Over the past 30 years, the growing demand for telecommunications services has driven an increase in the development of communications infrastructure, to meet the needs of our society. Employees involved in the construction, maintenance and support of this infrastructure, are frequently encountering hazards in the effort to erect and maintain quality communications infrastructure.
The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) is a joint venture of telecommunications companies, industry associations, and the U.S. Department of Labor that develops DOL-credentialed registered apprenticeship programs available to qualified employers for career development. It is the mission of TIRAP to partner with stakeholders to promote safety, enhance work quality through education, and enable advancement opportunities in the telecommunications workforce that will meet ever-increasing network infrastructure build out needs.
USA Telecom Insurance Services (USATIS) is leading the charge in Apprenticeship Outreach in their role as TIRAP’s National Marketing Partner. We have seen great initial success in our efforts to promote registered apprenticeships, and Team USATIS, along with the national sponsor WIA and our veterans support team in Warriors 4 Wireless we are proud to announce the newest TIRAP participant, Centerline Solutions.
Centerline Solution’s high regard for the well-being of their team members and customers puts them at the forefront of the wireless industry as a fast-growing leader. With 10 locations and nearly 400 employees, their in-house team gives them complete control of all project aspects from start to finish, ensuring the highest standards for safety and quality. Leading the Centerline team is Tom Prestwood, who has served as CEO since June 2017. He is responsible for the company’s strategic direction and financial performance, with the goal of providing clients with complete peace of mind.
According to Tom, Centerline’s culture is one of teamwork, integrity and quality, which has helped both him and his team overcome every change and challenge of a rapidly advancing industry. The ability to rise to these challenges is what sets Centerline apart, and Tom understands their role “as a supplier and provider of services…is to adjust Centerline to the needs of our customers while still maintaining a healthy profit.” Most importantly, Centerline wants to “provide a place for our employees to come to work every day where they can feel impactful and appreciated, and go home safely to their families each night.”
In an exclusive interview, we talked with Tom about quality, safety, and why TIRAP makes sense for his company.
A big focus of TIRAP is increasing the quality of work the industry is providing along with the safety of the workforce. What are your concerns as an industry leader about the current level of quality in the industry?
Tom: Quality and safety tie together, but at the end of the day safety is number one. This is an industry that does have risk and our tower professionals want to go home to their families and friends every night, and as an employer I want them to as well. It’s a hard job to be able to meet the timing, do it on budget and do a quality job, while keeping safety front of mind.
You asked about Centerline’s culture, one of the things that is pervasive throughout our culture is safety. We work hard on that and that is why I wanted to get involved with TIRAP. If you’re trying to build an apprenticeship program to get those new to the industry up to speed and interested in what we’re doing, and we don’t tie safety in from the get-go, we’re making a huge mistake as an industry. I personally believe if you have a culture that promotes safety you are, in turn, promoting quality. When you are conscious of safety, you’re taking the right amount of time to do a quality job. TIRAP is a great platform for us to talk about wireless safety as an industry. The ways in which carriers drive us forward don’t always align with safety needs, however down the road everyone, including clients, will pay for safety issues either directly or through build delays. With TIRAP, we have a great opportunity to start from the ground up. If we’re going to build a quality product, we are going to push the safety aspect as hard as we can because at the end of the day for me, if you don’t have safety then you’re really missing the point and ultimately you won’t have a sustainable business.
Without TIRAP, we probably wouldn’t have the time or money to push training down far enough into our organization to feel comfortable that we’re getting quality work done safely. To continue growing our company and helping the industry provide a service our customers want, we need to utilize our crews and even our subs under a quality environment. We’re bringing in skilled management to vet and train responsible, safety-minded partners who meet our guidelines and TIRAP will provide a defined education framework to ensure everyone operates on the same standards for safety and quality.
You obviously see value in mentoring and apprenticeship. How do you go about finding quality talent?
Tom: We have an amazing team of people at Centerline, but we are always on the hunt for great talent, which is a key reason why we partnered with TIRAP. The program’s mission to promote safety and enhance work quality through education is in line with our values and direction. In my opinion, construction crews are often underappreciated and many people don’t understand the important role they serve in our industry. These are smart, capable people who are climbing towers daily, traveling frequently, working under tight deadlines and constantly problem-solving on the job – it’s a unique and often demanding lifestyle. It’s a tough industry and you must have a certain mentality to excel in this environment. As an employer, it’s our challenge and responsibility to hire and train at the highest level we can and we believe that our involvement in TIRAP will help us build and groom a more skilled wireless workforce.
TIRAP is available to qualified employers for the training and career development of the telecommunications workforce. Learn more at http://tirap.org/.
About TIRAP The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (“TIRAP”)
TIRAP is a joint venture of telecommunications companies, industry associations and the U.S. Department of Labor (“DoL”) that develops DoL-credentialed apprenticeship programs available to qualified employers for career development of the telecommunications workforce. The TIRAP’s mission is to partner with stakeholders to promote safety, enhance quality, and enable education and advancement opportunities in the telecommunications workforce that will meet network infrastructure build out needs. www.tirap.org
SOURCE: Centerline Solutions
About Centerline Solutions
Centerline Solutions operates as the “easy button” for all things wireless as they work to design, build, modify and maintain wireless networks and infrastructure for clients across the U.S. This means providing a full suite of services for the entire wireless network life cycle, all under one roof. With ten offices across nine states and nearly 400 staff members, Centerline Solutions is the turnkey service provider poised to meet wireless challenges of all types in order to build exciting, next-generation networks and support the future of communication. For more information, please visit our website at www.centerlinesolutions.com.
About USA Telecom Insurance Services:
USA Telecom Insurance Services is a full-service MGA dedicated to meeting the needs of retail insurance agents and their telecommunication customers. USA Telecom offers a very competitive insurance program that is available to agents nationwide. It has taken over 5 years to find an A+ admitted carrier that would meet the challenging requirements of the telecommunications industry. USA Telecom exceeds all industry insurance requirements by major carriers and contractors. For additional information visit www.usatelecomins.com
WIA represents the companies that make up the wireless infrastructure ecosystem in the United States. Members include wireless carriers, infrastructure providers, and professional services firms that collectively own and operate more than 135,000 telecommunications facilities around the globe. Through public affairs and advocacy efforts – on the local, state and federal level – WIA works to support the widespread deployment of the wireless infrastructure to deliver broadband access to all citizens and communities. WIA working with TIRAP also has an understanding in place to have the support of Warriors 4 Wireless and the benefits that they can provide to our transitioning veterans. The mission of the WIA is to help our members succeed in enabling wireless communications. For additional information visit www.wia.org.