By Ben Horvath, contributing reporter
For many businesses, certainly not just within the wireless industry, profit incentives may supersede the core values and mission of the organization. After nearly twenty years within the industry, AnchorGuard founder and president Craig Snyder has made certain that his business is immune to this trend.
Snyder’s company was spawned as a result of a tower accident he witnessed over 20 years. While scaling a guyed tower, two climbers fell to the ground as a result of a corroded guy anchor.
“The cause of the failure was very easy to determine,” Snyder recalls, “because an anchor about 6 or 7 feet underneath the ground had corroded almost completely, and while the guys were climbing there was just enough extra pressure to pull and break that guyed wire.”
Although both climbers survived the fall, save for some serious injuries, Snyder came away determined to prevent these types of accidents.
“In those days, I was a climber myself, so I had to think, ‘what can we do’ to make sure that we aren’t climbing towers that were on the edge of falling?” Snyder says.
Snyder conducted research on the cause of guy anchor corrosion and invented AnchorGuard as a means to inhibit this naturally occurring process.
“[The cause of corrosion] is a chemical process that happens to every medal, whether it’s a ship out in the ocean or it’s a train carrying things from point A to point B, it’s a medal’s natural tendency to go back to its original state,” Snyder says.
For instance, steel, a medal mined from the ground, will gradually revert back to its original state. “And much more quickly in certain environments,” Snyder adds.
AnchorGuard’s technology diverts the process of corrosion away from the anchor and toward, what Snyder dubs, the “sacrificial anode.” This anode, composed of magnesium, provides an electrical potential that ensures that it, rather than the steel guy anchor, takes on the brunt of the corrosive process.
Although the company has been a successful one for nearly two decades, Snyder, a former chairman of NATE, says climber protection is just as important as the company’s profit.
“Our company, even though it is a profit center for us, because of my interest in the safety within the industry, I have probably equally as much interest in getting something out there that will protect climbers that are climbing [guyed] towers,” he says.
For instance, when asked about the industry’s movement toward more monopoles, self-support towers and rooftop antennas (as opposed to guyed towers), Snyder said this isn’t a concern for the company. He notes that despite this trend, there are still a large number of pre-existing guyed towers. Furthermore, he says that while, “as a businessman,” it would behoove him to have more newly constructed guyed towers, he sees climber protection as equally important to the company’s bottom line.
“Sure there is an advantage [for us] in companies building more guide towers, but I’m not going to be someone who beats the drum to local zoning boards, making sure that more guyed towers are constructed,” he says.
Also, despite having unique qualities about their system, Snyder never pursued any intellectual property protection, consistent with his mission to spread this technology throughout the industry.