National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) and the Wireless Industry Network (WIN) will be hosting the Pacific Regional Conference on Thursday, April 26, at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel in Portland, Oregon. This conference is being held the day after the Susan Harwood – OSHA Grant Rigger Awareness Safety Training also at the Sheraton Portland Airport hotel and will focus on key industry safety initiatives and offer tremendous networking and professional development opportunities for attendees.
“As a longtime member of NATE, we are excited to welcome NATE to the City of Roses and the beautiful Pacific Northwest for the Pacific Regional Conference on April 26,” said Tony Strenke, President of Advanced Tower Components, LLC and NATE WIN Oregon State Liaison. “We look forward to learning about new industry trends and networking with colleagues, both old and new,” added Strenke.
“This event will offer great educational and networking opportunities as speakers from all facets of the wireless telecom ecosystem will present programs on the hottest industry topics,” stated NATE WIN Director Scott Krouse. Presentations will include workforce development strategies, small cell and DAS applications and other topics yet to be announced.
NATE members and non-members alike are encouraged to attend this conference. The cost to attend the Pacific Regional Conference is $75 per person and includes lunch. Interested attendees are encouraged to register by completing the Registration Form on the NATE website. All completed registration forms and payments should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the NATE office (8 Second Street SE, Watertown, SD 57201) by the registration deadline of Friday, April 13, 2018.
Sponsorship opportunities are also available. CLICK HERE to become a sponsor for the NATE WIN Pacific Regional Conference.
NATE unveiled a video highlighting the National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) worker certification programs as the second to debut in Volume 3 of the Association’s critically acclaimed Climber Connection series. The video release announcement took place live from the 2018 International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) in Orlando, Florida.
The video, entitled “NWSA: A New Badge of Honor” focuses on the transformative and portable certification offerings now available in the marketplace to the communications tower workforce. The fast-paced video also provides a comprehensive overview of the steps and processes involved for workers to achieve NWSA certification.
“NWSA’s nationwide, portable and verifiable worker certification programs are a game changer for the industry,” said Justin Pitts from East Coast Communications who is a NWSA Accredited Practical Examiner and certified worker. “This video does a great job educating industry employers and employees on the benefits associated with NWSA credentials and the steps involved in order to ultimately achieve certification,” added Pitts.
Click HERE to watch the NWSA Certification Video. NATE encourages tower technicians and industry stakeholders to actively participate in this campaign by posting the video on their respective social networking platforms using the hashtag #ClimberConnection. NATE also encourages industry workers to share their comments on the video through social interaction on the Association’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Climber Connection Volume 3 campaign was developed by the NATE Member Services Committee in conjunction with the NATE Safety & Education Committee and is designed to provide specific resources and communicate the Association’s message directly to the industry’s workforce.
NATE honored Pat Cipov, President of Cipov Enterprises, Inc. in Sumter, South Carolina, Pat Miller, Director of EasTex Tower, LLC in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Congressman Marsha Blackburn, U.S. Representative for the 7th District of Tennessee during the Awards Luncheon sponsored by SBA Communications at NATE UNITE 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Pat Cipov 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.
Cipov has been in the tower industry for nearly 40 years. In 1995, Pat’s company, Cipov Enterprises, Inc. became one of sixty founding member companies of NATE. Pat was elected to the NATE Board of Directors in 2000 during which time she was also appointed as the Board oversight for the OSHA Relations Committee. In 2006, she was elected to the Executive Committee as Vice Chairperson and served in that capacity until 2013.
In 2013, Cipov became the first woman to serve as Chair of the Association. In her role as NATE Chairwoman, Pat was an influential advocate for streamlining the deployment of broadband and wireless infrastructure technologies and promoting technological innovations in fall protection equipment in order to enhance workplace safety in the industry. Cipov served as NATE Chairwoman until 2015. Currently, she is serving as the South Carolina State Liaison for the NATE Wireless Industry Network (WIN).
“Pat is an industry trailblazer who has broken many glass ceilings during her career,” said Executive Director Todd Schlekeway. “Pat is worthy of this achievement as she has tirelessly contributed her time and talents for 23 years to enable NATE to grow and evolve into the organization it is today,” added Schlekeway.
Pat Miller 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.
Miller has served on the NATE Member Services Committee since 2007 and as the NATE Member Services Committee Chairwoman from 2012 to 2017. Pat currently serves as the Regional Ambassador of the Rocky Mountain Region for the NATE Wireless Industry Network (WIN).
Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) was honored as the inaugural recipient of the NATE Legislative Champion Award. Congressman Blackburn has earned a special reputation as a bi-partisan leader and policy expert on telecommunications issues and intellectual property rights during her tenure. Blackburn currently holds a seat on the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee and has played a pivotal leadership role for the wireless infrastructure industry as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
During the Awards Luncheon, NATE also honored John Hanna Sr., Founder of Tower & Communication Services, Inc. in Florence, South Carolina, Clement Rolle, Senior Manager at Bahamas Telecomm. Co. Ltd. in Nassau, Bahamas and Todd Thorin, Director of Safety and Training at Sioux Falls Tower & Communications in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with the prestigious Chairman’s Coin award. The Chairman’s Coin is an award recognizing individuals who have provided excellent dedication and service to the mission of NATE and to encourage continued involvement.
Departing members of the NATE Board of Directors Don Train of Haddon Heights, New Jersey and Ben Little of Golden, Colorado were also recognized for their years of service to the Association at the luncheon.
“I thank all of today’s recipients on behalf of all the people of NATE! I can assure you they represent the very best our industry has to offer,” stated NATE Chairman Jim Tracy, CEO of Legacy Telecommunications, Inc. “These pioneering leaders have cleared the way for a bright and safe future for generations of workers. Their loyalty to the wireless workforce and the businesses that employ them have created an enduring legacy,” Tracy added.
The Bill Carlson Lifetime Service, Distinguished Service, Legislative Champion and Chairman’s Coin awards were made possible due to the contributions made by the NATE Member Services Committee and Legislative & Regulatory Committee. The awards are an annual fixture at the NATE UNITE event. For additional information on NATE, please visit www.natehome.com.
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.
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.
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
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: email@example.com.