Day of Remembrance

Day of remembrance includes American Tower subsidiary’s 13 employees who died on September 11

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator


As we mark the passage of two decades since the day that changed our lives forever, the pain will be revisited on this day of remembrance and prayer, especially for those at a tower company who knew many of those people in a sister company who died in the collapse of the twin towers on September 11, 2001.

General Telecom, a subsidiary of American Tower Corporation, with headquarters on the 83rd floor of One World Trade Center, lost 13 employees after an American Airlines’ Boeing 767 commandeered by terrorists crashed between  floors 93 and 99 of the tower at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, collapsing the 110-story building.

Thirty-seven people worked at GT’s headquarters, but by a series of coincidences many of them were not in the tower that day. Like many others, GT employees literally were on their way into the building or in some cases, inside the tower, when disaster struck. GT’s president, Brian Metherell, was in Los Angeles on business when the planes struck the twin towers.

Many tower contractors were meeting outside of D.C. on 9/11

The day that America lost its innocence is indelibly tattooed in the memories of all wireless industry workers, some very close to the three plane crash locations.

On September 11, 2001, American Tower’s construction services group was holding an all day American Alliance of Contractors presentation before approximately 70 of the nation’s largest wireless general contractors outside of Washington, D.C.

The group’s regional manager of safety and health, Francis Hartnett, who had just completed a session on the tower owner’s safety requirements, rushed through the conference room’s doors at around 8:50 a.m. announcing, “A jet has crashed into the twin towers; it looks like America might be under attack.”

“When it was first announced, I thought he was joking,” said Florida contractor Douglas Coberly, president of B&C Contracting. “This can’t possibly be happening. It’s beyond belief.”

But Hartnett’s resolute stare belied any other message than the frightening truth and attendees silently hurried to the hotel lobby’s TV to view live coverage of United Airlines Flight 175 crash into the South Tower of the World trade Center, between floors 77 and 85.

For more than five minutes the silent crowd just watched the unfolding events and newscasts, trying to grasp what would be next.

That occurred at 9:37 a.m. when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon just miles away.

A South Carolina contractor closed his eyes, staring up at the TV and began to pray. A few close by attendees joined in. Disbelief turned to concern for their co-workers’, friends’ and family’s safety. Overburdened cell sites prevented communications.

Anger had not visited yet. However, it would arrive and be a constant companion, especially after the south tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m.

Less than two hours before, a number of contractors viewed each other as prey. The morning’s life-changing events formed a mutual bond of caring and a better understanding of the frailty of life for many of them.

Some contractors lent money to people that they didn’t know who were short on cash, others offered to go out of their way to drive people home to their families – still unsure of what catastrophic events might occur.

With airlines grounded, many people teamed up to travel thousands of miles in their vehicles or rental cars, some traveling on I-95 near the Newark, NJ Airport with hundreds of planes sitting jarringly silent under the black September shadow of sorrow.

Through a tear-streaked view across the Hudson River, they sadly witnessed the smoldering fires marking the 2,977 lives and two iconic skyscrapers that were no longer there.

— Craig Lekutis

Vertical Freedom! A Feature Film!

Vertical Freedom trailer provides a quick insight about an upcoming tower tech feature length movie

In Daily News Briefs by Wireless Estimator

Vertical-FreedomNATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, in collaboration with STORYBUILT Media, released the debut movie trailer last night at the South Wireless Summit in Nashville, TN for Vertical Freedom, an epic, feature length documentary film highlighting the professional and personal lives of six communications infrastructure workers in the United States who possess diverse backgrounds and compelling stories, on and off the job.

A teaser says the movie will have amazing storylines and views.

It will also help to advance world knowledge about the exacting and professional skillsets that tower technicians are required to have to achieve success in their office in the sky.

But don’t put the popcorn on quite yet. The movie will not be hitting the wide screen until 2022.


Aerostat Broadband Coming To A Town Near You!

WHIN to Launch Indiana’s First Aerostat Providing the Region With Broadband


Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) 

Aug 05, 2020, 09:00 ET

Wabash Heartland Innovation Network is planning the launch of an RTO Wireless AeroSite, home base of the first telecommunications aerostat to be deployed in the United States for rural broadband. The AeroSite will support WHIN’s research broadband network, covering ten counties in north central Indiana.

Wabash Heartland Innovation Network is planning the launch of an RTO Wireless AeroSite, home base of the first telecommunications aerostat to be deployed in the United States for rural broadband. The AeroSite will support WHIN's research broadband network, covering ten counties in north central Indiana.

Aerostats allow telecommunications equipment to be located at 1,500-2,500 feet, which provides line-of-sight that is better than terrestrial towers. With the AeroSite™ and its Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) radios, WHIN’s research network will be one of the most advanced rural broadband testbeds in the country.

In partnership with its tech partners, WHIN will test innovative solutions to make broadband available in areas of its region that are unserved or underserved. WHIN will publish the technical details of the deployment and its regional impact to policymakers, industry, and researchers.

In addition, a LoRaWAN gateway will be installed on the aerostat that will enhance and extend coverage to the entire WHIN region. It’s the next step toward fulfilling our promise for full LoRaWAN coverage and helps fulfill WHIN’s mission of accelerating the adoption of IoT technology throughout the region. The gateways will allow for millions of messages per day to flow through from sensors in agricultural fields and manufacturing facilities, informing decisions that affect the bottom line by reducing costs, increasing speed of operations and making operations more efficient.

“WHIN is committed to ensuring that the Wabash Heartland is a leader in technology innovations for the agricultural and manufacturing industries,” stated Steve Hubbard CEO of RTO Wireless. “The RTO AeroSite™ is perfectly suited for rapidly providing thousands of square miles of wireless coverage, enabling many emerging technologies and applications for these industries as well as rural broadband, remote learning, and telehealth solutions. WHIN’s dedication to the advancement of the region was pivotal in RTO’s decision to establish an AeroSite™ Technologies team and lease a hangar in West Lafayette.”

Aerostats have been used to maintain communications after natural disasters, and by the military, but this will be the first commercial broadband service provided by an aerostat in the country. Right here in Indiana.

 SOURCES: Alivia Roberts, Marketing and Communications Manager, WHIN: and Jason Tennenhouse, VP Strategy and Design, WHIN:

 ABOUT WHIN: WHIN is an innovative nonprofit organization devoted to making the 10-county region of north-central Indiana the global epicenter of digital agriculture and next-generation manufacturing.

 ABOUT RTO WIRELESS: RTO is a pioneer in aerostat industry and operates the first commercial deployment of an aerostat for wireless coverage. RTO supports AT&T’s FirstNet One Aerostat deployments and is a Microsoft Airband partner. RTO offers mobile voice/data; broadband; backhaul; and pervasive IoT connectivity.

 Related Images


WHIN to Launch Indiana’s First Aerostat Providing the Region With Broadband
Wabash Heartland Innovation Network is planning the launch of an RTO Wireless AeroSite™, home base of the first telecommunications aerostat to be deployed in the United States for rural broadband. The AeroSite™ will support WHIN’s research broadband network, covering ten counties in north central Indiana.

 Related Links

Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN)

WHIN to Launch Indiana’s First Aerostat Providing the Region With Broadband

SOURCE Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN)


Nokia To Build Cell Network On The Moon!

NASA named Nokia as a partner to advance technologies for the Moon, deploying what both say is the first LTE/4G communications system in space. Nokia Bell Labs will be used to build and deploy an ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened, end-to-end LTE solution on the lunar surface in late 2022. Nokia is partnering with Intuitive Machines to integrate this network into their lunar lander and deliver it to the lunar surface. The network will self-configure upon deployment and establish the first LTE communications system on the Moon. The idea is to establish sustainable operations on the Moon in preparation for an expedition to Mars.

 The network will provide critical communication capabilities for many different data transmission applications, including vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video. These communication applications are all vital to long-term human presence on the lunar surface, according to proponents.

Nokia says its LTE network – the precursor to 5G – is suited to provide wireless connectivity for any activity that astronauts need to carry out, enabling voice and video communications capabilities, telemetry and biometric data exchange, and deployment and control of robotic and sensor payloads.

Marcus Weldon, Chief Technology Officer at Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs President, said: “Leveraging our rich and successful history in space technologies, from pioneering satellite communication to discovering the cosmic microwave background radiation produced by the Big Bang, we are now building the first ever cellular communications network on the Moon. Reliable, resilient and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface. By building the first high performance wireless network solution on the Moon, Nokia Bell Labs is once again planting the flag for pioneering innovation beyond the conventional limits.”

Nokia’s lunar network consists of an LTE base station with integrated Evolved Packet Core functionalities, LTE User Equipment, RF antennas and high-reliability operations and maintenance control software. The solution has been specially designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the launch and lunar landing, and to operate in the extreme conditions of space. The fully integrated cellular network meets stringent size, weight and power constraints of space payloads in an extremely compact form factor.

Article Courtesy of

Nate Announces Record-Setting Number of Star Initiative Participating Companies for 20-21

For Immediate Release:
October 20, 2020

NATE Announces Record-Setting Number of STAR Initiative Participating Companies for 2020-2021 Program Year

(Watertown, SD) – NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association today announced the member companies who have been formally approved to participate in the STAR Initiative program for the 2020-2021 year. NATE has proudly accepted 185 participating companies in this year’s STAR Initiative which represents a record number of companies since the inception of the program.

The STAR Initiative will be entering its eleventh program year in 2020-2021. Since its inception, the program’s site safety audits and program documentation requirements have served to allow participants to proactively identify and correct hundreds of job site hazards and deficiencies. These results have allowed NATE to extrapolate valuable benchmarks and tangible data from the program, while demonstrating compelling evidence that STAR Initiative member companies are leading the charge in terms of making our industry safer.

The STAR Initiative program represents the gold standard in the industry and has achieved an elevated level of distinction in the marketplace. Simply put, program participants are placing their respective firms in a strong business position with prominent industry customers and vendors.

“On behalf of the Association, I would like to congratulate the distinguished group of STAR Initiative companies who have been accepted to participate in this year’s program,” said NATE Project Assistant Sandy Jurgens. “STAR Initiative companies are known nationally by government agencies, standards bodies, wireless carriers and vertical realtor customers due to their proactive and aggressive commitment to safety and quality while deploying and maintaining infrastructure and networks at sites throughout the country,” added Jurgens.

This year, program participants will once again have access to the innovative STAR Initiative mobile app. The STAR app significantly enhances the participant experience and provides a convenient means of submitting Site Safety Audit documentation in real-time directly from the field via smart phone, tablet or other mobile device. The official NATE STAR Initiative app is available as a free download in both iOS (Apple) and Android platforms.

As an added benefit, STAR Initiative participants also receive discounts on designated training courses offered on the NATE EXCHANGE, a dynamic website platform connecting companies to the most up-to-date training courses offered in the tower industry.

The 2020-2021 NATE STAR Initiative participating companies include:



A&J Steel Reinforcing Services Inc.
A.R. Wireless, Inc.
Above All Tower Climbing, LLC
Above Wireless LLC
Advanced Tower Services, Inc.
Advanced Wireless and Logistics, Inc.
Advanced Wireless Solutions, Inc.
Amatel, Inc.
AmChel Communications, Inc.
AMF Electrical Contractors, Inc.
ANS Advanced Network Services LLC
Ansco & Associates, LLC
AscendTek, LLC
Atlantic CommTech Corporation
Atlantic Construction Companies
B+T Group
Banner Enterprise LLC
B-C Walker, Inc.
BDC Group, Inc.
Best Endeavours, Inc.
Black & Veatch
Blackhawk Tower Communications, Inc.
Branch Communications, LLC
Bright Lighting, Inc
Broken Arrow Communications
C2C Communication, LLC
Capstone Solutions Inc
Cellular Construction Services
Centerline Communications LLC
Ceragon Networks, Inc.
Clifton’s Tower Service, Inc.
CMS Wireless, LLC
Com Plus Inc.
Commsite Corp.
CSB Communications, LLC
D & H Builders, Inc.
Dan Combs Consulting Inc.
Design 1
Design Telecommunications Inc.
Diamond Tower Services, Inc.
Dietz Brothers, Inc.
Diverse Construction, Inc.
Diversified Communications Services
E.M. Enterprises General Contractors,
East Coast Communications
Eastern Communications, Inc.
EasTex Tower, LLC
Eastower Communications Inc
ECS Telecom Services, LLC
Elevated Services, LLC
Elexco, Inc.
Elite Tower Solutions, INC.
Emergency Radio Service, Inc.
Engineering Wireless Services, LLC
ERI Installations, Inc.
Ericsson Inc.
Excalibur Builders and Maintenance,
Excel Construction, Inc.
FastTrac Telecom Services LLC
FDH Infrastructure Services, LLC
Flash Technology
FMK Infrastructure LLC
Fulton Technologies, Inc
Global Tank and Tower, LLC
GlobeLink Telecom
Grapevine Solutions, Inc.
Gray’s Tower Service LLC
Great Plains Towers
Green Mountain Communications, Inc.
Gulf Services
Hayden Tower Service, Inc.
Heartland Solutions Corp.
Hightower Communications, Inc.
HighTower Solutions Inc.
Illini Drilled Foundations, Inc.
Independent Network Services, LLC
Industrial Communications, LLC
Infinigy Solutions, LLC
Infinite Wireless Solutions
Innovated Tower Solutions
Irby Construction Company
JDH Contracting, Inc.
Jemtec LLC
Joshrob Integrated Services Limited
JT Tower Service
K&H Construction, Inc.
Larson Tower Specialists, LLC
Lee Antenna & Line Service, Inc.
Legacy Telecommunications, LLC
Long Wave Inc.
Maryland Premier Towers, LLC
MasTec Network Solutions
McPhee Electric
Mercury Communications Contractors
Meridian Blue Construction, LLC
Mesquite Valley Communications, Inc.
Metro RF Services, Inc.
Michigan Towers Incorporated
Microwave Transmission Systems, Inc.
Mid Atlantic Contracting, Inc.
Midland Communications Inc.
Midwest Tower Erection, Inc.
MPS Site Development Services, LLC
Murphy Tower Services, LLC
MZI Group
NDC Communications, LLC
Neticom, LLC
Network Installation Specialists, LLC
New Horizons Telecom, Inc.
Newkirk Electric Associates Inc
Noash Construction, Inc.
North Sky Communications, Inc.
Northeast Towers, Inc.
Northern Pride Communications, Inc.
Nsight Tower
Omega Development Company
Pathwave Inc.
Patriot Towers Inc.
Peak Net
Peak Signals, LLC
Perfect Wireless, Inc.
Pilgrim Communications, Inc.
Pillar Innovations LLC
Pinkham Cyr, Inc.
Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Platinum Communications
Premise, Inc.
Primoris T&D
Professional Teleconcepts, LLC
Pyramid Network Services
QualTek Wireless LLC
RIO Steel & Tower, Ltd.
SAC Wireless LLC
SAI Group
Show Me Welding
SiteMaster, Inc.
Sky Climber Tower Solutions DBA Sky
Climber Telecom
SkyTower, LLC
Spectrum Construction Services, Inc.
Speelman Electric, Inc.
STG Communication Services
Stoehr Telecom Construction
Stout & Company, LLC
Structural Tower Services, Inc.
STS Communications, Inc.
Synergy Concepts, Inc.
T Steele Construction Inc.
Telecom Services Texas, LLC
Teltronic Towers, Inc.
TEST Communications
Texoma Contracting, Inc.
Tiller Engineering Inc.
Tilson Technology Management, Inc.
Timberline Communications, Inc.
Total Service Telecom, Inc.
Total Telco Specialists, Inc.
Tower & Turbine Technologies LLC
Tower Communications Expert, LLC
Tower Inspection, Inc.
Tower Systems, Inc.
Tower Technologies, LLC
TowerMRL, Inc.
Triangle Communication System
Tryzub Tower Services, LLC
US Tower Services, Inc.
Valor Specialties, Inc.
Vertical Technology Solutions, Inc
Viking Maintenance dba Finish Tower,
Vinco, Inc.
Wicomm Construction
Windy City Tower Techs LLC
Wireless Construction, Inc
Wireless Horizon
Wireless Infrastructure Services

About NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association

NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association is a non-profit trade association dedicated to providing a unified voice for companies in the diverse tower and communications infrastructure construction, service and maintenance industries. Today the Association boasts over 940 member companies located throughout the United States, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Jamaica, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and the United Kingdom. For additional information on NATE, please visit

Contact: Todd Schlekeway
(605) 882-5865


NATE UNITE 2021 Registration Open

NATE – The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association invites you to attend the NATE UNITE 2021 annual event which will be held February 15-18 at the Renasant Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

NATE UNITE is widely regarded as the premier conference and trade show in the diverse tower and wireless communications infrastructure, construction, service, and maintenance infrastructure industries focused on safety. The NATE UNITE lineup consists of an impressive array of educational sessions, networking receptions, luncheons, optional courses and speakers. Additionally, NATE UNITE’s interactive and vibrant exhibit hall bustles with activity from stakeholders representing every layer of the industry.

Visit to register and view further details regarding NATE UNITE 2021. Information regarding the educational sessions featured at NATE UNITE 2021 can be located in the Pre-Show Planner. For further information on how to become an exhibitor and showcase your products and services to NATE UNITE attendees, the Sponsor and Exhibitor Planning Guide and the booth space contract are also available on the NATE website. Contact Shari Wirkus, NATE Event Coordinator, at or 605-882-5865 for additional information on exhibiting or sponsoring NATE UNITE 2021.



Meet The Owner With Mark Fisher

An Interview with the Owner of Heartland Mister Mark Fisher.

Meet The Owner

An Interview with Mark Fisher, Owner and President of Heartland Solutions, Corp. and Victoria Johnson Project Coordinator.

V: Why did you decide to start a tower company?

M: Good question.  Generally speaking, I have been interested in small business operation for a good part of my life.  I’ve either started or bought into a half dozen enterprises over the last twenty years.  Business ownership comes with a lot of risks and a ton of challenges, but it also offers rewards not always available when working for others.  I’ve been fortunate to be married to a spouse that accepts the risks of business ownership with me and understands the commitment needed to make a business successful.  Without that support, owning a business would be a whole other battle!  Why a tower company?  Success consists of a load of preparation so that when opportunity knocks, you are ready to open the door.  That’s what happened with Heartland Solutions.  An opportunity came up to start the business with a partner.  I had been working in the wireless communications construction industry for over a decade, with experience in project management, accounting and operations management, so I thought that I was prepared.  Wow was I wrong!  I have to say – glad I did it.  I’ve learned so much and continue to do so today.

V: What is unique about Heartland Solutions? 

M: There is a depth of experience and knowledge of wireless communications infrastructure construction at Heartland like none that I have seen before.  Those that have the knowledge here are anxious to share it.  I think that is what makes us unique.  From the Safety Department to our Civil / Electrical Division to our Tower Division, our managers have a high level of experience and knowledge of their craft.  What is exceptional about Heartland is the dedication of our field and office managers and crew leaders to instruct daily to make our overall organization stronger.  The basic fact that they are training is not unique.  It is the success that they have due to their diligence and dedication to teaching that sets them and the company apart.  I have to say that I’m impressed.  I may not say that enough, but my hat is off to the teachers in this company.

V: What do you value most about our culture and vision that has been set forth for Heartland Solutions? 

M: The first wireless construction company that I worked for had a 401k program that offered matching contributions.  That company made a real effort to show its employees that they were valued.  I have strived to pass that culture along at Heartland.  We have a very strong 401k matching program and we offer to each participating employee access to retirement planning advisors.  I believe that we have the ability to help each other and that this effort will come back to the company in motivated employees who see the value of their efforts.

V: To what do you attribute Heartland Solutions success over the years starting from 2007 to now?

M: It would be easy to say that living up to our mantra is the answer:  Safety, Quality, Productivity.  A lot of good companies with similar mantra’s have gone by the wayside, though, over the years.  Safety, Quality and Productivity are crucial to the success of our company and have been the bedrock upon which we build the business.  Perseverance, though, has to be the answer to your question.  The business was started in 2007.  By 2008, the country was in the midst of the great recession.  Our customer base was small and growing, but when the economy tanked, our prospects withered up.  We persevered.  Heartland took work securing and maintaining homes among other projects until the wireless industry picked itself back up.  The company has faced challenge after challenge after challenge – the latest being the Covid-19 pandemic.  We have and continue to persevere by being innovative and flexible.  We hire exceptional people that are not rigid in their thinking, but able to switch gears quickly.  Once again — our success comes down to our people.

V: How does your company help the community where it is located?

M: Most of Heartland’s employees are from Indiana with the company directly employing over 70 people, full-time.  We have been able to provide competitive wages and benefits to all employees.  The community benefits as our employees buy and spend locally.  Additionally, Heartland has been involved with Habitat for Humanity on multiple house building projects, with our employees volunteering their time and energy and the company donating the use of a boom truck to set struts.  We are proud of being a Hoosier company and we utilize Hoosier suppliers, vendors and subcontractors whenever possible.  The reach of our company, really, is phenomenal.  We have over 400 suppliers and subcontractors, so you can quickly see how many people the company touches.

V: What professional achievement, for the company, are you most proud of? 

M: There really are a lot of phenomenal things that our employees have done.  Naming a few projects:  DAS installation in the Detroit Marriott’s 72 floors, abutting the General Motors headquarters; Helping to bring capacity and coverage to multiple carriers in a very short window in 2012, when Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl; Constructing the largest renewable energy projects in Indiana on an EPA Superfund site (Kokomo, IN) and being a significant part of the 5G workforce for America.  I am in awe of our workforce – coming up from a single crew to where we are today.  I’m proud of our people – we set out to build up a civil division and now we can routinely construct 50+ rawland tower sites annually.  What an achievement!

V: What are some qualities you look for in your employees on the field and in the office? 

M: I’ve learned that technical skills can be taught, but integrity, diligence and team-mindedness are important ingrained characteristics that need to be there when a candidate lands at our door.  Those that succeed within Heartland exhibit these qualities and are driven to be the best that they can be.  They learn what it takes to be of the most benefit to their team, including what it takes to step up within the organization.  So, yeah… integrity, diligence and team-mindedness.

V: What’s Heartland Solution’s goals for 2021? In the next five years? The next ten years?

M: This year, even though our company has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been fortunate.  We all know people and businesses that have fared much worse.  So, 2021… our annual sales goals and financial goals have been battered a bit in the first half of the year.  Due to the efforts of Heartland’s management team, however, we have seen an up-tick in our projections and we’re confident that we can get back to a more solid platform.  We often set five year goals that include financial and cultural segments.  I have joked that we will be installing telecommunications satellites and lunar renewable energy farms in the not so distant future.  With the speed of technological advancement, that may not be far off the mark!  Five year goals… we expect to see continued steady growth, that follows the strong expectation for wireless infrastructure construction.  We also expect to expand the business geographically as we follow key customers to other regions.  Ten year goals… Well… pack your space suits.


Heartland Solutions Sponsors and Participates in Habitat for Humanity Event

Heartland Solutions sponsored a Habitat for Humanity house painting on 6/17/17. Several Heartland employees volunteered their time.

As has become the custom for several years, Heartland Solutions sponsored a portion of a house being built by Habitat for Humanity to help a family get back on their feet.  On 6/17/17, ten Heartland employees volunteered their time and energy to help paint a house which is being constructed by Habitat for Humanity.  When the job was finished, Habitat had a newly painted house that was one step closer to completion and the participants had a sense of accomplishment with some fun thrown in.  For some of the volunteers this has become an anticipated yearly event.  There were even some volunteers who are already used to working in high locations.  Thank you to these employees for making this endeavor a success.  If you would like to see more pictures of this event, visit our Heartland Solutions Corp Facebook page.