TEP: Site Acq Services for the Modern World

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Tower Engineering Professionals (TEP) was founded in 1997 by engineers with a particular interest in climbing towers. This rarity in the telecommunications industry sets the company apart. Over the past twenty-plus years, TEP has grown to provide services in 50 countries, with over 750 employees on staff, including 75 professional engineers and over 200 certified climbers.

According to Tom Egan, VP Site Acquisition Services, TEP focuses on a true turnkey approach for clients. “From site acquisition to close-out post-construction, our in-house professionals take care of it all. Anything that’s done on a wireless, broadcast or small cell site, whether existing or new, we handle it.”

Egan worked with TEP for nearly a decade before joining the company in 2017. As the owner of Egan Realty Services, he first partnered with TEP in 1999. In 2017, TEP acquired Egan Realty Services to offer in-house site acquisition services, an instrumental turnkey program component.

“I was attracted to TEP after working side-by-side with them because of their great culture and the amazing people on staff,” said Egan. “The company was already held in very high regard within the industry when I started working with them. As the years went on, they really listened to what their clients wanted — a turnkey service — and made it happen, something I admire.”

Each discipline within TEP was added as the industry demanded it. TEP started with core engineering and inspection services for macrocells.  The company has since went on to build teams that perform lease amendments, permitting, zoning, environmental and regulatory compliance, surveying, geotechnical investigations, electrical and mechanical engineering, project and construction management, fiber design/installation, and complete design build and maintenance services for macro, small cell, and in-building infrastructure across the United States and Canada.

“Different groups touch different parts of the process, but all employees are in-house. As the industry has grown and evolved, so has TEP,” added Egan.

TEP makes it easy for project managers on the client-side, allowing them to interact with one point of contact and eliminating the “middle-man” challenge. From an accountability standpoint, TEP’s solution makes it easier for project managers to do their job.

Turnkey Project Examples

Case Study #1: Current Client, New Challenge

TEP had worked with a specific carrier client for many years on architecture and engineering (A&E) projects but had yet to provide a turnkey service. With the ability to provide site acquisition and project management services, the client decided to partner with TEP for a large undertaking.

The client, a well-known carrier, was embarking on a 400-site amendment project with existing sites (a.k.a. tower modifications), upgrading equipment on structures throughout the U.S. To accomplish its client needs, TEP was able to utilize its workforce across the U.S. to divide and conquer.

The client provided a checklist of the requirements, and TEP analyzed the lease documents, determining what was necessary from a permitting standpoint. They also performed structural analysis and construction drawings to support getting the sites permitted and released to the client for construction.

TEP’s ability to handle the project from inception to completion, including project management, was a critical selling point. TEP was able to help the carrier analyze and prioritize each site plus understand what was required from a permitting and leasing standpoint.

“Our turnkey services helped our client execute the project efficiently within the fastest timeline possible. We built a pipeline in terms of how sites would be prioritized, so the client could move into the construction phase sooner,” making it a success, said Egan.

Case Study #2: Virtual Site Reviews

TEP was awarded a small cell project for a client, with rollout needed at several thousand sites across the southeast U.S. The project involved TEP’s turnkey expertise from the issuance of the search area/targeted locations to construction of the sites.

TEP worked with local jurisdictions to understand unique requirements for small cells and educated officials on the need for the infrastructure and how it fits into the wireless process.

“We began our process by starting from coordinates on a map and figured out how to put small cells on existing structures,” said Egan. “We asked questions like ‘does the pole need to be wood or metal to match the existing architecture?’ and worked through the environmental and regulatory requirements to make sure the infrastructure was allowed in the different locations across the identified territory.”

TEP’s client ran into an obstacle during the process, discovering that in some cases, the RF engineers didn’t have time to walk the sites that were being presented. TEP proactively offered to develop a virtual solution.

“To accommodate the RF engineers and provide efficiency, we took a 360-degree video of the site. The RF engineer was then able to review the site, and we kept the process moving forward,” noted Egan. “TEP evolved the process to provide the services needed to get the job accomplished for our client.”

TEP works with all major carriers, tower owners, vertical real estate companies, plus build-to-suit companies. TEP first established a location in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1997, but now has offices stretching from coast to coast and beyond U.S. borders. From Seattle, WA to Tampa, FL, and Vancouver, British Columbia to Waterloo, Ontario, TEP helps keep the world connected. For more information or to contact a representative, visit http://tepgroup.net/.

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