Towers are essential to power the network that connects the world. The industry relies on competent and capable tower climbers to deploy and maintain technology and the Sitetracker team had the chance to learn from some of the best tower engineers in the game: Tower Engineering Professionals (TEP). On a hot summer day, 10 Sitetracker employees learned the in’s and out’s of tower climbing and eventually made their way up TEP’s training towers at their training facility in Raleigh North Carolina. After learning the skill and discipline it takes to climb towers day in and day out, we had the chance to talk to Andy Haldane, owner of TEP, about how the business got started and how TEP is scaling to meet demand.
Can you give a background of Tower Engineering Professionals? What is the history of your company?
TEP got started in the mid-’90s. My business partner and I are two structural engineers that climbed and inspected cell towers and analyzed them. We saw the value in it. We saw how it made us better at our job and made us more valuable in the industry. Over the course of twenty plus years, we’ve grown it to over 750 employees.
Do you still climb towers?
I still climb. I’m one of twelve of our certified climbing instructors. It’s that important to me to show the guys that that’s what we’re doing, that we’re not going to let somebody else come in and do third party stuff. We know what we’re doing better than anybody else.
Is that reflective of the culture at TEP?
TEP has a very unique culture. I think it was born and bred from that climbing engineer. You know, that guy that’s smart enough to be an engineer but dumb enough to climb towers kind of thing.
What are your needs in a project management platform?
Going from a very small boutique engineering firm, like most engineering firms used Microsoft Excel and Access and Quickbooks and you use it until it renders itself useless. We were really looking for a solution that would help us continue to grow and advance in the industry. We tried a different system for a couple of years, and it failed.
So we looked for something more specific to the telecom world. And Sitetracker was a very good, easy implementation off the get-go.
They sent their team of folks down to learn what it was we actually did. They climbed with us. They took the time to do that to better understand what our needs were. I don’t think I could think of another company that would do that.
What benefits have you seen since using Sitetracker?
One of the biggest benefits is getting everybody from the project manager level-up on the same sheet of music. We no longer have different spreadsheets that we’re tracking and Google Docs and this that every other thing. Everybody is working off the same platform. It makes reporting easier, it makes our ability to drive the company forward with our metrics a lot simpler than it was in the past. Every business is different and we all face different challenges
Would you recommend Sitetracker?
I know one solution doesn’t fit all but Sitetracker’s ability to continue to improve and its tenacity to want to be the best at what they do is something that I’ve never experienced before.