By Benjamin Horvath
Inside Towers Special Correspondent
For tower climbers, being away from home for two or three weeks at a time is not unusual; in fact, it’s something that is expected. It’s an exception, then, when one hears about a company whose climbers travel home each weekend, and work primarily in the state they reside.
Tyson Irish of Legacy Telecom is one such climber, and Legacy is one such company.
“The people I work with are by far my favorite part of the job,” 32-year old Tyson Irish said in an interview with Inside Towers. “I’ve had different opportunities to possibly go to other companies and possibly make a buck or two more, but the people have definitely kept me here.”
Irish works in Legacy’s Montana-based office, one of three located in the Northwestern region of the U.S. The company began as a tower construction company but has since branched into other sectors of the industry, including network optimization and RF solutions crews. Despite the company’s growing footprint, Tyson said the company has retained a friendly environment for its workers.
“I love knowing the owner actually cares about us and we’re not just a number,” Irish said. “I like knowing I’m able to call up the owner and he’s always there to help. Other jobs, you’re just a number.”
Irish began working for Legacy in 2003, when he was just 19 years old. His father was a project manager for a wireless carrier who worked with Legacy, and that is how he got involved with the company.
Since 2003, Irish said the biggest change he has seen in the industry is the level of involvement OSHA has with construction companies, something he views as a definite positive for the industry.
“I like it because it’s hard when you’ve got competitors out there not playing by the rules…. I think it has really leveled the playing field,” Irish said.
Irish now serves as a lead tower technician for Legacy and is oftentimes responsible for crews while working on sites. Legacy builds a variety of wireless structures, including rooftop sites, monopoles and lattice towers.
As someone who works in a region noted for its undulating hills, mountaintops and vast stretches of wilderness, Irish said he has experience building in difficult terrain. For example, he has worked on several mountaintop sites, which he said, despite the geographical obstacles, is not much more challenging than a regular site build.
“You’re getting different obstacles and you’re further away from hospitals. You just have to make sure you are prepared with GPS devices, locator beacons and proper first aid equipment,” Irish said.
Despite working in a state as vast as Montana, Legacy has built a large clientele and customer base close to home. This means Irish and his other crewmembers regularly return home on weekends, and sometimes even sleep in their own bed after a day’s work.
“We pride ourselves on getting our guys home on the weekend to be with their families,” Irish said. “If we build far away from home, it’s for the week and then we get home.”