What began 45 years ago in Cambridge, MN in a one room office by a young, motivated entrepreneur named Bill Carlson has become a thriving 50-employee services provider for a growing tower industry. Carlson, spent five years in the U.S. Army working with meteorological equipment and applied his new found skills with a company that mounted the equipment on towers to capture weather data. His passion for the tower side of the business grew and Tower Systems, Inc. (TSI) was born. The company is now led by Carlson’s daughter, Kari L. Carlson who is well aware of the legacy she is charged with maintaining and growing. Her father was the first recipient of the NATE Lifetime Achievement Award as well as being the first representative of the tower erection industry to be inducted into the Wireless Hall of Fame.
“They say that timing is 90 percent of a rain dance and let’s just say that it poured when Tower Systems opened their doors for business,” Carlson said. “My Dad and his partners were well equipped with the knowledge and skills that were needed to help with the expansion of this massive new industry. Based on their reputation,TSI quickly became a partner to many different cellular companies looking to build their infrastructure, not only across the nation, but also in over 30 countries throughout the world,” she said.
Tower Systems, Inc., eventually moved to South Dakota in 1991, expanded into Florida in 1993, and in 1995, conceptualized the idea to start an organization that would focus on safety for the entire industry. Soon after that, TSI along with 61 other companies founded the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) which is headquartered in Watertown, SD. Although the company has 50 employees, Carlson said she hopes to add 50 more.
“Though Dad’s leadership was instrumental in paving our path, none of this would be possible without our great team members that are out there representing TSI everyday as an industry leader focused on safety, quality and integrity.” Carslon said, “As professionals, we are no longer looked at as tower dogs or cowboys. We are now seen as skilled, professionally trained and certified technicians. We are all part of an exciting and fast paced industry that allows us to make what we do not just a job but a career. Our company can and will continue to grow on the strong foundation that it has been built upon and the TSI family will proudly carry on the legacy that is Tower Systems, Inc.,” she said.