Rich Schickler, President and CEO of Patriot Towers started the Rochester, NY area-based company in 2001, after working in the family business that focused on underground utility, fiber installs and other projects in and around tower sites. To broaden the scope of services offered to the family business customers, Schickler teamed up with seasoned climber and industry veteran Doug Harradine to help focus on tower construction. “Doug knew how to manage crews that could stack steel,” Schickler said.
Under their direction, Patriot Towers, offering services from site preparation and tower erection to structural modifications and emergency repairs, has grown by more than 500 percent since its inception and is consistently listed as a Rochester “Top 100” company.
Patriot serves the New England market and wireless carriers primarily, all of “the majors,” but also gets business from tower owners or municipalities installing their own communications systems. “We want to be the first call they make for all of their tower development, upgrade, and maintenance needs,” Schickler said in an interview.
While 2016 had ‘bumps in the road’ for the growing company, “as it did for everyone,” Schickler added, the future looks bright with more tower builds planned for 2017 than in years past. The growth area, however according to Schickler is in the shift seen throughout the industry: from new construction to maintenance.
Schickler said their biggest challenge is finding qualified people that match their core values. He is most optimistic when he talks about the staff and crews he employs and takes pride in its name with veterans making up 25 percent of their staff. “It’s a team that’s in this for the long-haul,” he said. “When we say safety comes first, we mean it. We have designed all of our operations – how we manage projects, travel, shifts, training, everything – with our people as our priority. That’s because we truly care about the team we’ve assembled here.”
January 12, 2017