Panel Discusses COVID Issues and a Post-Pandemic Future

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A cross-section panel of industry executives yesterday met, virtually, of course, to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. The session, hosted by Sitetracker, was entitled: “Efficiency, accuracy, and profitability: Adopting modern business solutions.”

The panel included Moderator Brett Cupta, VP Product, Sitetracker; Jonathan Adelstein, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wireless Infrastructure Association; Tom Kane, President, NB+C; Chris Glade, Vice President and General Manager, Motive; and Julia Hanft, General Counsel, Transit Wireless.

The panelists shared a sober and candid view of the industry under pandemic restrictions. “The challenges aren’t going away until COVID is over,” Kane said. “There’s no playbook for what we’re trying to get through and what our employees are trying to get through. Face-to-face meetings are not easy to replicate,” he said, “Zoom isn’t the same experience as being able to walk down the hall and talk to the top three people I need to on a given project.”

Adelstein suggested that the lulls that take place under current conditions can be maximized. “We don’t know when the next wave is coming,” he said, “so the best time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining.” Adelstein suggested it’s an opportune time to be training and preparing for the coming demand for 5G and beyond.

Counsel for Transit Wireless, Julia Hanft said she’s found employees more open to changes in this environment. “We’re at a tipping point,” she said, “people have dealt with so much change that they’re saying ‘bring it on’. They are even offering suggestions.”

When asked what keeps them up at night, Adelstein, in an opinion echoed by Glade, said the shortage of skilled labor in light of an increase in infrastructure funding on the horizon. Hanft worried about the upcoming wave of lawsuits connected to COVID, while Kane said the troubling issue is keeping a balance between sensitivity of employees needs and getting business done. “We have 500 different people and 500 different stories,” Kane said.

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