SAC Wireless: Making Network Deployment Easy is Hard Work

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To make network deployment easier by providing turnkey services, SAC Wireless has to work harder and smarter. Since SAC offers services that go beyond competitors, they need to be experts in every field that touches network construction. SAC masters site development, program management, architecture and engineering, construction and maintenance services to provide a “one-stop” solution for carriers and towercos.

“Our job is to help customers keep the world connected with innovative solutions,” Cari Shyiak, SAC’s Chief Executive Officer, told Inside Towers. Shyiak has led SAC for a year, after serving as the company’s COO. 

Before joining SAC, Shyiak worked in North America, Europe and Asia as Managing Partner of the North Star Management Group, COO of Goodman Networks, and Senior Vice President at Alcatel-Lucent. A native of Canada, Shyiak began his career in telecom at Rogers Wireless Communications.

“Today’s networks take much more than climbing towers,” Shyiak said, “from site acquisition services including zoning, permitting, leasing through transport, power, integration and getting the sites on air. We put it all together with an ‘easy button’ to bring projects in on time and on budget.”

If the growth of a company indicates market acceptance, SAC has hit the right button. The Chicago-based company was named a “Fast 50 Company” for its rapid expansion by Crain’s Chicago Business. When started by Jonathan McKinley in 1996, SAC had only a handful of workers. Now it boasts over 1,600 employees across the United States, in 25 offices. SAC operates warehouses for equipment and training centers for crews in five locations, providing a small army of 100 certified crews. SAC further extends its reach through contractors.

Shyiak said SAC has built a strong history of quality and safety. “Our experience modification rate (EMR) rating is one of the best in the industry,” he said. EMR measures worker safety.

One of SAC’s challenges is recruiting and training enough employees to meet customer demand, as qualified, safety-conscious site workers are increasingly prized by carriers and towercos alike. The company plans to hire and train dozens of crews in 2019.

Despite a shift to small cell and DAS buildouts, comprehensive safety training is still needed, Shyiak said. For instance, a bucket truck enables techs to work closer to the ground but other dangers emerge, such as swinging out over oncoming traffic or working in proximity to power lines. That’s why SAC trains its crews for all scenarios, using the latest equipment and techniques.

Industry issues such as repacking broadcast spectrum are opportunities to increase growth, in the eyes of SAC’s CEO. “Any spectrum change means more work,” he said.

What about the looming carrier merger? “I see it as a positive. There’s going to be lots of work,” Shyiak said. Merged companies have to consolidate their equipment and platforms.

Acquired by Nokia in 2014, SAC gains advantages by working closely with an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) – providing the latest in equipment and services to address expanding client needs.

With all of that working in concert, SAC says it has become the #1 turnkey builder of U.S. wireless networks.

To learn more about SAC Wireless’ services and career opportunities, click here.

April 2, 2019

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