Women in Towers: Meet Nicole Farley

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Company Currently Working For: SAC Wireless, a Nokia Company

Job name/Title: Tower Lead

How did you get started in the tower industry?

Throughout my time as a climber, I’ve worked with mom and pop shops as well as larger companies. It’s been nice to go from a small, laid back company to a big one where there’s more organization plus a strong focus on training and safety. You sort of go, “wow, this is how things are supposed to be.” I’m really glad to be a part of SACW.

How long have you been climbing?

Seven years! I started climbing right after I met my wife, and we’ve been able to travel to some places we’ve never been before because of my job. I’m originally from Texas, and this year I had the opportunity to work in Wisconsin and see lots of snow – it was really cool!

Biggest like/dislike about it?

I really like the travel. Last year I worked in Iowa and this year, so far, Wisconsin. I’m looking forward to where I’ll get to go next.

It’s not so much a dislike but more of an observation: climbing is not a man’s job anymore. Back in the day when workers were first stacking a tower, maybe that was more of a “man’s job,” but now, with the industry the way it is, a woman can be a successful climber. Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, you have to be willing to try different things, and you have to want to learn to be good at this job.

Would you recommend this industry to other women?

My advice to women who want to climb is to have open ears and an open mind because there are so many ways you can learn to do just one thing. Try to learn as much as you can and keep improving.

I would like to see more women in the field learning the many different ways you can do things and have the chance to visit different states. I think being a climber shows that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

What have been some ways you’ve advanced as a climber over the years?

Training is one part of it. I recently completed a Gin Pole training course, and since I never worked with that type of pole before, I learned a lot from the classroom. I was also able to put the training to use in the field. Ongoing training has helped me expand my skills for sure.

Another important component is having a great foreman. My current foreman has taught me so much about rigging and mount swaps. One great thing about him is that he explains why we’re doing something a certain way. He’s always teaching, and I have been trying to listen to everything he says so I can absorb and retain the knowledge. I figure the more I learn, the more I can teach my crew.

Have you had any unusual experiences while climbing or at tower site? (good, bad, humorous, terrifying, or enlightening)

When I was first in the industry – I think it was my third or fourth tower – a bird landed on my shoulder while I was in the harness and high in the air. That was cool!

Everything else about the job seems pretty awesome to me.

Since you were just promoted, tell us what you’d like to accomplish in your role as Team Lead.

I appreciate and am thankful for this position – I’m so excited to become a Team Lead at SACW! I’ve held the Team Lead position before at other companies, but at SACW, it seems more important somehow. The stakes are higher for both myself and my crew, and I take the responsibility seriously.

Being a part of this crew is a lot more challenging than changing an antenna out, and there are many safety guidelines and protocols you must follow. You really always have to pay attention to what you’re doing.

What are your goals for the future?

I’m excited to show what I’ve learned so far to my crew and continue learning more. I would like to become a foreman in the future and teach crew members and colleagues to help them grow in their careers.

Despite these challenging times, the telecom industry continues to grow. As the race for 5G heats up, SAC Wireless, a Nokia company, is hiring. There are more than 100 positions available and some require no experience. SAC Wireless provides training, career growth opportunities and benefits. Locations include Alabaster, AL; Benicia, CA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; Lawrenceville, GA; Minneapolis, MN; New Hudson, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Pompano Beach, FL; Renton, WA and Tempe, AZ. Learn more about SAC Wireless here and view a list of open positions here

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