Resources Needed  for TV Repack

Berry also pointed to T-Mobile’s study filed with the FCC on February 17, which evaluated the time and resources required to transition television broadcast operations from their current frequencies to a new band plan.

Broadcast engineering firms — Broadcast Tower Technologies and Hammett & Edison – were engaged by T-Mobile to look at the post-auction broadcast relocation process.

“Based on an exhaustive review of television broadcast license facilities and in-depth, nationwide analysis of available resources for the major stages of repacking — the study concludes that America’s broadcast industry can transition to a more spectrum-efficient band plan within the 39-month timeframe set by the FCC and within the $1.75 billion budget established by Congress,” according to T-Mobile.

In particular, the study asserted that the deadline will be met because not all stations will need new antennas and not all towers will require modifications, an adequate supply of broadband antennas exists, and adequate numbers of towers structural engineers and RF engineers are available.

Tower Companies Eye Repack Warily

Bob Paige, senior vice president, mergers and acquisitions at Vertical Bridge, wasn’t buying into the studies, saying that he believes NAB grossly underestimated the amount of manpower available. At the same time, he told an audience at NATE UNITE 2016 that he believes there will be a bottleneck created by all of the TV repack tower activity.

“Don’t confuse lobbying with the facts, but everything can’t get through the funnel at the same time,” Paige said. “At Vertical Bridge, we are the largest private owner of tall towers in the United States and we are spending a lot of resources internally making sure we have a number of tall tower crews dedicated to our needs, because we believe there is going to be a resource shortage when it comes to tall tower crews.”

American Tower Asks FCC for TV Repack Reimbursement Clarity

Representatives of American Tower met with the FCC staff twice last Fall, regarding the logistical challenges of the broadcast repack following the incentive auction, according to an Ex Parte filing.

American Tower has 153 towers with at least one full-power/Class A TV transmitter, 73 towers multiple full power/Class A TV, 65 complex sites (candelabra, mountaintop, broadband antenna) and 328 full-power and Class A tower leases.

American Tower said that while it has begun the planning process for the TV repack, more could be done if TV stations subject to repacking knew they would be reimbursed for expenses incurred prior to the 39-month repack period, known as “pre-implementation eligible expenses.”

“For example, we can perform pre-repack work such as tower mapping and structural analysis starting now if TV stations had clarity that expenses will not be rejected simply because the work was actually performed prior to the start of the 39-month buildout,” American Tower wrote in an Ex Parte filing.

Hayden, Mueller Honored at NATE UNITE 2016 Awards Luncheon

(New Orleans, LA) – The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) honored Kevin Hayden, President of Hayden Tower Service, Inc. in Topeka, Kansas and Diane Mueller, Sales Representative for Primus Electronics in Shorewood, Illinois, during the Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, February 23 at NATE UNITE 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Kevin Hayden was honored as the recipient of the Bill Carlson Lifetime Service Award. This prestigious award recognizes an individual who has made a significant and long-term contribution to the success of the NATE mission and has served the Association continually for a minimum of 15 years.

As President of Hayden Tower Service, Inc., Kevin has spent over 36 years in the tower industry. Mr. Hayden has been an integral part of NATE from the inception. As a Founding Member of NATE, he has served the Association’s membership in many capacities, including the Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors, a Director on the Board of Directors, and many committee leadership roles, including the Industry Relations Committee, Financial Investment Committee, Legislative & Regulatory Committee, and Insurance Committee.

“Kevin has served NATE members with complete integrity,” stated NATE Founding Father Bill Carlson of Tower Systems, Inc. “Mr. Hayden’s unparalleled leadership has helped mold NATE into the outstanding organization it is today, and his influence has left a lasting legacy on NATE since the day the Association was founded in 1995,” added Carlson.

Diane Mueller was honored as the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. This prestigious award recognizes a past or present standing committee member who has demonstrated direct and individual contributions to the mission of NATE and whose performance has proven so exceptional that it profoundly affects the success of the Association.

As Sales Representative for Primus Electronics, Diane has spent 18 years volunteering on the NATE Member Services Committee. Ms. Mueller has served NATE’s membership in various other capacities, including playing an integral role in the formation of the first NATE Regional Meeting held in September 2015, as well as assisting the NATE Administrative Staff in coordinating and setting up the annual NATE UNITE Conference and Exposition.

“NATE has benefited immensely due to Diane’s enthusiastic ideas and tireless contributions,” stated NATE Member Services Committee Chairwoman Pat Miller. “Diane is a worthy recipient of the Distinguished Service Award and we are excited to be able to celebrate this honor with her,” added Miller.

The Bill Carlson Lifetime Service and Distinguished Service awards were made possible due to the contributions made by the NATE Member Services Committee and the awards are an annual fixture at the NATE UNITE event. For additional information on NATE, please visit www.natehome.com.

NATE UNITE 2016 Breaks Attendee, Exhibitor Records

(New Orleans, LA) – The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) announced today several record-breaking feats that were accomplished at last week’s NATE UNITE 2016 Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Association announced that 1,614 individuals registered to attend NATE UNITE 2016. This total eclipses the organization’s all-time conference registered attendee total in its 21-year history, exceeding the previous attendance registration record of 1,564 at NATE UNITE 2015 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NATE leaders also touted the record-breaking number of 137 exhibitors who participated in the NATE UNITE 2016 trade show this year.

“NATE UNITE 2016 was a resounding success due to the tremendous sponsor and exhibitor support and the caliber of the educational session speakers and topics,” stated NATE Events Coordinator Shari Wirkus. “We are already in the planning stages for NATE UNITE 2017 and anticipate that our annual conference and trade show will continue to grow,” Wirkus added.

“The record-setting accomplishments of NATE UNITE 2016 are a testament to NATE’s ability to evolve along with the wireless industry,” stated Executive Director Todd Schlekeway. “NATE members will continue to play a vital role building out both current networks and the future infrastructure that will be necessary to enable emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things and 5G,” said Schlekeway.

For more information on NATE, visit www.natehome.com today.

Scholarship to Honor Ernie Jones



February 25, 2016 — The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) and the Tower Family Foundation announced the establishment of a scholarship honoring the life of the late Ernie Jones this week during the annual NATE UNITE 2016 Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Ernie Jones Memorial Civil Engineering Scholarship will be a $2,500 scholarship awarded annually to a junior or senior civil engineering student at the University of Evansville’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Ernie Jones passed away tragically in October of 2015 while inspecting a tower in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Ernie was a structural engineer who worked in the broadcast tower industry for 30 years, he serving as a professional engineer and president of Consolidated Engineering and a vice-president of Structural Engineering at Electronics Research. Ernie was also a participating member of the TR-14.7 Committee of the Telecommunications Industry Association and Electronics Industry Association since 1986 where he assisted with writing and approving the ANSI-TIA/EIA 222 standard, which is the American National Standard for Steel Antenna Towers and Antenna Supporting Structures.