TIRAP Executive Board
David Sams, Chairperson
David Sams serves as Vice President of Risk Management for SBA Communications Corporation. David joined SBA in September of 2000. He currently has over twenty two years of experience as a Safety and Health Professional in the recognition, evaluation and control of workplace hazards. His qualifications include a thorough knowledge of OSHA, DOT, ANSI, EPA, FAA and consensus safety and health standards.
David has spent the last fourteen years in the tower industry where he has developed and implemented a complete risk assessment and safety policy and procedure program specifically designed for Fall Protection Standards and Radio Frequency (RF) recognition, assessment and training. Mr. Sams holds numerous safety and health certifications. He is also an active member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).
Paul Roberts, Vice-Chairperson
Paul Roberts is the Vice President of Compliance for American Tower Corporation. In this role, Paul administers the Environmental Compliance, FAA/FCC Regulatory Compliance, the Safety and Health initiatives of the company as well as regulatory advocacy. Paul is actively involved in advocacy efforts for the industry and has been a key contributor in helping to shape rulemakings affecting telecom. Prior to his work with American Tower, Paul practiced law as a partner in the firm Monaco & Roberts, served as Chief Operating Officer for Visionfactory, a software development firm, and prior to that as Chief Information Officer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
He was also previously a Director at Northrop Grumman supporting development of prototype military aircraft, Manager with Lockheed Martin on the Space Shuttle Program and began his career with the United States Air Force.
Beau Aero, Secretary
Beau Aero is the President and Founder of GME Supply, a subsidiary of GMES International. He began his career in the tower industry working at his parents’ manufacturing facility, GlenMartin. In 2005, after years of building experience with tower customers, he founded GME Supply. With over 18 years of on-the-job industry experience, Beau has a unique understanding of the equipment needs of tower erectors and maintenance companies.
Scott Kisting, Chairperson Emeritus
Scott Kisting is the Executive Vice President of Proactive Telecommunications Solutions LLC. Scott has over 25 years of’ experience in the telecommunications and structural steel industry. When he began in the industry he was a part of a crew working to install raw land sites for broadcast, microwave backhaul, and cellular communications. He has served as a Subject Matter Expert for the OSHA Training Institute and continues to work with members ANSI/TIA as well as other committees in support of education in the industry. Currently Scott is the chair of the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) Board, and supports the board members and all who provide their time and talent to develop clear and effective communication of the training and education required to install communications systems. Scott has worked on hundreds of structures in all 50 states providing services such as site acquisition, zoning, site design, implementation, and long term asset management. Scott works directly with the clients of Proactive Telecommunications Solutions, LLC to aid them with their standards and response to areas of concern. He is married to Bethany and they have six children. Scott enjoys camping, cooking, and traveling with his family.
Jonathan S. Adelstein is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA). Since he became President in 2012, over 100 new members have joined the association, the annual wireless infrastructure show has broken participation records, a new association was formed in Europe, and a new nationwide training initiative and WIA PAC were launched. WIA is the principal organization representing the companies that build, design, own and manage telecommunications facilities throughout the world. Its over 200 members include carriers, infrastructure providers and professional services firms, with a combined market cap of over $400 billion.
Mr. Adelstein served as Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 2002 to 2009, for which he was twice nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In 2009, following the FCC, Mr. Adelstein was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the Administrator of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service. There, he oversaw a $60 billion portfolio of rural electric, water, and telecommunications infrastructure loans.
As a member of the Obama Administration, Mr. Adelstein was appointed as a member of the White House National Science and Technology Council, which coordinates science and technology policy across the Federal government, and the White House Business Council, leading Council meetings with business leaders across America. Previously, Mr. Adelstein held a number of legislative staff positions over 15 years in the U.S. Senate, culminating as a senior policy advisor to the Senate Majority Leader.
Mr. Adelstein received an M.A. in History and a B.A., with Distinction, in Political Science from Stanford University. He has taught U.S. history at Harvard and Stanford.
Laurie Gebhardt is Verizon Wireless’ HQ Director of Network Engineering & Operations Support and has more than 25 years of network experience in various roles at Verizon Wireless. After beginning her career in Inventory and Asset management, Laurie moved into Operations as a Cellular Technician and then an Operations Manager. From there she moved on to work as a Regional Project Implementation Manager for Northern NJ and a Northeast Area Network Infrastructure Planning Manager before transitioning to her current role as HQ Director of Engineering & Operations Support.
Art Pregler is the Director of National Cell Site Programs for AT&T, responsible for policies, processes, systems, and supplier management related to the deployment and modification of AT&T’s nationwide portfolio of 65,000 cell sites. He has performed in this role for 15 years, currently at the national level, but previously at regional, state, and local levels. Art was responsible for the creation and implementation of AT&T’s “Turf” program, with all of its related sourcing models, contracts, and support systems to annually manage 50,000 capital improvement projects within an annual budget exceeding $4 billion. He continues to oversee this program at a national level. Prior to joining AT&T, Art served 15 years in the Federal Government supporting DOD and NASA. He started his 30-year technology-focused career as a U.S. Air Force Command and Control Officer, and as a Mission Control Specialist, supporting Space Shuttle flight operations, Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI/Star Wars) systems testing, and electronic warfare systems development.
Jim Walker-Pontius joined US Cellular in 2000 and is currently a Director of Network Operations residing in Madison WI. Over the past 14 years at US Cellular Jim has served as a Network Switch Engineer, Cellular Technician, Network Field Engineer, Network Operations Manager and as a Regional Switch Manager. Jim has extensive end to end knowledge of the operations and maintenance of wireless communications network systems to include RAN and Core network elements, transport solutions including microwave network elements, and tower structures including associated safety and maintenance procedures. Before joining US Cellular Jim served in the United States Army as a Satellite Systems Communications Operator with the certified instructor indicator and worked on satellite systems in research and development, fixed site installations as well as serving in a tactical deployment unit. Jim completed his service in 2000 as a digital communications instructor at the School of Satellite Communications located at Fort Gordon, Ga.
Richard Cullum is the Manager of Quality Assurance, Engineering and Operations for Crown Castle USA Inc. In his role, Richard is responsible for developing operational standards and procedures related tower inspections, construction and maintenance repairs and for assuring internal and vendor compliance with such standards. Richard has extensive field experience in tower construction, maintenance and repair and has worked in various aspects of the tower industry for the past twenty-five years. Richard is a licensed Professional Engineer and holds General Contractor licenses in multiple states. In addition, Richard holds multiple safety certifications and qualifications covering topics such as tower climbing and rescue, weld inspection, confined space entry, trenching and first aid.
Kelley Dunne is the current President and Co-Founder of Warriors 4 Wireless (W4W). W4W is a non-profit formed to bridge the gap between the demand for trained and deployable wireless technicians and qualified servicemen and women eager to transfer the skills they’ve learned in the military to civilian careers. Kelley also held industry leadership roles as CEO of One Economy, CEO and co-founder of Digital Bridge Communications, Executive Vice President of Verizon Avenue, and various other industry leadership roles at OnePoint Communications, AT&T, and Bell Labs. Kelley began his career in the US Army Signal Corps.
Joel Hightower is the CEO of Hightower Communications, Inc. Joel grew up working in the farms of North Carolina where he learned his great work ethic. He served in the NAVY in the area of Avionics for 5 years. Joel then started out in the telecommunications industry his first 10 years as a tower technician climbing, learning the skills of stacking, L&A install, microwave, lighting etc. Joel attended night classes and earned an associate’s degree in Electronics Engineering during this time. In 1996 the company he worked for ceased the tower side of the business and Joel started his own company, Hightower Communications, Inc. Joel enjoys giving back to the industry that has been so great to him, his company and his family in many ways such as previously being on the NATE Board of Directors, currently holding the Chairman position for the NATE trade show committee, supporting TIRAP working groups in creating positions for the industry and most recently becoming a TIRAP Board member.
Advisors to the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program
Dean A. McKenzie
Dean A. McKenzie is Director, Directorate of Construction, OSHA. With more than 40 years of experience in the field of construction, McKenzie has an exceptional understanding of the safety and health issues facing the industry. He started out in the steel mills of Gary, Ind., as a journeyman millwright in the mid-1970s. McKenzie worked in construction, particularly industrial, in Indiana, Florida, Colorado and the Caribbean. He has been a licensed general contractor, business owner, and project and operations manager.
In his eight years with OSHA, he has accomplished many things, including addressing fatalities in the communication tower industry, building a strong relationship with the Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, and taking a lead role in the Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction campaign.
Jeremy Buckles – Chair, Safety Committee
Jeremy Buckles joined SBA Communications in 2011 as a Health and Safety Manager and has over 13 years’ experience in the construction and telecommunications industries. Jeremy has been involved with safety and training for 7 years in the tower and telecommunications industry and has instructed classes for Tower Professionals all across the United States as well as assisting with writing ANSI Standards. Prior to his role in Health and Safety, Jeremy started his telecommunications career as a tower climber and later became a Microwave Technician where his responsibilities included installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of microwave networks for various Carriers. Jeremy is a U.S. Department of Labor OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for Construction Safety for 10 hour and 30 hour courses, an Advanced Trainer for Radio Frequency Safety International (RSI) RF Site Safety Awareness, and an Advanced Rigging Instructor for The Crosby Group. Jeremy is also certified to train Competent Climbers and High Angle/Rope Rescue through Vertical Rescue Solutions (VRS), DBI/SALA, and SBA’s CTS approved Tower Safety and Rescue program.
Deb Bennett, National Sponsor Facilitator
Deb Bennett is responsible for the overall administrative operation of TIRAP and compliance with National Standards. She works directly with participating employers to coordinate a wide range of activities related to the registration process. Contact Deb at email@example.com to learn more about TIRAP and the registration process.